Washington, D.C. - Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor today in opposition to the GOP Continuing Resolution. Below are the Leader's remarks.
Leader Pelosi. Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I thank the gentle lady for yielding, and I commend her for her enormous leadership, patience, and great intellect that she brings to bear on these issues.
And listening to the debate is really almost hard to explain to someone why we are coming back tonight with the same old, same old, warmed-over stew that was rejected yesterday by the Congress of the United States.
But since then, we've had some support expressed for the initiative that is contained in this bill and against the notion that our Republican colleagues have that it's a good idea to use this as a payfor.
I take particular pride in this provision that the Republicans are trying to zero out in this bill, the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program.
You will recall, Mr. Dreier, that it was part of a bill that was passed when President Bush was President. It was the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. It was a bill that passed the Congress with strong bipartisan support, including your support, Mr. Dreier. In fact, 95 Republicans voted for the bill. It was an even split in the Republican Caucus, 95 for, 96 against. But you recall voting for that.
Chairman David Dreier. Will the gentle woman yield?
Leader Pelosi. No, I'm sorry because you've had half an hour and I just don't.
Chairman Dreier. Well, I've been mentioned 3 times, Mr. Speaker. I've been mentioned 3 times. Since the gentlewoman has mentioned me, I'd…
Leader Pelosi. Order. Order in the House.
Speaker Pro Tempore. The gentle lady from California controls the time.
Leader Pelosi. Order in the House, Mr. Speaker. The gentleman has all the time. For some reason the Republicans are not showing their faces on the floor on this amendment, so he has plenty of time on this bill, plenty of time to speak. If he didn't, I'd be more than happy to yield to him. But since he has so much time on his own, he can use that.
In any event, here's the thing. We have an initiative that is bipartisan. We have an initiative that has passed the House in overwhelming numbers: 314 to 100. 314 to 100 it passed the House after coming back from the Senate.
Yesterday, there was an attempt made to use the funds allocated to the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program to offset the disaster assistance. I, myself, have a belief it is a matter of principle that we should just do with disaster assistance what we always have done: have no doubt in anyone's mind that when a natural disaster strikes, the federal government will be there, FEMA will be funded, and that we don't have to look around for a place to say, ‘Let's prioritize.' No. The disaster assistance is our priority.
But on top of that, they use as a payfor, again, zeroing out the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing. I don't want you to take my words for the merit of this initiative. I want to enter into a record the letter from the National Association of Manufacturers and the United States of America Chamber of Commerce.
Speaker Pro Tempore. Without objection.
Leader Pelosi. Thank you.
“As Congress sets spending priorities, the Chamber wishes to highlight a few important facts,” important facts “about the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing loan program.” This is from the Chamber of Commerce.
“First, the program was authorized in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which was supported by both Democrats and Republicans [Republicans and Democrats] as an important step in reducing America's dependence on oil from unstable regimes.”
“Second, ATVM loans, which will be repaid with interest, incentivize automakers and suppliers to build more fuel-efficient, advanced technology vehicles in the United States [U.S.], providing [new] opportunities for American workers in a sector of the economy that is critical to the nation's recovery.”
And then he goes on to say that this is, they go on to say that this is funded by the Department of [Energy] and it's not the fault of industry if these funds have not been used.
In the NAM, in the National Association of Manufacturers, they say similarly, we “express our support for the Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, authorized under the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 with bipartisan support and signed into law by President Bush.”
It was a very proud day for us when President Bush signed this bill. It made tremendous advances in energy efficiency and conservation. It was a great accomplishment of the Bush Administration and a Democratic Congress working together, but the bill passed in strong bipartisan fashion. Now just mentioning that it was signed by President Bush.
“The ATVM program is an example of what government/industry partnerships can accomplish. It has helped create and preserve thousands of auto sector jobs and put our nation on a path toward greater energy security. The [NAM] believes defunding ATVM will hurt manufacturers and their employees.”
I will submit the rest of the letters for the record so the Members can read further for themselves in the Congressional Record. And for all who view the work of Congress, they can see the importance of these initiatives. First, by the strong bipartisan support that they received in a Democratic-controlled Congress but signed by a Republican President, President Bush--a very major accomplishment I think he believes.
The second point though is that, again, the American people are looking for ways for us to create jobs. The Republicans have been in power in this Congress in this House of Representatives for over 250 days. They have not passed one bill into law which is a job creator. And today, they come back to the floor, a second day in a row, with a job destroyer, with a job destroyer. The repetition of it is almost frivolous when you think that what we could be talking about here is a clean C.R., a clean Continuing Resolution that will meet our needs to the November 18--is that it, Mr. Chairman?
And I thank Chairman Dicks for his leadership on this important issue. Mr. Levin, certainly. Mr. Dingell, who was a champion of this initiative from day one and a leader in the fight to preserve it here.
It could just have been so simple. Let's just keep government open until November 18 with a clean Continuing Resolution instead of coming to the floor, and for the first time. Now my colleagues will say, “Oh well, we've had other emergencies that were funded.”
I'm not talking about emergencies. There are many emergencies. I'm talking about disasters. I'm talking about natural disasters where people's homes are swept away. This isn't political. This is very, very personal. If you've lost your home, your belongings, your livelihood, your business, your sense of community, the character of the area in which you live, as many of our colleagues on both sides of the aisle have done. When you see the nature of the natural disasters, whether it is out of control forest fires in Texas; what happened in Joplin, Missouri, which is almost biblical in its proportion; and what happened on the East Coast with earthquakes followed by hurricane followed by tornado followed by floods and all that goes with it.
You think people think that we have any relevance to their lives if we are talking about something like this when all they are saying is, “Help.” It's as if a building is on fire and you are going to figure out who is going to pay for the water instead of just running to the rescue, just running to the rescue.
I urge my colleagues to vote ‘no' on this and urge my Republican colleagues to please pull this back, bring a clean C.R. to the floor. Let's get serious about the people's business.