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House Proceeding on Jul 10th, 2009 :: 0:18:20 to 0:28:35
Total video length: 1 hours 24 minutes Stream Tools: Stream Overview | Edit Time

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Jeff Flake

0:18:16 to 0:18:36( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: 462a. the speaker pro tempore: t gentleman makes a point of order this gentlan met the threshold burden to identify the specific language on which social security based, the gentleman from arizona and a member opposed will each control 10 minutes of debaten -- on the question of consideration.

Jeff Flake

0:18:20 to 0:28:35( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: Jeff Flake

Jeff Flake

0:18:37 to 0:18:57( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: after the debate, the chair will put the question of consideration, to wit, will the house consider the resolution. the chair recognizes the gentleman from arizona. mr. flake: there may well be unfunded mandates in this bill, but that's not why i rise today. i rise because it's the only mechanism we have to talk about the fact that we're bringing

Jeff Flake

0:18:58 to 0:19:19( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: appropriation bills to the floor under closed or structured rules, which violates basically every -- every precept we've had in this house about openness and transparency on appropriations bills. for years and decades, appropriation bills have been brought to the floor under an

Jeff Flake

0:19:20 to 0:19:42( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: open rule, allowing members to offer amendments to various sections of the bill and not be precluded from that. but these bills are being brought to the floor all year under closed or structured rules allowing very, very few amendments. let me tell you why that's important. in the past, when republicans were in the majority, we were lacking in a lot of

Jeff Flake

0:19:43 to 0:20:03( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: transparency on earmarks. i would come to the floor and offer sometimes a dozen earmark amendments on the floor to strike earmarks and i had no idea, most times, when i would come to the floor, whose earmark i was challenging. i would simply come and challenge and sometimes the sponsor would come down and defend it, sometimes they wnt.

Jeff Flake

0:20:04 to 0:20:24( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: but at least -- they wouldn't. but at least i had the opportunity to challenge the earmark a there was some type of back and forth and discussion of it. now we have trands parentcy rules which is good. some of us have pushed for transparency rules for a why now we know whose earmark we're challenging on the floor. now we know because there's a

Jeff Flake

0:20:25 to 0:20:45( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: name next to it. and members are required to file out a certification letter stating that they have no financial interest in the earmark that they are sponsoring. those i'm glad we have them. the speaker of the house said during the campaign a couple of

Jeff Flake

0:20:46 to 0:21:06( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: years ago that we were going to drain the swamp, referring to some of the corruption that had gone on, much of it due to earmarking. and i'm pleased that so these trands parentcy rules have come into being. it's a good thing. the problem is, we've not drained the swamp. we simply know how deep the mud is.

Jeff Flake

0:21:07 to 0:21:27( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: we know that we have a problem, but we have not done much to correct that problem. let me give you an example. this is the case here with this rule and the rules on other appropriation bill this is year. now we know whose earmarks are in the bills, and so -- and we know that some of them raise

Jeff Flake

0:21:28 to 0:21:49( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: questions, particularly in the defense bill that is upcoming later this month. there are numerous investigations going on by the department of justice right now, examining the relationship between earmarks and campaign contributions. our own ethics committee issues guidance that says that if you

Jeff Flake

0:21:50 to 0:22:11( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: receive a campaign contribution in close proximity to an earmark you've sponsored that doesn't necessarily constitute financial interest. in other words, go ahead and do it. we have many examples of earmarks going out and cpaign contributions flowing in to the sponsor of the earmark. we may not see that as a problem herebut clearly the

Jeff Flake

0:22:12 to 0:22:33( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: justice department seems to see there's a problem with that. so what do we do here in the house? instofede allowing members to come to the floor during debate and saying what about this earmark? what about the campaign contribution this is a seem to have been received as soon as that earmark was sponsored?

Jeff Flake

0:22:34 to 0:22:54( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: as soon as that report came to the floor saying that that earmark was in the bill, why did campaign contributions flow in response to that? instead of being able to examine those things, we decided to cut off debate. so we have transparency rules where we now know whose earmark

Jeff Flake

0:22:55 to 0:23:16( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: is in the bill, but we've prohibited members from actually coming to the floor to examine that. so you have some more transparency, but you' cut out accountability. now we've done a number of appropriations bills a some amendments have been allowed. very few. i think in one bill, there were more than 100 amendments

Jeff Flake

0:23:17 to 0:23:37( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: prefiled and only maybe 20 or so were allowed. i, myself have submitted in one of the latest bills a dozen amendments, was only allowed to offer three on the floor my guess is, these are going to be narrowed further and further until we get to the defense bill later this month, which we have allowed only one day of debate for.

