FIRING INAPPROPRIATE AT CHRISTMASTIME; Congressional Record Vol. 141, No. 199
(House of Representatives - December 14, 1995)

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                 FIRING INAPPROPRIATE AT CHRISTMASTIME

  (Mr. MORAN asked and was given permission to address the House for 1 
minute and to revise and extend his remarks.)
  Mr. MORAN. Mr. Speaker, I would like to make an inquiry of the 
Speaker or anyone knowledgeable of the issue to clarify it, because 
there is a good deal of concern on the part of Members on both sides of 
the aisle over the status of 11 people who served all of the Members of 
this body in a nonpartisan way, and who, we understand, have been fired 
without advance notice just before Christmastime.
  I do not think it is a partisan issue, but it is something that 
affects all of us, because these are people who are responsible for the 
tallying, for the enrollment of bills, for checking the accuracy of the 
bills; and the only common bond we can find among those people that 
have been peremptorily fired is that they had accumulated a substantial 
amount of compensatory time.
  Since this body will have to abide by all of the private sector laws 
as of January 1, we would be responsible for compensating these people 
for the compensatory time they built up for working late hours when we 
are still in session.
  Mr. Speaker, if that is the common bond that caused their firing, 
then I think it would be helpful for all of us to understand, because 
this affects the ability of all of the Members of this body to carry 
out their functions and to make sure that no mistakes are made in the 
wording of the bills, and that the tally of the votes, and so on is 
accurate.
  Mr. Speaker, I also think that it reflects on all of the Members of 
this body if we fire our own employees just before Christmastime for a 
reason that does not seem consistent with the values--the family values 
and the integrity--of this House.
  Mr. Speaker, I see the gentleman from California [Mr. Thomas] has 
risen, the chairman of the Committee on House Oversight, and perhaps he 
would respond.
  Mr. THOMAS. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. MORAN. I yield to the gentleman from California.
  Mr. THOMAS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, I would just say that perhaps these kinds of discussions 
on the floor, without having all of the facts in front of us, are 
probably not as useful as they should be, and that I believe the 
gentleman ought to avail himself of all of the facts prior to making 
some rather strong statements.
  Of course, as the gentleman knows, given the dismissal policy around 
here, these individuals will be with us through the Christmas season.
  As a matter of fact, they will be with us through the beginning month 
of the year, and probably beyond that because simply, around here when 
you talk about removing people who, in the review of the needs, are no 
longer necessary, to make a statement that they are not going to be 
here through the Christmas session is simply not factually correct; and 
I would very much like to invite the gentleman to sit down and take a 
look at all of the facts surrounding the circumstances.
  I would have been more than willing to do that had the gentleman 
approached me, without taking the time of the House to make some 
statements.
  I think the gentleman will find, after he looks at the facts, that he 
was perhaps a bit extreme. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
  Mr. MORAN. Mr. Speaker, reclaiming my time, that was the purpose for 
making it an inquiry rather than a speech: to determine why it 
occurred. I hope we can get some further light on the issue. I think it 
is a serious one.
  Mr. ARCHER. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to House Resolution 293, I call up 
the bill (H.R. 2621) to enforce the public debt limit and to protect 
the Social Security trust funds and other Federal trust funds and 
accounts invested in public debt obligations, and ask for its immediate 
consideration.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.

                               H.R. 2621

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. APPLICABILITY OF PUBLIC DEBT LIMIT TO FEDERAL 
                   TRUST FUNDS AND OTHER FEDERAL ACCOUNTS.

       (a) Protection of Federal Funds.--Notwithstanding any other 
     provision of law--
       (1) no officer or employee of the United States may--
       (A) delay the deposit of any amount into (or delay the 
     credit of any amount to) any Federal fund or otherwise vary 
     from the normal terms, procedures, or timing for making such 
     deposits or credits, or
       (B) refrain from the investment in public debt obligations 
     of amounts in any Federal fund,
     if a purpose of such action or inaction is to not increase 
     the amount of outstanding public debt obligations, and
       (2) no officer or employee of the United States may 
     disinvest amounts in any Federal fund which are invested in 
     public debt obligations if a purpose of the disinvestment is 
     to reduce the amount of outstanding public debt obligations.
       (b) Protection of Benefits and Expenditures for 
     Administrative Expenses.--
       (1) In general.--Notwithstanding subsection (a), during any 
     period for which cash benefits or administrative expenses 
     would not otherwise be payable from a covered benefits fund 
     by reason of an inability to issue further public debt 
     obligations because of the applicable public debt limit, 
     public debt obligations held by such covered benefits fund 
     shall be sold or redeemed only for the purpose of making 
     payment of such benefits or administrative expenses and 
     only to the extent cash assets of the covered benefits 
     fund are not available from month to month for making 
     payment of such benefits or administrative expenses.
       (2) Issuance of corresponding debt.--For purposes of 
     undertaking the sale or redemption of public debt obligations 
     held by a covered benefits fund pursuant to paragraph (1), 
     the Secretary of the Treasury may issue corresponding public 
     debt obligations to the public, in order to obtain the cash 
     necessary for payment of benefits or administrative expenses 
     from such covered benefits fund, notwithstanding the public 
     debt limit.
       (3) Advance notice of sale or redemption.--Not less than 3 
     days prior to the date on which, be reason of the public debt 
     limit, the Secretary of the Treasury expects to undertake a 
     sale or redemption authorized under paragraph (1), the 
     Secretary of the Treasury shall report to each House of the 
     Congress and to the Comptroller General of the United States 
     regarding the expected sale or redemption. Upon receipt of 
     such report, the Comptroller General shall review the extent 
     of compliance with subsection (a) and paragraphs (1) and (2) 
     of this subsection and shall issue such findings and 
     recommendations to each House of the Congress as the 
     Comptroller General considers necessary and appropriate.
       (c) Public Debt Obligation.--For purposes of this section, 
     the term ``public debt obligation'' means any obligation 
     subject to the public debt limit established under section 
     3101 of title 31, United States Code.
       (d) Federal Fund.--For purposes of this section, the term 
     ``Federal fund'' means any Federal trust fund or Government 
     account established pursuant to Federal law to which the 
     Secretary of the Treasury has issued or is expressly 
     authorized by law directly to issue obligations under chapter 
     31 of title 31, United States Code, in respect of public 
     money, money otherwise required to be deposited in the 
     Treasury, or amounts appropriate.
       (e) Covered Benefits Fund.--For purposes of subsection (b), 
     the term ``covered benefits fund'' means any Federal fund 
     from which cash benefits are payable by law in the form of 
     retirement benefits, separation payments, life or disability 
     insurance benefits, or dependent's or survivor's benefits, 
     including (but not limited to) the following:
       (1) the Federal Old-Age and Survivors Insurance Trust Fund;
       (2) the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund;
       (3) the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund;
       (4) the Government Securities Investment Fund; 
       
