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Issues Facing America

Under the Speaker's announced policy of January 5, 2011, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Gohmert) is recognized for 30 minutes.

Rep. Louie Gohmert

legislator photo

It is interesting to see the way the negotiations with the supercommittee are playing out. Some of us didn't vote for the debt ceiling bill. I know in my own case I didn't vote for it because I read it, and I was concerned it was not a good idea.

Our country should not put its national security as a bargaining chip on the table. National security is important to everyone on both sides of the aisle; it should never be used as a bargaining chip, whether or not we're going to devastate it.

On the other side, the defense would be devastated at the same time Medicare would be devastated. If the supercommittee's recommendations are not approved by at least seven of the 12 and then Congress does not pass them into law, Medicare gets cut and so does the national security get devastated.

So who stands to win and who stands to lose in that scenario? Well, we know that when what is commonly referred to as ObamaCare--I don't even remember the real name--when that got passed, AARP indicated, hey, that's a good idea, even though it had $500 billion in cuts to Medicare. I couldn't believe that some of the groups that endorsed that bill did endorse it because, for one, it had $500 billion in cuts to Medicare. You know, we've got AARP stirring up seniors right now--send in a petition, tell them you don't want any cuts to Medicare, that you're a member of AARP. And I appreciated those petitions very much. Those people that felt Medicare shouldn't have been cut should have been telling that to AARP back when they were thinking that ObamaCare was a good idea. It wasn't then, it's not now, and it won't be if it kicks into effect fully and people start having rationed care.

So, what would take people's minds off the fact that the President's pride and joy, his health care bill, cut $500 billion from Medicare and Republicans didn't support it? didn't think it was a good idea? That's 100 percent a Democratic bill that was ramrodded through with most of the country against it. So the President has to carry that mantle, as do the leaders in charge at that time, the people that were in the majority in the House at that time under Speaker Pelosi as she pushed it through, commenting that we needed to pass it so we could find out what was in it. Well, I had read it. I knew what was in it, and knew it was a disaster waiting to happen. I knew that it hurt seniors badly.

So we come back again to this supercommittee. What do Leader Reid and the Senate Democrats--even House Democrats--have to gain if the supercommittee's proposals are not adopted? Well, there will be massive cuts to security, and there will be massive cuts to Medicare. And that will mean, from a political standpoint, that those same people that rammed through ObamaCare against the country's will will then be able to say before next year's election, look what happened.

Republicans caused a massive cut to Medicare. They're the ones to blame. They'll be able to take people's minds off the fact that ObamaCare was a $500 billion cut to Medicare to our seniors that will result in them having rationed care, getting on long lists before they can get treated, like happens in England, like happens in Canada. You get on a list to get your mammogram, get on a list if there's cancer there to have it biopsied or if there's a lump, having it biopsied, get on a list, have therapy of some kind, whether it's surgery, whether it's radiation, chemo, whatever kind of cancer it is. You get on a list.

I mentioned before a man originally from Canada who said his father died because he was on a list to have a bypass surgery for 2 years. If he'd been in the U.S., the son said he'd still be alive. But he was in Canada, and because they have the socialized medicine program basically embraced by ObamaCare, then you are going to, you know, end up on a list. That's what happens when the government's completely in charge of health care. It doesn't have to be like that.

When you look at the amount that the Federal Government, State governments spend on Medicare and Medicaid, divided by the number of households in the country, we've gotten a bunch of different numbers, but it appears that it may be around $25,000 for every household on Medicare or Medicaid. Between $20,000 and $30,000 just to pay for health insurance?

We'd be far better off buying them a high-deductible policy and giving them cash money in an HSA, a health savings account, with a debit card they control. They decide what doctor they go to; they decide what hospital they go to. They decide whether they want this medicine or that medicine. And when they go through, if they go through the amount of the high deductible, that's all the money to cover that's in their health savings account, then their insurance kicks in, and we finally get the insurance companies out of the health management business and back into the health insurance business. Because right now we don't really have any health insurance companies. We've got health management companies.

