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Mr. GROTHMAN. Madam Speaker, most of the discussion in this building over the last 2 weeks has been on the debt limit, and I guess I should lead off by addressing it a little bit.
A lot of the American public is thinking, why are people fighting on this bill? What difference does it really make? Let us get it behind us.
I want to leave the American public with two reasons why at least the Republican Party wants a little bit more fiscal restraint than otherwise would happen.
First of all, the debt is now 100 percent of GDP. It is just shy of that. That is the first time it has happened since World War II.
At the end of World War II, we knew we were going to lay off millions of people in the military. We were going to stop making ships. We were going to stop making planes. We were going to stop making tanks. So, there would be a dramatic reduction in government spending, and that is exactly what happened.
Slowly, the debt fell from 100 percent to a little over 20 percent of GDP before recently rocketing up, in part due to COVID and in part due to President Biden's reckless spending.
Now, we are at 100 percent of GDP, but all we see in the future is more people retiring, more money spent on Social Security, and more money spent on Medicare. We can never cut either one of those two programs--we should not--which means we have to exercise fiscal restraint everywhere else.
The time to do that is now. If we do not dial things back a little now, it is going to get that much worse next year and that much worse the year after.
The other thing I want to leave the American public with is, with interest rates going up, we right now are spending every year about $2,000 per man, woman, and child on interest rates alone.
If you are a family of four--think about that--every year you have to start by paying $8,000 just to cover your share of the Federal debt. That is a disaster.
If we don't address it now, then it is going to be worse next year.
The Republican position is very moderate. Probably the public would be outraged if they found out how moderate the Republican position is. We do not plan on balancing the budget this year.
Even if the Republicans got all they asked for, and they are not going to get all they asked for, but even if they got all they asked for, it would still result in a significant increase in debt over the next year.
The brakes should be put on a little bit. We should acknowledge the problem.
The Republicans love their children, and they love their grandchildren. They don't want to see the country that much more in debt, and we are worried we are approaching the point of no return.
In any event, I am proud my Republican leadership attitude is that we have to do something when we see debt equal to 100 percent of GDP and when every American is paying $2,000 of interest by itself. The only responsible thing to do is put up a little bit of a fight. I wish some of the Democrat leadership would acknowledge more that something has to be done.
However, despite the fact that this is the most covered issue in America, President Biden recently addressed the graduates of Howard University here in town, and he felt one of the major issues of the day is white supremacy.
I do not think we should let such inflammatory, divisive, and bitter rhetoric go unanswered, and it is not the first time President Biden has done this. This has been a theme whenever he speaks to the American public as a whole.
He talked about it in his inaugural speech, where he mentioned racism four times and white supremacy once. He talked about it in his State of the Union speech this year, where he attacked our police and one more time called them racist. Now, in the Howard commencement, a time for a positive speech, a time to tell the graduates they have their whole life ahead of them and they can do anything in America, President Biden got in the mud and talked about white supremacy.
First of all, we have to address that we have a problem in America in which people cannot succeed. There have been numerous speeches dealing with police and racism, and the studies show that racism is not a problem, that when you look at people being shot when adjusted for crimes committed, if anything, White people are more likely to get killed than Black people in a confrontation with police.
Nevertheless, President Biden, Mr. Negative, decided to use his annual speech to Congress to trash the police and refer to them as being racist.
Now, are people who are not of European descent having problems in this country?
Well, look at people from different countries around the world. First of all, again and again, we find people from all around the world coming here. I have a list of the countries that people give up their citizenship to and become American.
The top 10 countries are: (1) Mexico; (2) India; (3) Philippines; (4) Cuba; (5) Dominican Republic; (6) China; (7) Vietnam; (8) Jamaica; (9) El Salvador; (10) Colombia.
Do you notice anything about those countries?
None of them are European countries. People from all around the world are desperate to come into the United States legally.
If America were a country in which you were punished if you weren't of European descent, you would not see the 10 countries most commonly coming here being from places other than Europe.
I have heard that a significant number of Russians are coming here, but I have been at the border probably seven or eight times over the last 3 years. Again, I see people from Africa, Central America, the Middle East.