[[Page H14886]]

       (5) the Department of Defense Military Retirement Fund;
       (6) the Unemployment Trust Fund;
       (7) each of the railroad retirement funds and accounts;
       (8) the Department of Defense Education Benefits Fund and 
     the Post-Vietnam Era Veterans Education Fund; and
       (9) the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund.

     SEC. 2. CONFORMING AMENDMENT.

       (a) In General.--Subsections (j), (k), and (l) of section 
     8348 of title 5, United States Code, and subsections (g) and 
     (h) of section 8438 of such title are hereby repealed.
       (b) Retention of Authority To Restore Trust Funds With 
     Respect to Actions Taken Before Date of Enactment.--
       (1) In general.--The repeals made by subsection (a) shall 
     not apply to the restoration requirements imposed on the 
     Secretary of the Treasury (or the Executive Director referred 
     to in section 8438(g)(5) of title 5, United States Code) with 
     respect to amounts attributable to actions taken under 
     subsection (j)(1) or (k) of section 8348, or section 
     8438(g)(1), of such title before the date of the enactment of 
     this Act.
       (2) Restoration requirements.--For purposes of paragraph 
     (1), the term ``restoration requirements'' means the 
     requirements imposed by--
       (A) paragraphs (2), (3), and (4) of subsection (j), and 
     subsection (l)(1), of section 8348 of such title, and
       (B) paragraphs (2), (3), (4), and (5) of subsection (g), 
     and subsection (h)(1), of section 8438 of such title.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to House Resolution 293, the 
amendments printed in the House report, 104-388, are adopted.
  The text of H.R. 2621, as amended, is as follows:
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Texas [Mr. Archer] will 
be recognized for 30 minutes, and the gentleman from Florida [Mr. 
Gibbons] will be recognized for 30 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Archer].


                             General Leave

  Mr. ARCHER. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks and 
include extraneous material on the bill H.R. 2621.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Texas?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. ARCHER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, today the House is again debating H.R. 2621, a bill to 
enforce the public debt limit and to protect the Social Security trust 
funds and other Federal trust funds and accounts invested in public 
debt obligations.
  As everyone will recall, we have already sent to the President two 
debt limit extensions, a long-term extension as part of the Balanced 
Budget Act, which he vetoed, and a short-term extension which he vetoed 
on November 13. Accompanying the short-term limit were the trust fund 
protections which are embodied in the bill that we are now considering.
  As a result of the President's veto of the debt limit, the 
administration took some extraordinary steps to avoid the legal debt 
limit that, to me, are very disturbing. On November 15, the Treasury 
gained access to $61.5 billion from the Civil Service Retirement trust 
fund and the G fund in the thrift savings account.
  Recent public statements indicate that the Treasury can go through 
the end of January and perhaps into the first week of February before 
facing further debt constraints. However, it is not clear what move 
Treasury will next take to create further borrowing authority.
  H.R. 2621 would prevent the kind of steps that the Treasury has been 
undertaking. Quite simply, the bill requires Federal trust funds and 
similar accounts to be fully invested in Government securities. Surplus 
income cannot be held in cash to avoid hitting the debt limit.
  Furthermore, funds cannot be disinvested unless it is done to pay 
authorized benefits. During a debt limit period, Social Security 
benefits and other benefits to individuals financed through the 
redeposition of U.S. securities would be paid.
  Mr. Speaker, the amendment that was incorporated in the rule updates 
the legislation for the events that have occurred in the last few 
weeks. It would restore the Civil Service trust fund and G fund to 
their proper financial levels for actions taken by the Secretary of the 
Treasury to date. This would be a one-time-only restoration, and 
Treasury's current authority to use this as a loophole around the debt 
limit would be repealed.
  Mr. Speaker, when the President vetoed the short-term debt limit, he 
cited as one of his reasons the limitations it placed on Treasury's 
statutory power to manage the debt, but this argument between the two 
branches of Government is not about debt management. The power to 
borrow money on the credit of the United States is clearly a 
constitutional function of the U.S. Congress; whether this debate 
should be about controlling the level and growth of the debt burden on 
our children, and it is about balancing the budget.

