May 15, 2008
Statement by Ranking Members Lewis in Opposition to the Rule on the War Supplemental Appropriations Legislation
WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis (R-Calif), made the following statement on the Floor of the House today in opposition to the rule governing debate on the war supplemental appropriations legislation.
“Mr. Speaker, the most important political counsel I ever received came from my dear friend and mentor, Dr. Adeline Gunther. “Gram” as we called her, was the founder and guiding light of the University Religious Conference near the UCLA campus. Gram said to me, “Always remember, Jerry, what you are not willing to do in order to win.” Those running the Democrat leadership in the House would be well-served by learning that lesson.
So enamored with their power after 12 years out of the majority, the Democrat majority is now moving rapidly in the direction of reinventing the authoritarian system of control they developed during their previous 40-year reign.
The outrageous movement of the Iraq Supplemental to the House floor, without consideration by the Committee on Appropriations and under a closed rule, is the case in point.
The Supplemental began as a $108 billion request to fund the requirements of our troops for the remainder of 2008. This must-pass emergency legislation has now grown to somewhere near $250 billion. A whole array of legislative provisions has been added that could have been and should have been addressed by way of our regular order Appropriations process.
Unfortunately, the Supplemental will bypass the Appropriations Committee altogether, and through use of parliamentary trickery, will avoid the inconvenient input of Democrat and Republican Members who have real expertise in the subject areas involved.
Regular order is designed to ensure that the people’s voices and interests are heard as serious public policy questions move through the legislative process. To have the Democrat leadership cut off the people’s right to be heard by such crass parliamentary maneuvers results in great harm to the Appropriations Committee and seriously undermines the credibility of the world’s most admired legislative body.
Only three or four Members, at the most, have provided serious input throughout this misguided process. All Members—Democrats and Republicans alike—should be enraged by this arrogant demonstration of dictatorial control. I know from private conversations with many of my friends on the other side of the aisle, that there is a great deal of frustration among Democrats with Chairman Obey and Speaker Pelosi, for their excessive and abusive control of this process.
Mr. Speaker, let me assure you that my colleagues and will continue to exercise every tool available to us to protect the established traditions of the House and the fundamentals of our democratic system. It is clear that Speaker Pelosi is willing to do anything, including stifling the voices of nearly every Member of the House, to win. I urge all of my colleagues to remember the words of my mentor, Dr. Adeline Gunther, who said, “Always remember what you are not willing to do in order to win.”