Jeff Flake

0:23:38 to 0:23:59( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: keep in mind, this is going to be a bill that will have, likely if tradition holds, more than 1,000 earmarks, hou earmarks in it. several hundred of which will constitute no-bid contracts for private companies. nearly all of which there will be a pattern of campaign contributions flowing back to

Jeff Flake

0:24:00 to 0:24:21( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: the member who sponsored that earmark. this isn't -- i am not a fan of public funding of campaigns. that's not the direction we should go. campaign contributions typically flow to members who share the philosophy of that person making the contribution but when you have a pattern, as the press has duly noted,

Jeff Flake

0:24:22 to 0:24:44( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: accurately noted, that as soon as an earmark is sponsored, often there's campaign check this is a come directly to that member who sponsored the earmarks, there's an appearance of impropriety we have to take account of here in the house. our role here in the house and the role of the ethics committee, is to make sure we

Jeff Flake

0:24:45 to 0:25:06( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: uphold the dignity of the institution. we simply can't do that when you have the appearance of impropriety and when you give a no-bid contract to a private company whose executives turn around and make large campaign contributions ba to that member who sponsored the no-bid contract to them, you have the

Jeff Flake

0:25:07 to 0:25:27( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: appearance of impropriety. it's simply wrong for us now to shut down debate on that and say, now we used to allow members to challenge these things on the floor, but now appearance of impropriety, 're simply going to shut down debate. we're in the going to talk about it. we're not going to allow that

Jeff Flake

0:25:28 to 0:25:48( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: debate to occur on the house floor. i would hope that these things would be talked about and discussed and vetted, these earmarks would be vetted ithe approprtions committee. but clearly that is not the case. if it were the case, if these were properly vetted in the appropriations committee, we wouldn't see the scandals we've seen.

Jeff Flake

0:25:49 to 0:26:09( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: we wouldn't have members of congress behind bars right now. for sponsoring earmarks. and taking money for them. now i'm not saying that that's occurring now, but that has in the past. and when we clearly haven't vetted these properly, and we

Jeff Flake

0:26:10 to 0:26:30( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: don't do this body any service by cutting off debate on the house floor and saying, we're just going to turn a blind eye because there might be a problem and if we stand on the floor and dete these things, people might see there is a problem. so it's good to have transparency rules. that's wonderful. but once you do have

Jeff Flake

0:26:31 to 0:26:51( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: transparency, you need accountability. and when you cut off debate and cut off amendments coming to the floor and bring appropriation bills under closed rules, in violation of every tradition we've had in this house, then we've got a problem. it's said that people outside of the beltway don't care about

Jeff Flake

0:26:52 to 0:27:12( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: process and that may be true. it's tough to make political points about process because it's tough to understand the process of this institution. but bad process always yields bad results. and bad policy it happened when we were in the majority, when we held votes open for three hours to allow leadership and

Jeff Flake

0:27:13 to 0:27:33( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: others to twist arms, that violated every tradition of the house, where you're supposed to only hold votes open for 15 minutes or slightly longer, there's a problem with that. that leads to bad results. i would submit if you shut down appropriations bills if you shut down the process allow

Jeff Flake

0:27:34 to 0:27:54( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: mecks to offer amendments on the floor and turn a blind eye to what might be occurring, then you're going to have a problem. and you're going to increase the cynicism, rightfully that people have about this institution. the house of representatives, i've served here for nine years that wonrful institution.

Jeff Flake

0:27:55 to 0:28:15( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: it really. is we owe this body much more than we're giving it. i would hope the leadership would have more of a vested interest in upholding the dignity of the institution instead of sweeping these things under the rug and say, let's not house floor because people

Jeff Flake

0:28:16 to 0:28:35( Edit History Discussion )

Jeff Flake: might be seeing, people might see what's occurring. with that, mr. speaker, i hope that particularly when we get to the defense bill later, where there are going to be hundreds and hundreds of earmarks that represent no-bid contracts to private companies that we allow amendments to

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