I have attended ceremonies in which people were sworn in as citizens in Milwaukee. When I have shown up at these ceremonies, I would be surprised if 5 percent of the people becoming Americans are from Europe.
This weekend, I'm going to attend a Memorial Day event for the Hmong. The Hmong, for those of you who don't know, are a group of people primarily, but not exclusively, from Laos who came to this country after the Vietnam war and were allowed in this country because they did so much to help fight communism on behalf of the Americans.
When the Hmong came here, they frequently did not know English. Many of them were not Christian. As a matter of fact, for many of the Hmong, they knew no written language of any sort at all. Nevertheless, they come here, and they thrive.
Again and again, when I talk to members of the Hmong, I ask them: How are your children doing? How are your nieces and nephews doing?
I get stories about their children, nieces and nephews, their 20, 25 kids, everyone is successful. Everyone is doing well in school. None of them are committing any crimes. They are all having children and living in a family situation.
I cannot help but think watching the tremendous success story of the Hmong, how could any President say America is a difficult country to live in if you are not European?
Then I look at income. I realize there are many definitions of success. I am not somebody at all who says economic success is the most important.
I look at the numbers so far as they are available on the internet. I look at India, which seems to be right now financially the most successful subgroup in America, making 80 percent more than the average American.
India is a country in which a relatively small number of people are considered Christian; overwhelmingly Hindu, to a lesser degree, Muslim.
I look at the Philippines, 50 percent more; Sri Lanka, 33 percent more; Japan, 30 percent more; Malaysia, 25 percent more; Pakistan, 18 percent more; people coming here from Cuba; to a certain extent, Latin America, 15 percent more than European Americans is what they make.
It is harder to find some other information. However, Thomas Sowell, who I think very highly of, wrote a book called ``Ethnic America'' 40 years ago. At that time, Thomas Sowell pointed out that the average second-generation person from the Caribbean was making more than the average American. That, of course, is largely people of Black descent, people from the Bahamas, people from Jamaica.
Again, the tremendous financial success of people coming from all around the world makes one realize that America does not have a huge racial problem.
Another question is: Does America discriminate in favor of people of European descent?
The answer is right now, under our affirmative action programs in this country, whether you are looking at hiring government people, whether you are looking at businesses who contract with the government, do at least $10,000 of business with the government, they are required to fill out an EEO-1 form in which they list the race of all their employees.
When they fill out that form, because they are afraid of being sued, the average American business is very conscious and is sometimes even told by their adviser to hire people who are not White.
Affirmative action began in 1965 in this country in earnest. It was a little bit before that, but in earnest in 1965. We are talking over 50 years ago.
Original affirmative action was designed primarily to help Black people, but in the interim, we added Asian people.
This, by the way, is typical of affirmative action around the world. It starts with one group, and then every other group says, I want the government to weigh in on my behalf.
We added Asian, Pacific Islander, and Latin American, we added women. Now, we recently have had the Biden administration weigh in and say we want to add people of Middle Eastern or North African descent. We want to add people from Syria, from Iraq, from Algeria to the list of people who should get preferences. You will notice not White.
This comes into play in forms that have to be filled out when we say, who is going to be getting government contracts. Who is going to be getting into colleges and universities. Who is going to be the owner of a business that gets government contracts.
It is very pervasive in our society. Very few Americans--I have tried--are aware that when a big business, say even a business with 100 employees, a business with 50 employees, when they hire someone and they have a government contract, they are paying attention or have to fill out a form as to the race and gender of that person.
As a practical matter, it causes people to be a little bit less reluctant to hire people who have historically been here in America.
Now, I think these programs, when they implement them, are designed to be as divisive as possible. First of all, in order to qualify as a favored group, you self-identify. If you are one-half, one-quarter or one-eighth a member of that group, you can say I am a member of the protected class. I am not sure that is right. It obviously is wrong.
People wouldn't even know if someone who is one-quarter Native American, one-quarter whatever, is a member of that class, but you get to check off that box and get the benefits.
