Congressman Jim McGovern

Representing the 2nd District of Massachussetts
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McGovern Urges Defeat of GOP Bills to Undermine Iran Deal and Roll Back Clean Water Protections

Jan 12, 2016
Press Release
McGovern Calls Out House Republicans for Playing Politics with National Security

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the House floor today, Congressman Jim McGovern (D-MA) led debate for House Democrats on the consideration of H.R. 3662, The Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act; H.R. 1644, the STREAM Act; and S.J. Res. 22. Congressman McGovern called out House Republicans for pushing politically motivated legislation aimed at undermining the Iran Deal, and two bills aimed at limiting critical environmental protections.

On H.R. 3662, the Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act

“House Republicans are…playing dangerous political games with our national security by bringing legislation like this to the floor, legislation that would undermine and perhaps even kill the nuclear deal with Iran is not the answer. 

“Luckily for the American people, this bill is going nowhere. Even if it were actually passed by both chambers of Congress and made its way to the President’s desk, it would be vetoed. And I strongly doubt that Congress would be able to overturn a presidential veto in support of such a clearly partisan bill.

“Last week, Congress voted for the 62nd time to repeal the Affordable Care Act and soon afterward, that bill was vetoed by the president. That’s 62 times that Republicans wasted the American people’s time and taxpayer dollars – trying to take healthcare away from millions of families – all to make a political point.

“Congress already voted on the Iran Deal. My colleagues who opposed the deal tried to kill it and failed. It is now official policy. Are House Republicans going to take us down the same path they did with the Affordable Care Act? Are we also going to vote on this bill 62 times – a bill we know the president will veto – just so House Republicans can make a political point?

“Let’s stop wasting the American people’s time on such bills. Let’s put politics aside and actually work together to responsibly monitor implementation of the Iran Deal and find ways to strengthen U.S. leverage in other areas of concern on Iran.  I urge my colleagues to reject H.R. 3662 and to reject this Rule.

On H.R. 1644, the STREAM Act; and S.J. Res. 22

“Today the House is also taking up two Republican bills that would have devastating effects on the environment and our nation’s public health. The first piece of legislation, S.J. Res 22, is the Republican Majority’s 5th attempt to get rid of the Clean Water Rule. Here we are, having the same discussion, once again wasting the American taxpayers’ time and money.

“The Clean Water Rule was created in response to the Supreme Court declaring that the Clean Water Act needed to be narrowed and more clearly defined. So the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers did just that, they narrowed the scope and provided for much-needed clarification.

“The final bill before us, H.R. 1644, the STREAM Act, is a bill that is going nowhere and is the same bill that Republicans brought up last year with the only difference being that they changed the name.

“The sole purpose of this Republican bill is to reverse the rule that the Department of Interior released last year that regulates the destructive practice of mountaintop removal mining. It has long been known that mountaintop removal mining heavily pollutes drinking water, destroys wildlife habitats and puts local communities at greater risk of contracting life-threatening diseases.

“Keeping the American people healthy and safe should always be our first priority in Congress. Yet this bill is more focused on making it easier for big energy companies to continue the destructive and dangerous practice of mountaintop removal and gives no thought whatsoever to the risks it poses to the American families nearby.

“We’re only two weeks into the New Year and instead of House Republicans starting the year by working in a bipartisan way to bring serious legislation to the floor, we are once again debating political messaging bills that fail to address the most pressing issues we face in a constructive way. The American people deserve better than this.”

The Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Floor:

As Prepared For Delivery

“I rise in strong opposition to this rule and the underlying legislation. This Rule provides for consideration of three pieces of legislation and two of these bills are under a completely closed process. In fact, these are the 49th and 50th closed Rules this Congress. Last year was the most closed session of Congress in history. The greatest deliberative body in the world doesn’t deliberate much anymore. We don’t pass bills, we pass sound bites. This place has become an echo chamber for the Republicans’ campaign committee instead of a place where we’re doing the people’s business.

“When Speaker Ryan took the gavel, he promised openness and a return to serious legislating. Yet, here we are with two more bills that will be debated under a completely closed process this week.         

“Let me say a few words about H.R. 3662, the Iran Terror Finance Transparency Act.  My Republican friends would have us believe that this bill is a serious effort to increase Congressional oversight of sanctions relief under the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the ‘Iran Deal.’  I wish that were true.  Such a bill could bring together a substantial number of Members from both parties. I would be even more confident about such a bill if it were crafted with input from the Administration about how Congress could be most helpful and effective in monitoring the Iran nuclear deal.

“Regrettably, what is coming before the House is another ultra-partisan bill that would shut down the ability of the United States to carry out its own obligations under the Iran Deal.  Rather than the world closely monitoring Iran’s compliance, this bill would make the United States a target of condemnation for failing to fulfill its commitments. In fact, it would be the U.S. that is the nation in non-compliance with the Iran nuclear deal.