                              {time}  1145

  It is also about controlling the runaway growth of Federal spending 
and the tax burden placed on working people in this country.
  On November 15, the Treasury used a Federal pension law intended to 
protect retiree benefits to seriously weaken the constitutional 
authority of the Congress of the United States. Even though it has not 
shown up on the official books to date, when the trust funds are 
automatically restored--and, Mr. Speaker, there is a legal obligation 
to restore these funds--the Nation will be $61 billion further in debt, 
without the Congress, the constitutional authority as the voice of the 
people, having acted upon it. This legal obligation to restore the 
disinvestment of these trust funds in fact is extra debt and 
effectively pierces the debt ceiling.
  The U.S. Government cannot continue to act like a spendthrift, that 
having reached its limit on its credit card, goes out and simply gets 
another credit card. Already we have handed our children the bill of 
$187,000 in their lifetimes just to pay the interest on the existing 
debt, and now the Secretary has incurred an additional liability 
already of $61 billion. That is why we must pass this law, using our 
constitutional authority to protect these children and the generations 
to come.
  But the young are not the only ones who should have an interest in 
this legislation. The Social Security trust funds, as I mentioned 
before, are not legally protected from this kind of a manipulation 
already done to the other pension trust fund. The 43 million recipients 
who paid their taxes and rely on those benefits expect us to stand 
behind their investments.
  The administration says it will not use Social Security trust funds 
in the debt limit game, and we know that they have not yet touched the 
Social Security fund. But, make no doubt about it, this bill is the 
only way to legally protect Social Security from being raided during 
this or any future debt suspension period.
  Mr. Speaker, this bill is both necessary and responsible. It takes 
back the Congress' constitutional right to determine the level of debt 
on the people of this country, it protects our senior citizens' trust 
funds and benefits, and it closes the loophole the administration has 
used to increase the debt that every American must carry.
  I urge my colleagues to adopt this legislation.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 4 minutes.
  Mr. Speaker, in most of America this is a happy time of the year in 
which we are wishing each other good wishes, and I think we genuinely 
feel that.
  But in the 30-something years I have been here in Congress. I have 
noticed there is a propensity at this time of the year as Congress 
begins to close down for a little recess that it develops into the 
silly time.
  I know this is not the idea of the gentleman from Texas [Mr. Archer]. 
The leadership over there forced him to this, in the most mismanaged 
session that I have ever seen in my congressional career.
  We have wasted more time this year on silly things that have never 
gone anyplace but have made a lot of fancy headlines for a brief day or 
so. But this continues on.
  No President in his right mind would ever sign this bill. Whether he 
be Democrat, Republican, Independent, or who done it, he would never 
sign this bill.
  I think it would behoove my Republican friends to realize that power 
changes around this place, and maybe 