Wealth has nothing to do with it. You can be born into a family with millions and millions of dollars, but if you are from the right ethnic group or at least one-quarter or one-eighth of the right ethnic group, you get to be checked off on that form. Again, it could be true even if a person wouldn't guess you are a member of that minority.
It affects university admissions. For quite a while we have had a string of cases, one case, which is working its way through the Supreme Court right now, is about, again, trying to give preferences to people who are one-half, one-quarter, one-eighth members of a minority.
To push it even further, lately schools or graduate schools are removing SAT scores or MCAT scores where traditionally people have to take these tests, for example, to make sure the best and the brightest are getting into medical school.
We are taking that off the table and increasing the number of medical schools, again, because they are afraid that they will be letting in too many people of traditional ethnic backgrounds in America.
We are doing the same thing lately with regard to loans given out by banks, which is kind of amazing. Now, bankers have to collect--they are going to do it soon for commercial lending; they have done it in the past for residential lending--what is the race or gender or even sexual preference. Apparently the government likes to look over the shoulder of these banks and make sure that they are not discriminating based on race or discriminating based on sexual preference.
It is kind of hard to believe that that is going on, but it is. They really keep track of these banks. I talked to a banker a little while ago, he had to put down on the form what the race is of the guy who plowed the snow in his parking lot.
Now, you might say why is that any of the government's business? Why are they doing it?
Well, we know why they are doing it, they want to put pressure on the banks to feel that that is something that should be taken into account before you fill out that contract. This becomes more and more a part of the American background.
I recently ran into a gal who told me she worked for a bank, and they had an opening for months. They couldn't fill that opening because all their applicants were White guys.
I don't know whether she is right or wrong on that, but talking to some other bankers, that is entirely possible. We should have a discussion whether that is right.
You have to say, where is this ending?
What is the goal of the Biden administration?
A study was done a little while ago on the Federal Judiciary. I wish we had these studies for all other appointments by the Biden administration. Apparently in his first 2 years, President Biden appointed 97 Federal judges. Of the 97 Federal judges, I was expecting maybe 25 or 30 were White guys because I know President Biden wasn't heavy on appointing more White guys.
Five of the 97 judges were White guys. Of those, two were gay. It is almost impossible for a White guy who is not gay, apparently, to get appointed here.
To a certain extent, that was not just President Biden's fault. Not long after he was sworn in, two Democrat Senators, one from Illinois and one from Hawaii, said that they did not want to vote to confirm any more of President Biden's appointees if they were White men unless they were gay.
Again, the definition of diversity--and more and more, they are talking about diversity as being part of the reason here.
As far as the idea that where your ancestors come from will determine what a good doctor you are or what a good electrician you are or whatever, seems a little bit ridiculous.
For example, let's say my maternal grandfather was Peruvian, and he died before I was born. Well, the idea that giving me a special place in college or a special job in management so I can bring the Peruvian viewpoint to the table would be ridiculous.
We are talking about a grandfather who had nothing at all. I was never in Peru, never met him, but that is the way the current system works, and it is something that should be discussed.
Now, what is the Biden team doing now that is going to affect these very pernicious programs in America?
The first thing they are going to do is they are going to add another protected class: Middle Eastern and North African people.
Right now, you are considered Asian if you are from Japan. We can go around the map: Japan, China, Thailand, Pakistan, India. It stops in Pakistan.
There are no preferences if you are from Egypt, Algeria or Syria. The Biden administration wants to end that even though affirmative action began in the 1960s.
Almost all people of this descent were not even in America prior to that, but they want to be a new group that should be getting preferences.
I think that should be discussed in America's news pages. Instead, it is not even brought up that it is happening.
The next thing the Biden administration is doing is they are putting new diversity equity teams in every one of the government agencies, be it Commerce, Defense, Agriculture, Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Justice, Labor, Transportation. Every agency is getting a new group to weigh in on diversity and to make sure that the right people are getting jobs in that agency. If there are grants going on in that agency, again, to make sure the right people are getting grants.
