Oct 9, 2012 Issues: Agriculture & Rural Development


(click link below for full video account of events on the House Floor)

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On Friday October 5, 2012, Republican Speaker Pro Tempore Scott DesJarlais (R-Tenn.) brought down the gavel which instantly cut off microphones despite pleas from Congressman Hinojosa and Congressman Elijah Cummings, (D-Maryland) who wanted to continue to use the pro forma sessions to address a bill for farmers and the economy.

The slamming of the gavel signals the C-Span mics to be instantly turned off. DesJarlais walked off, leaving Reps Hinojosa and Cummings having to shout about helping farmers and about the fiscal cliff.

"This just proves that House Republicans are only interested in preventing Congress from moving forward for the American people they represent," said Rep. Hinojosa. "They wonder why this Congress is called the "Do Nothing Congress", well here is a good example of what they have done throughout the 112th Congress. What I wanted to address are the needs and concerns of our farmers. This affects not only the farmers and their families in my state of Texas; it affects every farmer across the nation. I could not believe they, the Republicans, agreed not to recognize me and my colleague Rep. Cummings simply to support their continued strategy of doing nothing."

Shutting off Democrats who want to bring up legislation discussion on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives seems to be a growing trend with Republicans. Last week House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer were not allowed to speak.

Last December of 2011, Hoyer and Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who had to shout about payroll tax cuts after their microphones were silenced.

These are Congressman Hinojosa's prepared remarks for the U.S. House of Representatives which would have been put into record, had he been allowed to speak:

"Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to address the House for one minute on why we need to address the people's work.

Mr. Speaker, farmers in my area and throughout this country are suffering because my Republican colleagues chose to go home and not take up the bi-partisan farm bill passed by the Senate.  Middle class families are facing tax increases, the postal service is falling apart and the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act has been languishing since the Senate sent it to us in April.  Our nation is heading toward a fiscal cliff at the end of the year.

The American people sent us here to fix these problems.  We should be here in Washington working on a balanced solution to our budget deficit. 

Mr. Cummings and I, along with our Democratic colleagues, are ready to get back to work to create jobs, provide security for seniors and deal with our fiscal crisis.

With the House recessing on September 21, this is the earliest Congress has left to campaign in an election year in 52 years – since 1960.  From August to the middle of November we have only been in session 8 days. This Congress has been the least productive Congress in history and rightly deserves the title of "Do-Nothing Congress", but there is time to change that if we get back to work.  I urge Speaker Boehner to call the House back into session so we can do the job the American people sent us here to do."