[[Page H14887]]
sometime in the future they may face a situation where they are in the 
White House and we are in control here in the Congress, and we get 
cantankerous like they have done on this debt ceiling thing and they 
have got no room to maneuver for the good of the country.
  I have never met anybody who really in their right mind wants to shut 
the Government down. I am not talking about just shutting down the 
Grand Canyon or the Washington Monument. I am talking about not paying 
the military, not paying the Social Security benefits.
  That is what could happen if this silly bill became law. None of the 
bills would be able to be paid. There would be financial chaos in the 
United States and in the world if we do not have the maneuver room that 
we have now got under the law.
  So this bill will never get out of the Senate, it will never become 
law, and we are wasting an hour here today because if we did not waste 
an hour doing this, we would do something else silly around this place. 
That is the only reason.
  So, Mr. Speaker, the Social Security fund is safe. It has already 
been invaded twice to pay benefits. If we cut it off and do not allow 
them to invade it, and that is what this would do, to pay benefits, we 
are going to have checks bouncing just like that all over the United 
States, immediately.
  Everybody's check would bounce. The Government could not do a single 
thing. It could not pay the police, it could not pay the FBI, it could 
not pay the prison guards, it could not pay the FAA, the air traffic 
controllers. It just could not do anything.
  Now, none of you want to do that and I do not know why you go through 
this silly drill. It is never going to become law, and maybe you ought 
to get around to managing the time so that we could do something useful 
for the American public.
  Mr. SHAW. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Georgia [Mr. Collins], a member of the Committee on Ways and Means.
  Mr. COLLINS of Georgia. I thank the gentleman for yieldng me the 
time.
  Mr. Speaker, I have said a number of times from this well and also in 
the Third District of Georgia that the greatest challenge to this 
Congress is the deficit, and the greatest threat to this Nation is the 
national debt, and the best and the most important responsibility of 
this Congress is balancing the budget.
  What we are doing here today is trying to prevent and stop the delay 
of balancing the budget. The process of using trust funds rather than 
disburse them into the accounts that they should be in is simply a way 
to balance-budget dodge, and that is it in a nutshell. It is wrong. 
Those funds are deducted from employee checks, they are matched by 
taxpayers' money, and they should be deposited in the trust funds. 
Those dollars do not belong to the Federal Government or the Treasury 
any longer. Once they come out of a person's payroll check, they should 
go to the place of responsibility and that is the trust funds.
  We in the private sector, those of us who are in business and employ 
people, have to do the same thing. When we have funds that we deduct 
from an employee's check, we have so many banking days that we have to 
make a deposit at the bank and those funds go into the Treasury and 
then supposedly into trust funds. The same thing should be required of 
the Treasury and the Federal Government. The Federal Government, the 
Treasury, should be required, also, to make those deposits within a 
short period of time and not use them to circumvent the process of 
balancing the people's books.
  Passage of this legislation will not completely stop the balanced-
budget dodging, but it will sure help. It will sure help to protect 
those dollars that are deducted from the employees of this Government 
and from those who work for many other employers and have Social 
Security funds deducted from their paychecks. It is important that we 
pass this legislation.
  Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Virginia [Mr. Payne].
  Mr. PAYNE of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to 
this bill. While it pretends to protect our various Federal trust 
funds, in fact, by forcing a default on our national debt the bill 
virtually ensures that our Social Security beneficiaries and our civil 
service retirees will not be paid on time.
  This bill repeals the debt management tools given to the Secretary of 
the Treasury in 1986 and 1987. These tools were used by Secretary Rubin 
on November 15 to avoid a default. The bill also requires the Secretary 
to immediately invest all cash balances and incoming receipts for all 
trust funds, even if the debt limit would be exceeded in doing so. This 
will force our Nation into default in a matter of days.
  While the bill makes a pretense of protecting our trust fund 
beneficiaries, in reality it would have exactly the opposite result. 
Millions of citizens entitled to various kinds of payments would not be 
able to receive what they are owed. Military personnel, including our 
troops in Bosnia and around the world, would not get paid, nor would 
their support supplies be paid for. Medicare and Medicaid recipients, 
food stamp recipients, and holders of Government securities, many of 
whom absolutely rely on the timely delivery of their checks to survive, 
would be left waiting.
  In addition to these short-term impacts, forcing our Nation into 
default would have serious long-term financial implications. Investors 
will demand a risk premium to purchase future Government debt, and 
disruption of normal borrowing procedures will result in delay costs, 
resulting in higher interest rates which will cost taxpayers billions 
of extra dollars annually. Virtually all interest rates are keyed to 
Treasury rates. If they go up, so will mortgage rates, and rates on 
consumer loans and personal loans and student loans.
  This bill is irresponsible and it is unwise. We should defeat it. We 
should pass a clean temporary extension bill, as we have done at 
similar times in the past and we should get on with the important 
business of balancing the budget in a bipartisan manner.
  Mr. SHAW. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Pennsylvania [Mr. English], a member of the Committee on Ways and 
Means.
  Mr. ENGLISH of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, today we are going to 
attempt again to protect Social Security and other Federal trust funds 
during the budget negotiations by putting up a vote, hopefully a 
successful one, on this debt limit bill.
  For senior citizens in America, this is an absolutely key vote and 
one which everyone should watch. I listened to the comments of my 
friend and distinguished colleague from Florida. Let me suggest to him 
that no President in his right mind would veto this bill. This bill is 
timely. Because in the wake of the President's veto of prior debt limit 
legislation, the administration took some extraordinary and disturbing 
steps to circumvent the legal debt limit.
  As our chairman noted, on November 15, Treasury tapped into $61.5 
billion from the civil service retirement trust fund and the G Fund in 
the Thrift Savings Program. This raises chilling questions about where 
Treasury will look next to create further borrowing authority.
  Let us be clear on this. The President does not want to erect fire 
walls around these trust funds because he needs the assets in these 
accounts to get around the debt ceiling and resist serious budget 
negotiations.
  Mr. Speaker, H.R. 2621 provides essential protections for Social 
Security and other trust funds now being raided by the Treasury to 
avoid the statutory debt limit. It restores public confidence in these 
retirement systems. This bill is both necessary and responsible. It 
reasserts Congress's constitutional right to determine the debt, it 
protects senior citizens' trust funds and benefits, and it closes the 
loophole that this administration has used to siphon retirement assets 
in its possession.
  This is not about cash management, Mr. Speaker. It is about the 
integrity of Social Security and the federal retirement system and 
keeping faith with those who depend on them.
  Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from 
Michigan [Mr. Levin].
  Mr. LEVIN. Mr. Speaker, in one sense I hesitate to speak on this 
because this is such a ludicrous proposition. I do not know why you are 
pursuing it. At a time when we should be 

[[Page H14888]]
talking responsibly, negotiating responsibly on a bipartisan basis, you 
are playing games.
  Why are you doing it? So far you have not fooled anybody. Not a soul. 
You started this in Ways and Means.
  The Social Security trust funds are not being raided. You know that. 
It is just a falsehood. In your sentence you cleverly say raiding 
Social Security and other trust funds, or raiding other trust funds and 
Social Security. Social Security has not been touched.

                              {time}  1200

  Mr. Speaker, the GAO said in a letter of December 12 our review of 
Treasury records show that between November 1, 1995, and December 8, 
1995, Treasury followed its normal investment and redemption policies 
throughout transactions affecting the Social Security trust funds.
  So why are our colleagues doing this? If the Treasury had not used 
its approach of a few weeks ago, then Social Security recipients would 
have been affected, and everybody else. Our colleagues were saved from 
responsibility for default by the action of the Treasury Department, 
and now they are trying to shift blame to it.
  This bill is what risks immediate default and financial chaos, so 
look. Maybe our colleagues are all going to vote kind of like robots 
for this. Maybe, like robots, they are going to come and vote for this, 
but I have to think that it is someplace in their mind, or other place, 
that they know this is an unwise move.
  As my colleagues know, it is time to stop this kind of antic. 
Hopefully we are on the eve of some serious negotiations. Everybody has 
announced they are going to start tomorrow in a more serious vein, and 
here, 24 hours before that, our colleagues bring up this charade. They 
know it is wrong, they know it is not going to go anywhere. They are 
trying to gain a few political points at the last minute.
  Mr. Speaker, Americans are losing faith in their political antics. 
They have been losing credibility because of devices and tactics like 
this.
  It is time for serious bipartisan negotiations in the budget and the 
end of tactics like this.
  Mr. SHAW. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I would say to my friend from Michigan that one of the 
previous administrations back in 1985 did indeed borrow from the Social 
Security trust fund and was most severely criticized by the Democrat 
Party for having done so.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman from Alabama 
[Mr. Bachus].
  Mr. BACHUS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Florida [Mr. 
Shaw] for yielding me the time, and, Mr. Speaker, this is serious 
business, and, as the gentleman from Florida said, this is the second 
time that we have attempted to protect the trust fund. The first time 
was back on August 1, 1986, and I would like to read an excerpt of a 
Senator's speech when we were trying to accomplish the same thing then 
that we are trying to do with this legislation. By the way, that 
Senator was Al Gore, and here is what he said about legislation almost 
identical to this legislation:

       Like the Social Security trust fund, the Civil Service 
     Retirement and Disability Fund is a dedicated--dedicated let 
     me stress--trust fund, and, as such, its assets may only be 
     used to provide benefits to civil service retirees. The fund 
     stands as a strong symbol of assurance that Federal 
     employees' retirement benefits will be paid when they are 
     due. While employees may not fully understand the arcane 
     interactions of Federal financing, they do recognize when 
     money they have contributed toward the financing of their 
     retirement has been used in ways other than those intended or 
     promised. It was right for them to take offense last year 
     when the civil service fund was first tapped to keep the 
     Nation solvent during the 1986 debt ceiling crises.

  Is this silly? Was it silly when it again happened this year when 
Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin reached into the civil service 
retirement fund and took out Treasury securities bearing interest of 
almost $40 billion and substituted them for an IOU? Was it silly when 
he took the entire proceeds, $21.5 billion of the G fund, and did not 
reinvest them? I do not think so. In fact, Mr. Speaker, Senator Gore's 
statement 10 years ago remains the best, and let me close with a 
further quote by Senator Gore. Ten years later this statement remains 
the best explanation of why we need this bill, and I quote:

       To insure the trust fund assets are used only for the 
     purpose of the trust fund, not for general government 
     obligations.

  As Senator Gore stated, it was right for Federal employees to take 
offense when the civil service retirement fund is used for political 
purposes. It is time for us to protect the trust fund and restore 
congressional control over the Federal debt.


                        parliamentary inquiries

  Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Speaker, I have a parliamentary inquiry.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman will state his parliamentary 
inquiry.
  Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Speaker, I have been informed in the past by the 
Parliamentarian that it was forbidden under rules of the House to quote 
directly from a Member of the other body, or to refer to a Member of 
the other body, or to quote on this floor from speeches or 
pronouncements made by a Member of the other body.
  Mr. Speaker, I did not bring it up during the gentleman's recitation 
because I think he did it in good faith, but that was what I was 
instructed by the Parliamentarian, and I would like to know if that is, 
in fact, the case.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. (Mr. Inglis of South Carolina). Members are 
permitted to quote former Members of the other body.
  Mr. ABERCROMBIE. So, further parliamentary inquiry:
  Then one may not quote anyone who is currently in office either by 
name or in terms of what they may have said or done?

  Mr. BACHUS. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
  Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I certainly would be glad to, but I am making an 
inquiry of the Chair.
  Mr. BACHUS. As I said, then former Senator Al Gore. I did not refer 
to the fact that he is now the Vice President of the United States, 
although I do not think that would be inappropriate, but I think that 
the Speaker and other Members of this body understand that.
  Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Speaker, if the gentleman would yield, I have a 
parliamentary inquiry of the Chair.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentlewoman will state her parliamentary 
inquiry.
  Ms. PELOSI. Is the Vice President not the President of the Senate?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Quoting the Vice President, who is the 
President of the Senate, in his capacity as a former Member of the 
Senate is not necessarily out of order.
  Ms. PELOSI. So let us get this straight.
  A Member of this body; because we are all going to have to abide by 
this rule, so I want to make sure I understand it; we can quote a 
Member of the Senate as long as he is not a Member of the Senate any 
longer. Being President of the Senate, one is not a Member of the 
Senate?
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair will clarify for the gentlewoman 
from California [Ms. Pelosi] the situation as to quotations of current 
Members of the Senate by reading clause 1 of rule XIV which permits:

       . . . quotations from Senate proceedings on a measure then 
     under debate in the House and which are relevant to the 
     making of legislative history establishing the meaning of 
     that measure but may not include characterizations of Senate 
     action or inaction, other references to individual Members of 
     the Senate, or other quotations from Senate proceedings.

  So that is in pertinent part.
  Ms. PELOSI. So the Chair's clarification addresses the substance of 
remarks. I thought the clarification that the Chair gave previously 
addressed who made the remarks, and that was a former Member of the 
Senate. The debt ceiling issue is a matter of discussion in the Senate 
of the United States. The Vice President is an ex officio Member. Not 
to be argumentative about it, but I think it should be clear how 
Members proceed in this debate because it is an issue that is discussed 
in the Senate, the Vice President is an ex officio Member of the 
Senate, so even though the gentleman was quoting from when he used to 
be a Member from Tennessee, on an issue then, that issue is recurring 
now.
  Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Speaker, I yield with this proviso, the Chair 
understand why I am asking the question. 