In other words, the Biden administration wants to greatly increase the power of this class of people in picking who gets anything around society. It can't just be like it used to be, let's take the best person.
These new programs, I think, cause one to say more questions ought to be raised by the American public and answered by the Biden administration.
Do we care about merit anymore?
Should these programs benefit millionaires?
Right now, if you are worth $20 million, and you apply for a government contract, you are given preferences despite the fact you are already wildly wealthy.
By the way, Thomas Sowell, when he writes about affirmative action points out that frequently around the world when we do this affirmative action stuff, it benefits primarily the wealthy.
What percent should you be before you get credit for preferences based on your background? Right now it is open ended. Should it be an eighth, should it be a sixteenth? Senator Elizabeth Warren apparently was smaller than 1/64th or 1/128th Native American. She felt that should give her preference apparently in becoming a law professor at Harvard University. So what percent should we be looking at?
Are there any jobs that we should go back to old-fashioned merit based?
How about a doctor? Should we get the best people we can to be heart surgeons? I would think so.
How about air traffic controllers?
How about engineers who are designing bridges? Or are all jobs primarily based on ethnic background and not necessarily on merit?
As mentioned, this new special interest group put in there by President Biden, the Middle Eastern North African group, largely came to this country after affirmative action began. Originally, the idea behind affirmative action was America discriminated against you in the past and you deserve a step up to get caught up. Here you have people who were not even in America.
Again, Thomas Sowell, when he talks about these race preference things and these race bureaucracies, points out that it always hurts a country when people view themselves as a member of an ethnic group first and view themselves as a citizen of that country secondly.
I look at Canada, which I think has always had problems throughout my whole lifetime in that it is divided between people who speak French and people who speak English.
I look at Nigeria, where we had a division between tribes and a division between the Muslims in the north and the Christians of the south, which resulted in a civil war and millions of people dying.
We look at Rwanda and the horrific things that happened there as the country is divided into races.
India with its not only ethnic differences but religious differences.
Sri Lanka had a horrible civil war as the government began to weigh in on this group and that group.
Historically, America has stuck with its motto, ``e pluribus unum,'' ``out of many, one.'' Okay, we come from all around the world, but we consider ourselves Americans first, and we eventually kind of drop or rarely think about where our ancestry came from. Al Gore twice embarrassed himself by getting the meaning of ``e pluribus unum'' screwed up; and he said, ``out of one, many.''
In other words, right now we have people who primarily consider themselves American, and the Biden administration says, well, wait a minute, you should primarily consider yourself based upon where your great-great-great-grandparents are from. That is just a big mistake.
What can we do here? I think, first of all, there should be more of an outcry over the Biden administration's plan to give what amounts to preferences to Middle Eastern North African people. Again, immigrants who came here recently, not prejudiced, I am sure doing very well. I think the only reason you bring them into the loop is if you want to destroy America through divisiveness, which has happened in many other countries around the world.
Then we ought to get rid of these racial equity committees in which we have apparently government bureaucrats whose sole job is to divide Americans or judge Americans or weigh the worth of Americans by their ethnic background.
Increasingly, when I look at what is going on with the bankers, it is not just going to be ethnic background, it is going to be sexual background, as well. Is that right? I don't know who could possibly think it is right that the banker has to at the end of the month go through the forms that he has accepted for loans as to say, do I have enough people of the right sexual background, but that is the way we are going in America. I hope we end it.
These programs began almost 60 years ago; I think now about 57 years ago. Like programs around the world, when they began these programs of preferences, they were supposed to be temporary. Like I said, I think when they began these programs in the 1960s, if you told people they would still be around 57 years later, you never would have believed it, and you sure wouldn't have believed it if you thought we were going to add all these other groups, most of which were not even in the United States at the time added to the mix.
I hope we have a public discussion on that. I have listed the questions that should be answered, and hopefully it is something that, if nobody else, at least the pundit class can weigh in on, and we can educate our young people as to what is going on because I think a lot of these preferences, particularly with regard to jobs in businesses that are government contracting, the public is not even aware of.
That is a summary of what I think is an important issue and ought to be addressed.
Madam Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
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