The legislative branch has the responsibility and the authority to check the executive branch in section 6103 of the Tax Code–in 1924 allows for an examination of his tax returns, the authority put in place specifically so Congress could examine the conflicts of interest in the executive branch of government following the biggest scandal of the 20th century, the Teapot Dome scandal.
Ronald Reagan, when he went to the Berlin Wall and he said, “Tear down this wall,” it changed history and made our country safe for decades ahead. I did not write those remarks, but I am very proud that I helped smuggle those remarks to the President of the United States so that he had the option of saying it. And of course, once he read those remarks, he was bound to say it, even though his senior staff tried to prevent him from doing so.
I am learning every day how much our system needs significant reform. Only four times since 1977 were all appropriations enacted by the start of the fiscal year. That is four times in the last 40 years that the appropriations process has been effectively completed.
This week in the Natural Resources Committee, we conducted an important hearing and review on the Antiquities Act. This is the process for which these days the President unilaterally can declare national monuments, thereby placing acres that are deemed to be preserved into a monument, which then cannot be touched by human hands as it is interpreted and enforced these days. Under President Obama, twice as many acres were placed into that type of monument status as all other Presidents combined over the history of the country.
It was time for the United States to lead on this, work with the international community and enforce sanctions in a way that did what? That, within a short period of time, brought the apartheid regime to offer up to the international community that atomic weapon and to say: We are done with it. And for the South African apartheid regime to say, in terms of elections: Next year we are going to hold free and fair elections in South Africa–in terms of the release of Nelson Mandela and in terms of his election to President of South Africa.
We just heard a lot about the labor movement and big bosses. I got transported back in my mind. You would have thought we were in the 1930s and 1940s. I don’t know if my colleague from Colorado has been paying attention, but union membership is at its lowest level since the 1940s right now because, even after 8 years of the most pro-union administration in decades, union membership continues to fall, and it continues to fall because workers in America aren’t buying what they are selling because a lot of what they are selling is exactly what we hear is the opposition to this bill, which is: Let’s limit people; let’s restrict people; let’s come up with all these things to tell them what they can’t do instead of telling them what they can.
I think it is worth noting that the environmental justice movement began in 1982, when North Carolina established a toxic waste landfill in Warren County–a poor, rural, majority African- American locality–over the objections of the residents. In the more than 20 years since, many environmental justice organizations have formed. During the Clinton administration, the pursuit of environmental justice became a Federal priority.
So in a weird way, the fact that we have been so free-trade oriented historically actually impedes our ability to make new free-trade agreements. And that’s something that I don’t think is very well understood, so I think it would actually do your readers a very good service to point out to them that the fact that we have made so many unilateral concessions impedes having more free-trade agreements with other countries. It’s an oddity of the way that we’ve behaved in the past.
—Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross
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It was in the last 40 or 50 years that, when people brought up health insurance, it really was insurance. You paid a very small premium each month against some unforeseeable event out there in the future, a catastrophic disease or injury. So you just paid a small premium, like term life insurance, to ensure against something you hope never would happen. In the meantime, you just paid for your health care.
As we do that, one of the things that you recognize through a lot of the models here is you’re going to achieve greater economic growth. It’s something that we saw both following the tax cuts in the Kennedy administration and the Reagan administration. I think that we can achieve greater growth, economic prosperity and job creation under the plan that the President laid out.