[[Page H14889]]
I have been forbidden to quote a Member of the other body with respect 
to legislation that is pending before us.
  Mr. BACHUS. Let me draw the distinction, and I am not arguing over my 
colleague's ability to do that or not.
  I quoted a former Member. At that time, I said former Senator Al 
Gore. I quoted from his speech on August 1, 1986. I pointed out that it 
was an amendment which accomplishes the same thing that this 
legislation would do, and, if I can read my----
  Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I understand the motivation and am reclaiming my 
time, Mr. Speaker.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. If the gentlemen will suspend, the Chair 
would just advise Members that quotations of former Members of the 
Senate now serving as Vice President in their capacity as Senators are 
in order as long as they are not disparaging of that former Member of 
the other body.
  The Chair has responded to the inquiry of the gentleman from Hawaii 
[Mr. Abercrombie] and the inquiry of the gentlewoman from California 
[Ms. Pelosi], and believes the matter is concluded.
  Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Yes, it is, Mr. Speaker.
  Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, now that we have gotten that important 
decision made, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman 
from New York [Mr. Flake].
  (Mr. FLAKE asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to H.R. 2621 and to ask 
both parties to get together and start acting responsibly. Let us move 
on in the best interests of our constituents and move this process to 
the next level.
  Mr. Speaker, I will take this opportunity to express my opposition to 
H.R. 2621, and to state my disbelief that Congress is still locked in a 
political budget battle, and has taken measures to politicize the issue 
of extending the debt limit. Today, by attacking the integrity of 
Secretary Rubin, and voting on H.R. 2621, it seems that the majority 
wishes to hold the President hostage to its budget goals.
  I say that the majority seeks to hold the administration hostage, in 
that the clear effort today is to force the country to default on its 
obligations--for the first time in history. Let me remind my colleagues 
and the American public that if this bill were enacted, the Treasury 
would be prevented from raising funds, to meet daily U.S. obligations. 
Moreover, according to OMB, if the bill becomes law, we will default 
within days, if not hours.
  In a charade of protectionism, where the majority claims to protect 
the beneficiaries of various trust funds, the majority today will 
precipitate default and orchestrate its own chorus of financial crisis.
  By handcuffing the Secretary, and reducing the number of tools 
lawfully at his disposal, the Republican charade will be exposed as 
follows: Millions of citizens entitled to various payments would not 
receive what they are owed. This would include: Medicare and Medicaid 
recipients; food stamp recipients; people entitled to Social Security; 
military and civilian employees; and Government suppliers of goods and 
services.

  I am sure that we will hear vigorous debate on both sides this 
morning, and we will explore the Secretary's efforts to keep Congress 
informed of his actions to avoid default. But in closing, and as a 
Member who voted for the coalition budget, I urge my democratic 
colleagues to fully accept the fact we will adopt a balanced budget 
with reduced spending in programs that we cherish. Conversely, I urge 
my Republican colleagues to ease up on the radical and extreme tactics 
that only cause the administration to become more rigid in its 
position.
  We are acting irresponsibly, and blackmailing our own constituents.
  Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Connecticut [Mrs. Kennelly].
  Mrs. KENNELLY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this bill 
for a number of reasons; one, because it is superfluous. If, in fact, 
we do not know already, we should know that under current law the 
Social Security trust fund is protected, it is an entitlement, and when 
we had this debate once before on November 15, the President came out 
and made a very definitive statement that he would not and would not at 
all take funds from the trust fund in this situation.
  But another reason I am against this, Mr. Speaker, is this is 
dangerous-type activity. It is one thing if we are going to disagree 
about how long to take to balance the budget, 7 or 8 years, or we are 
going to say something should be a block grant or it should be an 
entitlement, but we should not be fooling around with the debt ceiling. 
It is irresponsible. The country has never defaulted and should, in 
fact, never default, and what Mr. Rubin has done under law and what he 
is being asked now not to do is something that one of our former 
Treasurers, a good Treasurer who had great financial expertise as well 
as understanding of the body politic, Mr. Baker who asked for this 
legislation so, in fact, that there was an impasse over the debt 
ceiling, he would have legislation to not go into default, and this is 
exactly what Mr. Rubin did a few weeks ago. Now, if we have this 
legislation pass and Mr. Rubin had to pay the $61 billion that has been 
drawn down from these trust funds, it would, in fact, automatically put 
us in default, and this is something we should not be taking in this 
fashion on this floor today.
  As the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Gibbons] said, this bill will 
probably not become law. There are saner minds in the Senate, and they 
will not act upon this. But what I worry about is that there is more 
and more people in this body on this side of the House that are 
willing, responsible people, to put forth this kind of legislation 
thinking that somebody else will save them, that it will not go to the 
Senate, the President will veto it. We should not be having the world 
financial markets look at us and see us having a bill of this type on 
the floor, fooling around literally with default. Default is 
unacceptable, it should not happen, this bill should not pass, and we 
should go back to the business of government. People want Government to 
do their business. This is not what we should be doing.
  Mr. SHAW. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from Michigan [Mr. Smith], who chairs the Task Force on the 
Debt Limit.

                              {time}  1215

  Mr. SMITH of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I am taking the liberty to come 
to this microphone, if the gentlewoman from Connecticut would dialog 
with me. I am taking the liberty to come to this side of the aisle, 
because I would hope after the current, if you call it, fiasco is done 
with, and we come to a time period after we have settled this dispute 
and hopefully come to a conclusion on balancing the budget, how much 
control do we want to retain, regain for Congress? How much control 
over the authority given in title I of the Constitution, that says we 
have control over spending and borrowing, do we want to have a majority 
in Congress be able to control?
  To react to a statement that the gentlewoman from Connecticut made, 
there is nothing in law that protects the Social Security trust fund 
from the same kind of disinvestment that was enacted on the civil 
service retirement trust fund on November 15. There are no changes in 
law between when disinvestment occurred in 1986, when a different 
administration disinvested the Social Security trust fund in 1986 and 
used that as flexibility to play with the debt ceiling, than occurs 
today. So we have a commitment by the Secretary that he does not intend 
to go into the Social Security trust fund for disinvestment. I will 
take him at his word, but eventually we must control the ability to not 
only control spending but to control how large this debt is going to 
be.
  Mr. Speaker, the debt of this country was increased $61 billion in 
one afternoon, if you compare that $61 billion to the fact that it took 
this country the first 160 years of its existence to mount this kind of 
a $60 billion debt, and then we expanded the debt load of this country 
another $60 billion.
  There is no default that is going to occur under this bill. There are 
provisions in the rule that specifically relate that what actions have 
taken place so far will not be under the subject of this law.
  Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 30 seconds to the gentlewoman from 
Connecticut.
  Mrs. KENNELLY. Mr. Speaker, I would say to the gentleman from 
Michigan [Mr. Smith], I have read his ``Dear Colleagues'' and they are 
very well thought out. A, we should have if you want, new legislation, 
and not be doing this in this way at this time. Also, as the gentleman 
knows and has 

