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[Congressional Record Volume 163, Number 123 (Thursday, July 20, 2017)]
[Pages H6132-H6133]
From the Congressional Record Online through GPO

                          LEGISLATIVE PROGRAM

  (Mr. HOYER asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 

Mr. HOYER. Madam Speaker, I rise for the purpose of inquiring of the majority leader the schedule for the week to come, and I yield to the gentleman from California (Mr. McCarthy), the majority leader. (Mr. McCARTHY asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Mr. McCARTHY. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Madam Speaker, on Monday, the House will meet at noon for morning hour and 2 p.m. for legislative business. Votes will be postponed until 6:30.

On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, the House will meet at 10 a.m. for morning hour and noon for legislative business.

On Friday, the House will meet at 9 a.m. for legislative business.

Madam Speaker, the House will consider a number of suspensions next week, a complete list of which will be announced by close of business tomorrow.

Now, one suspension worth highlighting is H.R. 3218, the Forever GI Bill, sponsored by Representative Phil Roe. This bipartisan legislation will remove the 15-year cap for benefits that forces veterans to use it or lose it, while enabling vets to take advantage of innovative new models like nanodegrees and massive open online courses.

Education in the 21st century is a process of lifelong learning, and I look forward to the House passing this important reform on behalf of the men and women who bravely serve our Nation.

In addition, the House will use the Congressional Review Act to disapprove of the CFPB rule on arbitration agreements. This rule hurts consumers at the expense of class-action trial lawyers, and we will work with our colleagues in the Senate to overturn this misguided regulation.

The House will also consider H.R. 3219, the Make America Secure Appropriations Act, sponsored by Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen. {time} 1215

Madam Speaker, this is vital that we demonstrate our commitment to America's servicemembers and uphold our constitutional duty to provide for the common defense.

This security package includes the committee's marked and reported bills for Defense, Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs.

Among many positives, the bill gives a 2.4 percent pay raise for our troops, increases funding for our Capitol Police, ensures greater oversight and accountability at the VA, and fully funds the President's request for a wall along our southern border.

As always, Members are advised that late-night votes are likely next week during the consideration of this appropriations package.

Finally, Madam Speaker, additional legislative items are possible in the House, and I will be sure to notify Members of any additions to our schedule.

Mr. HOYER. Madam Speaker, I thank the majority leader for the information that he has given us.

Suffice it to say there are a couple of these bills, obviously, that give us great pause. But having said that, the Appropriations Committee, over the last few weeks, has marked up, I think, all of its bills now, 12 bills. There was discussion about bringing an omnibus with all 12 bills in it. That has obviously not happened, and so we have what we refer to as a minibus.

We only have 17 legislative days left, Madam Speaker, until the end of the fiscal year on September 30. First, I would like to ask the majority leader if he can tell us the process under which the minibus will be considered. As the gentleman pointed out, there are four distinct appropriations bills that are included in the minibus.

Is this going to be an open rule?

Will all of these bills be open to amendment, or will they be considered under a rule so that our Members can prepare for the consideration of these appropriations bills?

Madam Speaker, I yield to my friend, the majority leader.

Mr. McCARTHY. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me time, and I thank him for his question.

Madam Speaker, he is correct that, as of today, all 12 appropriations bills will be done from committee, marked up in subcommittee and full committee, and I want to thank the Appropriations Committee for their work. They achieved something that has not been achieved before in the timeline that they were given, and it is extraordinary the work they were able to do.

It is correct in the Make America Secure minibus package that we are bringing, that that package covers over 66 percent of our total discretionary spending.

As the Rules Committee has noted, the bill will come under a rule, so it will be a structured rule. We assume that there will be hundreds of amendments, as the gentleman knows, just like in the NDAA, more than 200 amendments.

I would like it noted there were more Democratic amendments than there were Republican amendments in the process that we worked through, and that is why I expect there will be late votes next week as well.

Mr. HOYER. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman.

Madam Speaker, the gentleman made an observation about there were more Democratic amendments. That is unusual for your bills. We usually find more Republican amendments to your bills than we do Democratic amendments. But having said that, I think the gentleman's observation is correct.

I want to make it clear to Members of the House, perhaps, who have not served here very long, the first year I was majority leader in 2007, it wasn't just consideration in committee. We passed through the House of Representatives all 12 appropriations bills and sent them to the Senate prior to the August break so that the Senate had a full month to consider them. We didn't get them all done, as you have suspected.

But in any event, I don't think I have ever seen, Mr. Leader, an omnibus passed prior to the August break. Individual bills being passed, but a minibus of this nature with, as you point out, 66 percent of the discretionary spending, which, by the way, there is no budget, and, therefore, this breaks the sequester level. It breaks the agreements that we have had in the past under Ryan-Murray for 4 years, two Congresses, and the number that is being used is a number that was simply taken out of the air. There has been no vote on the floor, no other way to have set that number.

We also believe that the amendments that are going to be offered are going to be offered in a very short space of time, and that is going to be a problem, but we will see what the rule says.

Can the gentlemen tell me, do we expect to bring the other eight bills to the floor in September?

Madam Speaker, I yield to my friend.

Mr. McCARTHY. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me time, and I thank him for his note that sometimes we have more Republican ideas usually that come to the floor, and I think ideas are good.

Madam Speaker, I do intend to bring the rest of the appropriations bills through this floor and get them done to send them to the Senate.

Mr. HOYER. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman.

Now, the gentleman mentioned that the border wall was going to be fully paid for. The Homeland Security bill is not a part of the package that includes four bills. Madam Speaker, can the gentleman tell me what bill that will be included in?

I yield to my friend.

Mr. McCARTHY. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me time.

Madam Speaker, as the gentleman knows, the President campaigned across America to the American public about making sure our borders are secure. Many Members on both sides of the aisle know the challenges we have along the border. The President requested and this fully funds the President's request.

As I look back in history along this line about border security, there are [[Page H6133]] many times in history it shows, just a short history ago, of those who have voted for it. Hillary Clinton has voted for border security as well on the wall, Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Chuck Schumer.

This will be an amendment made in Rules for the bill.

Mr. HOYER. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for his comments.

It is an amendment made in Rules. Is that going to be an amendment that will be made in order for full consideration and debate on the floor of the House of Representatives?

Madam Speaker, I yield to my friend.

Mr. McCARTHY. Madam Speaker, as the gentleman knows, I do not speak for the Rules Committee. It will be their process and their determination. It is a committee. They will decide as a committee.

Mr. HOYER. Madam Speaker, I thank the majority leader for that answer.

Given the fact that, as the gentleman has pointed out, this was made a major issue by the administration during the campaign, in light of the fact that there are many members of his own administration who believe the wall will not work and is not the most effective way to do what all of us agree ought to be done, and that is to keep our border secure and to make sure that we know who is coming into the United States of America--I think that is a unanimous position, frankly, of the Members of this House.

This border wall, as I understand it, is in none of the four bills that have been marked up by the committee. Therefore, my presumption is the Rules Committee is, in some fashion, going to add this. If they add it, frankly, to the rule and that it is adopted as a result of the adoption of the rule, that will preclude a vote on the wall.

Now, I know the gentleman doesn't like me to quote his book, but it seems to me, in the book, every issue was going to be taken on its own, discretely, and that Members of the House would be able to work their will.

If it is in the rule, that is, I think, not consistent with that ability of Members of the House to fully debate whether or not we ought to be putting billions and billions and billions of dollars into a wall and whether or not that wall would be effective to accomplish the objective.

Madam Speaker, can the gentleman assure me that it will not be simply included and assumed to be adopted by the adoption of the rule itself and will, in fact, be an amendment on which the House can engage and work its will?

Madam Speaker, I yield to my friend.

Mr. McCARTHY. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

He brings up a point about the security of our border. It was a debate nationally, but it wasn't a new debate. It is a debate that actually happened on this floor a short amount of time ago. We all remember the Secure Fence Act. It was actually debated right before I was elected.

We got veto-proof majorities in both the House and Senate. Sixty-four Democrats voted for that bill on this floor, 80 of 100 Senators.

I would like to note once again, who were those Senators who voted for this? It was Hillary Clinton; at the time, Senator Barack Obama; Senator Joe Biden; and Senator Chuck Schumer. So it is not a new challenge.

But the gentleman will be thankful that we have taken the new technology and also applied it within this bill for border security. We have levees. We have dams as well. We have taken the ideas on all sides. The American public has requested this. I can't promise what the Rules Committee will do, just as I would never ask you to promise what one of the committees is going to do.

Just as you quote my book--and I don't get upset with you quoting my book. You should buy it and read it more. Buy more books. The whole staff should be reading my book.

Mr. HOYER. I am enthralled by it, Mr. Majority Leader.

Mr. McCARTHY. And just to clarify, I get no royalties. The Wounded Veterans get the money, and I am thankful that you buy it.

But if I may finish with this, the Rules Committee will act. The American public expects us to act. We utilize technology. We utilize levees. We utilize dams. And I will tell you, many of those ideas come from your side of the aisle.

It is requested not just from Members on your side of the aisle, but Democrats and city councils and others that are along the border.

So, yes, we are taking action, just as we said we would do. The Rules Committee will find the right place to apply it, and we will be able to have the discussion on the floor.

Mr. HOYER. Madam Speaker, I understand the majority leader's reticence to answer the question because he says he can't speak for the Rules Committee. I understand that. But the fact of the matter is this is an important issue. It ought to be considered by the House.

It ought to have every Member's ability to speak to the issue of whether or not we ought to build that wall, not whether we ought to have security--we all agree that we should and must have security--but whether we do it with a wall, as I said, in which many members of the current administration do not believe it will work and have been quoted as saying so in the past, and there are many Members on our side who feel that.

I would hope that the majority leader would at least make it known to the Rules Committee that we ought to have that as a freestanding amendment, not incorporate it in a rule that the vote for the rule or a vote against the rule is, of itself, a vote on the wall itself.

Lastly, Mr. Leader, I want to say that you and I are both very concerned about the Russian sanctions and Iranian sanctions bill that is pending. We have been working very hard on that, very constructively on that, and I look forward, over the next 24 hours, more or less, to see whether or not we could get that resolved.

We have introduced, as you know, the Senate bill as a House bill. We would be for that if it would be brought to the floor. But we want to make sure that we move a bill, as you do, as quickly as possible and get agreement with the Senate and move that bill to the President's desk.

I thank you for your work on that, and I look forward to working with you over the next day or two to see if we can achieve that objective together.

Madam Speaker, unless the gentleman wants further time, I yield back the balance of my time. ____________________

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