I want to go back to having health insurance companies. Insurance is when someone pays a small amount monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually to ensure against some unforeseen event, either a catastrophic disease or accident. It's unforeseen. Don't know if it's going to happen. Don't know if you're going to run up health expenses to that kind of high mark so you've got an insurance policy to ensure against that unforeseen event or disease. That's insurance.

If we don't get the insurance companies back in the business of insurance instead of management, they may not be around because there will always be people that want to push something like the President did last year.

Most of us, I think, don't want the government telling us what medication we can have, what doctor we can see, why we can't see a doctor, why we're going to have to pay through the nose, why we'll have to buy an additional insurance policy to cover all the gaping holes that Medicare or Medicaid leave.

It would be nice if people didn't have to buy the supplemental insurance policies. But here again, you know, follow the money. AARP makes hundreds of millions of dollars each year selling their supplemental insurance, so they had a vested interest--who can blame them?--in wanting to push through ObamaCare when it means even more money for their supplemental policies.

What I'm talking about is a situation where seniors can have a choice. You can have your Medicare. If you're on Medicaid, you can have Medicaid; or we'll give you a debit card where you're back in control of your own health care.

Why not? It would be cheaper. It gets back to a real doctor/patient relationship. It gets people back in charge of their own health situations.

Well, the reason is because for many people, it's all about the GRE, the government running everything. The Founders didn't want the government running everything, but once the government has control of everyone's health care, they have a legitimate right to dictate what you can eat, what you can't eat, what you have to do in the way of exercise, what you can't do in the way of physical activity. They've got a right because they're paying for your health care. If they're paying for the health care, they have a right to tell you what you can or can't do.

I do not want to live in a country where the government gets to tell me what I can eat or not eat, do or not do. Government's role is supposed to protect people against evil, against evil people or countries who want to take away their freedoms and liberty. In other words, it's addressed in the United States Constitution as providing for the common defense. That's what we ought to be doing.

And then on the domestic front, our job is to provide a level playing field where everyone has an equal opportunity to pursue happiness. Nobody's guaranteed happiness--that comes in the heart--but everyone would have an equal opportunity to pursue it. That's what we're supposed to do.

We're supposed to be referees. We're not supposed to be the player/ referee. What a terrible game to be in where the government's both player and referee.

But I do want to give the President credit any time I can, and he's been running around, even recently again--I believe it was last night I saw him--talking about Congress doing nothing, that that's what Congress wants to do. Well, again, I've got to give him credit. He's half right on that.

The Senate hasn't passed a budget in over 900 days. He's right. It's a do-nothing Senate. They refused to pass any kind of debt ceiling bill until basically the House passed one that was acceptable. We should have forced them to pass their own CR back in March, their continuing resolution; but they were negotiated with, and a bill was crafted that it appeared they could agree to pass in the Senate.

What the country needs to see is what the House stands for, what the majority in the House stands for and what the majority in the Senate stands for, and I'm not sure that people have seen that. But it means the House should pass what a majority in the House believes is best for the country and then stand, unmoved until the Senate passes something. Instead of trying to hit a mark that we think the Senate can hit, we pass what we believe in, as cut, cap and balance passed, and then don't try to keep coming back and hitting a mark the Senate--make them pass something.

And in the rules, the law is very clear. This is all provided for. The Constitution provides for these two parties. It expected there would be times when they'd pass a different bill from us, and it would go to a conference committee and then a compromise is worked out. And then those of us in the majority in the House can say, see what we passed at first, like cut, cap and balance? This is what we believe in.

See what the Senate passed first? See this monstrosity? That's what they believe in.

So in the next election, when the House can say if you want more of this kind of bill and responsible spending, not continued runaway spending, this is what you do. If you want the continued runaway spending, more and more and more taxes, then go with the Senate.

I think there's some evidence to support that there are people in the opposition party who want to see the supercommittee fail, that want to see the massive cuts to Medicare--not that that would ever be said publicly, but we know that Pat Toomey, as he talked about yesterday, Jeb Hensarling talked about, two of our brightest minds on financial issues. We've got some really good quality people on that supercommittee, so-called.

