Insular Areas and Freely Associated States Energy Development

Floor Speech

Date: Dec. 9, 2014
Location: Washington, DC
Issues: Energy


Mr. JOLLY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this important appropriations measure to keep our government funded and open, but I also rise to encourage my colleagues on our side of the aisle and address many of the concerns I have heard.

In July of this year, this House, our side of the aisle, passed a border security bill focused on protecting our borders from illegal entries, building facilities at the border to hold illegal entrants at the point of crossing, increasing the amount of immigration law judges and tele-courtrooms that allow undocumented individuals to be adjudicated close to the border instead of being provided travel to courts around the nation, and authorizing our National Guard to respond to the spike in illegal border crossings.
This House passed that measure. The Senate refused to consider it. The President would not sign it.

Last week, this House, our side of the aisle, passed legislation declaring null and void the President's recent Executive Order granting temporary amnesty to millions who have broken our laws. I was proud to be a cosponsor of that legislation.

This House passed that measure. The Senate refused to consider it. The President would not sign it.
After the President's Executive Order, dozens of us, including myself, sent a letter asking the leadership of the House Appropriations Committee to attach a provision to this bill declaring that none of the funds provided to the Administration may be used to implement the President's amnesty order. But the Senate refuses to consider it. The President will not sign it.

The numbers today are simply not on our side. And our only remaining recourse is to shut down the government--a tactic that I cannot support, that I said I would not support when I was elected, and I intend to keep my word. This is a tactic that I believe is terribly wrong for our country, for our economy and for private sector jobs throughout the country.

And so today we should say to the American people, ``The President, the Senate, they must own their legacy. And this House must own ours.''

So what is our legacy today on this side of this aisle? It is a legacy of fighting for Constitutional principles, adherence to the rule of law and separation of powers ordained by our founders, and it is a legacy that today includes a good appropriations bill that is right for the country, and frankly, right for conservatives.

The bill we pass today:
1. Prohibits any funding for the president's Race to the Top Education program, better known throughout the country as Common Core;
2. Slashes the budget of the Internal Revenue Service and prohibits the agency from targeting non-profit groups based on political or ideological affiliations;
3. Reins in the Environmental Protection Agency's plans to reach further into our local communities with regulations opposed by mayors, homeowners, businesses, and agriculture interests;
4. Maintains critical pro-life protections preventing tax dollars from being used for abortion related services;
5. Cuts Obamacare's Independent Payment Advisory Board which uses price controls to impact available care to patients;
6. Prohibits the transfer of Guantanamo Bay prisoners to prisons here in the United States; and,
7. It prohibits Department of Justice programs like Fast & Furious.
And most importantly, this bill represents a continued dramatic rollback of our federal budget. This bill spends approximately $1.1 trillion on federal activities, down from approximately $1.4 trillion just five years ago. This budget is lower than we have seen in years and represents a historic downturn in spending--all at the hands of Republicans in Congress. Recall that the President submitted his budget proposal at the beginning of this year and it was resoundingly rejected by both the House and the Senate, including rejection by many members of his own party. This is our budget now, and it is a budget we should support.

This budget prioritizes the right programs for federal spending. It funds our men and women in uniform with the tools and technology they need to safely combat threats around the globe. It provides increased funding to the Veterans Affairs Administration to decrease wait times for benefit applicants. It wisely invests in targeted medical research to address Alzheimer's, cancer, and pediatric sub-specialties.

Finally, and let's be very clear here, this legislation allows us to combat the President's Executive Order on amnesty from a much stronger position in a matter of weeks.

We don't have the votes today in the Senate to overturn the President's amnesty order. That is the reality. There is no means to get a measure even to the President's desk for him to veto. We simply don't have the votes in the Democrat-controlled chamber on the other side of this Capitol. It would be short-sighted for us to convince ourselves otherwise and proceed listlessly down a path to what would only lead to a government shutdown--a shutdown that would break the faith of the American people who have entrusted us with the responsibility to govern.

But we will, beginning January 6. In mere weeks, we will have a Senate controlled by conservatives who can join with this body, this side of the aisle, and continue our legacy of fighting for Constitutional convictions over Constitutional compromise.

Let us today embrace these critically important incremental conservative successes in this appropriations bill--successes that reflect our view of government--and let us then return to this body in only a few weeks with our new Senate colleagues to continue the fight on behalf of the American people. We can then lay on the President's desk legislation that challenges his Executive Order and asks him to defend what we all believe is an intellectually dishonest interpretation of his authority under Article II of the Constitution.

Colleagues, I urge your support.