[[Page H14890]]
said in your ``Dear Colleagues'', the Secretary of the Treasury is not 
authorized and therefore cannot do this. The gentleman knows that.
  The other thing, your last statement, what you said up to the last 
point was true, but what is not true is this legislation does in fact, 
if carried out, making the Treasury pay back the $61 billion, would 
result in $61 billion above the debt limit and would result in default.
  Mr. SMITH of Michigan. If the gentlewoman would yield, she should 
just read the rule, please.
  Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman 
from Maryland [Mr. Hoyer].
  Mr. HOYER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding time to 
me.
  Mr. Speaker, it is with a certain degree of sadness that I rise and 
associate myself with the remarks of the gentleman from Michigan [Mr. 
Levin], who spoke. There are two ways, frankly, that the government can 
be shut down, which seems to be the objective, frankly, of the 
Republican leadership in this House. One, of course, is not to pass 
appropriation bills or a continuing resolution in lieu of appropriation 
bills. That was done some days ago, and we shut down for the longest 
time in history, for four days. It cost the American taxpayer between 
$650 million and $700 million.
  The other way of shutting down the government, of course, is not to 
extend the debt limit. Every American ought to understand that the 
reason that we need to extend the debt limit is because we have already 
voted in previous Congresses, and indeed in this Congress, to spend 
money, more than we had coming in. Therefore, it is necessary to be 
responsible to borrow that money, but by law there is a limit. We 
periodically raise that limit. It really is, in my opinion, a non-
issue, because the issue, really, is on spending. That is the debate we 
are having on the budget, the reconciliation bill.
  I want to say, Mr. Speaker, on the specific assertion of some who 
rise and say we want to protect Federal employees on the disinvestment 
of the retirement funds, I do not pretend to be the only or the 
necessarily best advocate of Federal employees, but I frankly do not 
think there is anybody on this floor on either side of the aisle that 
cares more about Federal employees or fights for their interests more 
than I do. They are not at risk. The law protects them.
  I have a letter, a notice from Alice Rivlin in response to my 
request, and she says, ``Congress' failure to send the President 
acceptable legislation to raise the Federal debt limit, which is one 
way to shut down the government, has forced Treasury Secretary Rubin to 
take extraordinary steps to avoid government default.'' I do not think 
anybody in this Congress intends default. She goes on to say, ``This 
action will in no away affect the benefits to which current and future 
retirees are entitled. The law requires currently that the Treasury 
Department automatically reimburse the trust funds for the full amount 
disinvested plus interest.''
  Let us stop playing games. The American public does not appreciate 
it. We are all going to protect Social Security. This administration is 
committed to that. Social Security is not at risk. We all know that. 
Let us be responsible. Let us lift the debt limit. Let us pass a CR and 
get on with the business of America.
  Mr. SHAW. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from Florida [Mr. Stearns].
  Mr. STEARNS. Mr. Speaker, I thank my good friend, the gentleman from 
Florida, for yielding time to me.
   Mr. Speaker, until the cows go home, that is how long the President 
and Secretary Rubin can run this place under our present situation, 
where they could use the term ``disinvest'' to borrow from these trust 
funds, not only Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, Federal 
employees' thrift savings account, and others. So we do not want to do 
that. That is why we are passing this legislation.
  Another expert knowledgeable with this system, Louis Crandall of 
Wrightson & Company has said, ``The creative accounting to which the 
President and Secretary Rubin could resort could get them through for a 
couple of years.''
  That is why this legislation is being put before us today. We need to 
address this problem directly with a balanced budget, my colleagues 
have mentioned that, rather than hiding further debt by borrowing from 
the seniors and other U.S. citizens who have paid their hard-earned 
dollars into these trust funds.
  We were not sent here to come up with creative accounting techniques, 
we were sent here to make the decisions that are best for the American 
people. A question I might pose for the people on that side of the 
aisle, as well as my side of the aisle: When Secretary Rubin 
disinvests, does that not add to the debt ceiling, which in a sense 
violates the law that we have for the debt ceiling? I think that is a 
question we should ask and have that side of the aisle explain to us if 
he disinvests, using the pension funds from the Federal employees, is 
he not in a sense putting up as collateral their pension funds and 
thereby borrowing against it, increasing the debt ceiling, even though 
Congress has not legislated to do that? I pose that question 
rhetorically.
   Mr. Speaker, I urge the adoption of this bill. Then we will not have 
to listen to this side when we have a Republican President complain, 
and then this side will not have to complain when we have a Democrat 
President.
  Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from New 
York, [Mr. Schumer].
  Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. Speaker, I have been in this Chamber about 15 years. 
I have rarely seen a bill that is more bush league. I think what this 
bill shows is that the other side is just not ready for prime time. The 
bottom line is a simple one. If you simply wanted to protect Social 
Security, you would limit the bill to Social Security. You do not. We 
all know that the Social Security trust fund will not be touched. We 
have had assurances to that effect, and no law specifically allows it 
to be touched.
  What we are doing here is trying to play chicken in a very childish, 
school yard-like way. They say, ``let us tie Secretary Rubin's hands. 
Let us make default a little more likely. Then maybe, maybe, maybe this 
side will blink.'' You have been through it once before. We are not 
blinking, not to a bully-like tactic like this.
  I have found it just utterly amazing how irresponsible and how 
hypocritical this proposal is in light of the fact that the Speaker, 
the gentleman from Georgia [Mr. Gingrich], used to warn last week in 
solemn tones that the stock markets will crash if we do not pass this 
budget; but on the other hand, he allows to the floor a proposal like 
this which makes default more likely. What kind of shenanigans are 
they? One week, we must not default, default is a danger. This week, 
pass legislation that makes default more likely.
  I think we are not getting straight answers. We are getting games. We 
are getting silliness. I would say that the attempts by my friend, the 
gentleman from Florida, to blame Secretary Rubin, blaming Secretary 
Rubin is like putting the hostage on trial for the crimes of the 
kidnappers. This whole thing is a puerile, childish attitude. It is 
sort of a group of people banging their fists on the table and saying, 
``Do it my way or I am going to threaten you.'' We will not be 
threatened. Let us get on with the business of this country and solve 
the budget resolution.
  Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Virginia [Mr. Moran].
  Mr. MORAN. Mr. Speaker, this bill is fraught with problems that we 
would only recognize if it were to be enacted. I trust it will never be 
enacted.
  Let me explain some of the specific problems. There are two sections. 
One does seem moot because the White House and the Congress both agree 
we ought not to be using Social Security trust funds. It really is not 
an issue, except that if we do go into default, I do not see how we can 
pay benefits to Social Security retirees or to Federal Government 
retirees.
  That goes to the fact that there is no way to give preferential 
status to Government debt instruments to be able to determine whether 
some relate to the Social Security trust fund, some relate to the 
Federal Government, Federal retirees trust fund, and some are general 
Government debt obligations. There is no system to do that, so to obey 
the law we would have to reject all Federal debt instruments as they 
become due. 