“Many of my colleagues who are critics of the Iran nuclear deal have already signaled that they cannot support this bill.  House Republicans made no attempt whatsoever to make this a bipartisan bill. They made no attempt to draft a bill that might actually be signed by the president and worth the American taxpayers’ time. This is political theater at its worst, plain and simple.

“This latest House Republican bill is even more dangerous because it plays politics with our national security. No one here wants to see Iran freed from its commitment not to develop a nuclear weapon, but that’s exactly what this bill would do if it ever became law. It would make sure that the United States could not fulfill its part of the bargain – thus killing the nuclear agreement – and Iran would once again be free to pursue building nuclear weapons. That is insane. How can my Republican friends possibly think this is a good idea?

“I believe that there are Members of Congress, in both parties, who want to work together with the Administration in a bipartisan manner to build on the progress they have made to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. I do believe there are Democrats and Republicans in Congress who genuinely want to strengthen the ability of the U.S. and the international community to respond effectively to Iran’s recent testing of ballistic missiles, hold Iran accountable for their support of militant and terrorist organizations in the Middle East, and secure the freedom of Americans currently imprisoned in Iran. I also believe that achieving these goals may not require legislation, but strong bipartisan actions that increase U.S. leverage with our international partners and with Iran.

“But playing dangerous political games with our national security by bringing legislation like this to the floor, legislation that would undermine and perhaps even kill the nuclear deal with Iran is not the answer. 

“Luckily for the American people, this bill is going nowhere. Even if it were actually passed by both chambers of Congress and made its way to the President’s desk, it would be vetoed. And I strongly doubt that Congress would be able to overturn a presidential veto in support of such a clearly partisan bill.

“Last week, Congress voted for the 62nd time to repeal the Affordable Care Act and soon afterward, that bill was vetoed by the president. That’s 62 times that Republicans wasted the American people’s time and taxpayer dollars – trying to take healthcare away from millions of families – all to make a political point.

“Congress already voted on the Iran Deal. My colleagues who opposed the deal tried to kill it and failed. It is now official policy. Are House Republicans going to take us down the same path they did with the Affordable Care Act? Are we also going to vote on this bill 62 times – a bill we know the president will veto – just so House Republicans can make a political point?

“Let’s stop wasting the American people’s time on such bills. Let’s put politics aside and actually work together to responsibly monitor implementation of the Iran Deal and find ways to strengthen U.S. leverage in other areas of concern on Iran.  I urge my colleagues to reject H.R. 3662 and to reject this Rule.

“Today the House is also taking up two Republican bills that would have devastating effects on the environment and our nation’s public health. The first piece of legislation, S.J. Res 22, is the Republican Majority’s 5th attempt to get rid of the Clean Water Rule. Here we are, having the same discussion, once again wasting the American taxpayers’ time and money.

“The Clean Water Rule was created in response to the Supreme Court declaring that the Clean Water Act needed to be narrowed and more clearly defined. So the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers did just that, they narrowed the scope and provided for much-needed clarification.

“With the EPA and Army Corps of Engineers doing exactly what they were supposed to do, you would think that would be the end of it. The EPA’s ability to protect our water from pollution has been narrowed and the industry received the clarification that they wanted. Unfortunately, my Republican friends are pushing new legislation to further weaken vital environmental protections.

“The final bill before us, H.R. 1644, the STREAM Act, is a bill that is going nowhere and is the same bill that Republicans brought up last year with the only difference being that they changed the name.

“The sole purpose of this Republican bill is to reverse the rule that the Department of Interior released last year that regulates the destructive practice of mountaintop removal mining. It has long been known that mountaintop removal mining heavily pollutes drinking water, destroys wildlife habitats and puts local communities at greater risk of contracting life-threatening diseases.

“Keeping the American people healthy and safe should always be our first priority in Congress. Yet this bill is more focused on making it easier for big energy companies to continue the destructive and dangerous practice of mountaintop removal and gives no thought whatsoever to the risks it poses to the American families nearby.

“Before the recent rule released by the Department of Interior in July 2015, parts of the regulations for mountaintop mining were more than 30 years old. Updates were clearly long overdue and the fact that House Republicans are now actively working against the safeguards established by the rule is astounding. Are Republicans so beholden to big coal companies that they would put the health and safety of our country’s families at risk? This bill clearly suggests that the answer is yes.

“We’re only two weeks into the New Year and instead of House Republicans starting the year by working in a bipartisan way to bring serious legislation to the floor, we are once again debating political messaging bills that fail to address the most pressing issues we face in a constructive way. The American people deserve better than this.”

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