If there’s one thing the American people should demand of their elected representatives, it’s that’s we should know what’s in bills before we vote on them. Unfortunately, that seems to be too much to ask of the Democratic-controlled U.S. House, which under the heavy hand of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has once again rushed sweeping legislation to passage without appropriate scrutiny or sufficient time for public review.
In February, the U.S. House passed a 1,100-page economic “stimulus” bill that (according to the White House) was supposed to create 3.5 million jobs and keep unemployment no higher than 8 percent. Since that bill was signed into law by President Obama, we’ve lost 1.6 million jobs nationwide, and unemployment nationwide is now 9.4 percent. The so-called "stimulus" has been a disaster in my home state of Ohio, where our unemployment is a record-breaking 10.8 percent.
The House late on Friday, June 26, passed Speaker Pelosi’s new national energy tax – a more than 1,500 page bill that included 300 pages added to it fewer than 24 hours in the dark of night before the final vote. No one – not one single lawmaker – had read the entire bill before voting on it. So I did what I had to do: using my privileges as Minority Leader, I took to the floor and read portions of those 300 pages to the American people before the final vote. By tradition, the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader and the Minority Leader have the right to talk for as long as they like on the Floor. I used my prerogative as the Minority Leader to read to the American people parts of a bill that will raise their taxes, send American jobs overseas and punish hard-working, middle-class families with higher energy costs.
I had hoped that lawmakers would understand that this new national energy tax on middle class families would further punish people who are struggling to make ends meet. At the very least, I and my colleagues believed the American people deserved a more open and honest debate over the contents of the bill and its implications for our country, which is still struggling through a deep recession. But in the end, in another exercise of legislating by brute force, political muscle applied by Speaker Pelosi and former Vice President Al Gore on behalf of radical special-interests carried the day, and the measure was narrowly passed.
What took place in the House yesterday is a stinging slap in the face for suffering American families and small businesses. Click here to read more.