Great Floor Speech

Here's an excellent speech by Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) today on the House floor concerning Republican tactics:

As we gather here today, the Sunday before Christmas and Chanukah, it is the process and the way the Republican leadership are running this House that I strongly object to. These last few days, in fact the entire year, I think is a great example of how not to run a government.

Sometime today we expect to consider and vote on the Defense appropriations bill. No one will have time to read and examine the final product. We will not know what last-minute goodies are tucked into the bill. Mr. Speaker, we read news reports that drilling in the Arctic will be in the bill, but we do not know if ANWR is included because we have not yet seen it. And what drilling in Alaska's wilderness has to do with the Pentagon is beyond my comprehension, but there are some in the Republican leadership who do not care about the regular process and want to tuck this in the Defense bill because they know it cannot be enacted on its own. [...]

Mr. Speaker, whether you are a liberal, a conservative, or whether you want more government or less, I think most of us would agree that whatever government we have must be competent and responsive to the people. Now, the Republicans control all of government. They control the House of Representatives, they control the Senate, and they control the White House. It is clear that they are unable to be effective stewards of our government.

Now, putting aside the corruption scandals that hang like a dark cloud over the Congress and the White House, what we see is an inability to govern. When Hurricane Katrina hit the gulf coast, the Federal Government responded miserably. The President put a political appointee in charge of FEMA who was incompetent. The President took responsibility, but ultimately the incompetence and cronyism of his administration led to a disaster that included the loss of many lives.

On the war in Iraq: no weapons of mass destruction, no ties between the Iraqi government and al Qaeda, and no imminent threat to the security of the United States of America; yet we rushed into war. Whether the intelligence was manipulated or not, clearly this government did not do its job. It failed, and over 2,100 Americans are now dead.

But now we are in Iraq, Mr. Speaker. We were there with no post-invasion plan, we are there with no-bid contracts that have led to massive corruption and fraud, our soldiers lack the most basic protective equipment, and with a chain of command that resulted in grave abuses of human rights by some of our own uniformed men and women and some of our Iraqi allies. Ultimately, the President again took responsibility. But, Mr. Speaker, with all due respect, I am tired of the speeches. I, like so many others, want genuine reform and change. I want accountability.

This all brings me to this Congress. There is a reason why this Congress has only a 25 percent approval rating. It is because you are doing a lousy job. You are trashing the rules and regular order. The selling of legislation to the highest bidder, the hard-ball tactics against your own Members to win votes, your lack of oversight and demand for accountability from this administration, all that and more is catching up to you. People are watching. People do care. They believe that you cannot competently run this government, and they want the government back.

The mess that we have before us cannot be blamed on Democrats. After all, as I have said, Republicans control everything. You cannot blame this on Bill Clinton, even though some of you try, because he has been gone now for a full 5 years. This is your fault. The battles going on behind closed doors are between your right wing and your far right wing. For those of us in the minority, and many on your side who want good government, this is a frustrating period.

Mr. Speaker, nobody denies that leadership of Congress is a hard task, but either you live up to the responsibilities or you acknowledge it is time for a change. After this sorry year, it is time for a change.

No comments: