Zero-Sum Brinksmanship by Majority Results in 2,000 Page "Megabus"
On Friday, Rep. Slaughter spoke on the House Floor about the proposed megabus appropriations legislation, and the failed leadership of the Majority. Portions of her remarks are below:
My distinguished colleague is absolutely right, this is the rest of the bus. But it's going to be a little while before we realize whether we are on that bus or whether we've been thrown under it. Obviously, as Mr. Dreier called attention to it, this is the bill we have today. None of us will make any pretense at all of having read it. Now I have been around long enough to know that things happen this way. The House, the country, is about to shutdown tonight, the agencies are all prepared to close and we can't have that. And so we find ourselves confronted here today with this completed, and going through this conference. And a lot of people are breathing a sigh of relief this morning, frankly, particularly federal workers and the rest of the country that they're not going to be faced with a shutdown of federal agencies.
Although, we have been able to avert that crisis today, the 2,000-page package is not a cause for celebration, and I don't believe Mr. Dreier thinks it is either, but it is a demonstration of failure. As I said, I have known cases, and been participants in cases, where things like this have happened before. But through a Congress that had promised at the beginning part of the campaign, what we were promised at the beginning of this term was that this would not happen anymore. Instead, it has happened over and over again.
Over the past 12 months we have witnessed the utter failure to responsibly legislate, a failure that has led to this massive bill that we are considering today….
…But this is a sign of a larger failure- a failure of governing. It's a vision we went through all this year, based on brinksmanship and threats, an all-or-nothing game of chicken with their colleagues and the American people. Everybody is exhausted from will we do it, won't we do it, can't we do it, must we do it. Part of that has resulted in a lessening of the credit rating of the United States of America for the very first time.
So instead of spending the year finding common ground with their Democratic colleagues, the Majority spent the year advancing legislation to dismantle the EPA and to talk about light bulbs, and to open federally protected lands to foreign mining companies.
I find in my constituency the idea we were going to give land to Russia around the Grand Canyon to mine for uranium is mind-boggling to people. We really ought to be worried about that. This is a very serious problem.
Instead of spending the year finding common ground, as I have said we have done nothing about that. So throwing bipartisanship to the side, the Majority pushed forward with this ideological battle at the expense of the nation's welfare and what we see this morning is the result of their divisive efforts.
What we know is the process that begins with brinksmanship and threats end with this- 2,000-page, $1 trillion megabus crammed through the house as the clock hits zero is all we have. This is our chance to keep the government from shutting down.
With proper priorities and a serious effort to engage legislators from both sides of the aisle, we could truly have a process and a product that would make the American people proud. But that's not what we have here today. It's not what's been done this year.
I hope sincerely and I know that many people on both sides of the aisle hope sincerely that as the calendar turns to 2012 we can put an end to the zero-sum leadership that has been provided and finally give the bipartisan leadership they want and deserve and I reserve the balance of my time.