Senator Toomey apparently had a framework worked out, and the indications were there were Democrats who were agreeing that it was not a bad setup. There would be some people who would lose some deductions that would, therefore, raise revenue without raising the taxation rate, but, in fact, the taxation rate would be lowered to a rate in the twenties, corporate tax in the twenties, but there would be enough deductions and write-offs that would be eliminated, it was actually going to raise revenue.

One Democrat even said that was a huge breakthrough when that was proposed. It gave a lot of hope that something was going to be worked out.

But then they talked to Democratic leaders. We're not privy to what was said. Next thing you know, there is no agreement. They're not going to agree to a deal. So you can't help but wonder if that's evidence that they really didn't want this bill to pass because if the supercommittee came up with a way to cut $1.2 trillion off the budget over the next 10 years--it's only $120 billion a year--then people next year at election time would really begin to realize just what ObamaCare did in cutting $500 billion off Medicare.

But if there are these massive cuts to Medicare, then Republicans can be blamed before the next election, even though it obviously would have been them standing in the way of passing a bill through the supercommittee.

One of the things that should be a no-brainer but apparently it's a no-starter, that is a zero baseline budget bill. Chairman Ryan has assured me and on television and Speaker Boehner has said, we're going to bring that to the floor this year for a vote. It's going to be passed out of the Budget Committee. I guess you can't guarantee that it will be passed, but I sure feel strongly when it's brought up for a vote in the Budget Committee, it will pass. When it's brought here to the floor, it will pass.

That will end this ridiculous automatic increase in Federal budgets that was begun by a very, very liberal Congress back in 1974, the same one that created CBO and started the ridiculous rules that they're bound by that do not let them consider historic reality in scoring a bill but only has to follow a formula that sometimes forces them to come up with a scoring that is completely unreal and not supported by history.

Well, we've got trouble here, and it's not looking good for that getting accomplished as it should. People are playing games and America will suffer.

The Book of Proverbs tells us that where there is no vision, the people perish, and if we don't get people getting a bigger vision not only of where this country has come from but where it could go, then people are going to perish, and it's so unnecessary.

It was interesting meeting again last week with Prime Minister Netanyahu. He was appreciative of House Resolution 271, I provided a copy, which goes through a lot of whereases. We've got lots of cosponsors on this. I hope if anybody is not on, that they'll sure add their name to this on both sides of the aisle.

The whereases include:

Whereas archeological evidence exists confirming Israel's existence as a nation over 3,000 years ago in the area in which it currently exists, despite assertions of its opponents.

It says 3,000 years ago. That was about the time of King David ruling in Hebron and also the City of David. It just turns out archeologically, it's immediately south of the area where the current walled city is. And of course the walled city is over the area which was original Temple Mount and Herodian Temple Mount and then hundreds of years later became of interest to people of the Islamic religion. But it's actually much more than 3,000 years ago.

Nonetheless, the bill says:

Whereas with the dawn of modern Zionism, the national liberation movement of the Jewish people, some 150 years ago, the Jewish people determined to return to their homeland in the Land of Israel from the lands of their dispersion.

And so that means for people who are really wonderful, big-hearted people like Helen Thomas but are just ignorant of actual history, Jews didn't come from Poland. They were originally in the Promised Land that extended from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates, if you go back and look at the promises made to David.

Whereas in 1922, the League of Nations mandated that the Jewish people were the legal sovereigns over the Land of Israel and that legal mandate has never been superseded; Whereas in the aftermath of the Nazi-led Holocaust from 1933 to 1945, in which the Germans and their collaborators murdered 6,000,000 Jewish people in a premeditated act of genocide, the international community recognized that the Jewish state, built by Jewish pioneers must gain its independence from Great Britain; Whereas the United States was the first nation to recognize Israel's independence in 1948, and the State of Israel has since proven herself to be a faithful ally of the United States in the Middle East; Whereas the United States and Israel have a special friendship based on shared values, and together share the common goal of peace and security in the Middle East; Whereas, on October 20, 2009, President Barack Obama rightly noted that the United States-Israel relationship is a ``bond that is much more than a strategic alliance.''; Whereas the national security of the United States, Israel, and allies in the Middle East face a clear and present danger from the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran seeking nuclear weapons and the ballistic missile capability to deliver them; Whereas Israel would face an existential threat from a nuclear weapons-armed Iran; Whereas President Barack Obama has been firm and clear in declaring United States opposition to a nuclear-armed Iran, stating on November 7, 2008, ``Let me state--repeat what I stated during the course of the campaign. Iran's development of a nuclear weapon I believe is unacceptable.''

And we know that since President Obama stated it, he absolutely means it, even though he said that the negotiations on health care would be on C-SPAN, would be open for everybody, even though there were comments that he'd be focused on jobs like a laser. Hopefully he really meant this.

Whereas, on October 26, 2005, at a conference in Tehran called ``World Without Zionism'', Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated, ``God willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world without the United States and Zionism''; Whereas the New York Times reported that during his October 26, 2005, speech, President Ahmadinejad called for ``this occupying regime [Israel] to be wiped off the map''; Whereas, on April 14, 2006, Iranian President Ahmadinejad said, ``Like it or not, the Zionist regime [Israel] is heading toward annihilation''; Whereas, on June 2, 2008, Iranian President Ahmadinejad said, ``I must announce that the Zionist regime [Israel], with a 60-year record of genocide, plunder, invasion, and betrayal is about to die and will soon be erased from the geographical scene''; Whereas, on June 2, 2008, Iranian President Ahmadinejad said, ``Today, the time for the fall of the satanic power of the United States has come, and the countdown to the annihilation of the emperor of power and wealth has started''; Whereas, on May 20, 2009, Iran successfully tested a surface-to-surface long range missile with an approximate range of 1,200 miles; Whereas Iran continues its pursuit of nuclear weapons; Whereas Iran has been caught building three secret nuclear facilities since 2002; Whereas Iran continues its support of international terrorism, has ordered its proxy Hizbullah to carry out catastrophic acts of international terrorism such as the bombing of the Jewish AMIA Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1994, and could give a nuclear weapon to a terrorist organization in the future; Whereas Iran has refused to provide the International Atomic Energy Agency with full transparency and access to its nuclear program; Whereas United Nations Security Council Resolution 1803 states that according to the International Atomic Energy Agency, ``Iran has not established full and sustained suspension of all enrichment related and reprocessing activities and heavy-water-related projects as set out in resolution 1696 (2006), 1737 (2006) and 1747 (2007) nor resumed its cooperation with the IAEA under the Additional Protocol, nor taken the other steps required by the IAEA Board of Governors, nor complied with the provisions of Security Council resolution 1696 (2006), 1737 (2006) and 1747

Now there's a bunch of cosponsors on this bill but we need a lot more. We need pressure to bring it to the floor of the House and of the Senate.

Prime Minister Netanyahu is right, sanctions won't do it. Unless Iran knows that the military threat is very real, they're not likely to stop.

People keep talking about sanctions, sanctions. If we just sanction the banks, if we sanction this, if we sanction that. Well, the truth is Russia and China have said they're not going to play that game; they're not going to get involved. And as upset as I have been with Russia and China over some issues, I am grateful that they're honest about this. My concern was Russia and China would say, Okay, we'll have sanctions, knowing that there is no better time to make an absolute fortune than when some sanctions are declared against a country that has something like oil because it means all the other countries that are participating in the sanctions don't get to benefit from any contracts, and, therefore, that means the bigger share for whoever wants to cheat on the sanctions. At least Russia and China have been honest and said, We're not going to do the sanctions. So why in the world are we bothering these days to keep saying sanctions are going to work?

Madam Speaker, it's very clear Iran is a threat to the United States and Israel, and we should not leave it to Israel to defend the United States. We ought to defend ourselves and go after Iran and take care of this problem ourselves.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.