[[Page H14891]]

  The other section, the section that deals with the Federal retirement 
trust funds, is the biggest problem. I think it is important to bear in 
mind the context of this. This is legislation that was requested by the 
Reagan administration. It was signed into law by President Reagan 
because it was a prudent financial management instrument to ensure that 
we do not create chaos in the domestic and international financial 
markets. It is a way to manage the debt at a time of political crisis.
  We have a time of political crisis, even though the other side has in 
fact voted twice now to increase the debt ceiling. That is not at 
issue, that we need to increase the debt ceiling. The problem is that 
they want it attached to a 7-year balanced budget and other changes in 
other laws that are really not directly related to the debt ceiling.
  Mr. Speaker, if we were to pass this, we would immediately go into 
default. This $54 billion in Treasury bills that mature today, we would 
not be able to make good on those bills if this were law today. There 
is $58 billion on December 21 and $36 billion on the 28th of December. 
We cannot pass this. It would be the most irresponsible thing we could 
do to the people of this country, particularly those that own Treasury 
bills, Treasury notes, and Treasury bonds.
  Mr. SHAW. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  For the previous speaker, the gentleman from Virginia [Mr. Moran], I 
would point to the section of the bill starting on page 2 entitled 
``Protection of Benefits and Expenditures for Administrative 
Expenses,'' where it specifically provides that these expenditures will 
be taken care of and can be paid for: The Federal Old-Age and Survivors 
Insurance Trust Fund, the Federal Disability Insurance Trust Fund, the 
Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund, the Government Securities 
Investment Fund, the Department of Defense Military Retirement Fund, 
the Unemployment Trust Fund, each of the railroad retirement funds and 
accounts, the Department of Defense Education Benefit Fund, the Post-
Vietnam Era Veterans Education Fund, and the Black Lung Disability 
Trust Fund.

                              {time}  1230

  Mr. SHAW. Mr. Speaker, I would, for the previous speaker from 
Virginia, [Mr. Moran] point out the section of the bill starting on 
page 2.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from California [Mr. 
Dreier].
  (Mr. DREIER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his 
remarks.)
  Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from Fort Lauderdale, FL 
[Mr. Shaw], for yielding me this time.
  Mr. Speaker, the Congress shall have the power to borrow money on the 
credit of the United States. Those 16 words are article I, section 8, 
of the U.S. Constitution. So often around here we debate the 
interpretation of different provisions within the Constitution. Nothing 
could be clearer than that.
  The congressionally established debt ceiling is at $4.9 trillion. 
Approximately a quarter of it is held in the form of nonmarketable 
government securities in Federal trust funds. The debt in these trust 
funds has always been counted under the statutory debt limit.
  Now, Congress has given the Secretary of the Treasury authority to 
temporarily turn nonmarketable securities and the two Civil Service 
retirement funds into Federal IOU's during a short-term--and I 
underscore short-term--debt limit impasse. The borrowing authority 
formerly occupied by those securities can then be used to sell 
marketable securities.
  Now, Secretary Rubin used this authority in mid-November to 
effectively raise the Federal debt limit by, as we all know, $61 
billion. Now, the Secretary of the Treasury does not, does not have 
unlimited authority to tap trust funds. Past Treasury Secretaries have 
consistently held that this type of investment can be done only to the 
extent necessary to pay the benefits owed by those trust funds during 
the period when there is a debt limit impasse.
  Secretary Rubin has already pushed the envelope by declaring an 
impasse of 1 year to generate $61 billion. That will provide borrowing 
authority through mid-February. The administration must come to a debt 
limit agreement with the Congress by then.
  To go beyond mid-February, Mr. Speaker, the administration would have 
to actively divest trust funds beyond the level needed to pay benefits. 
There is no precedent, absolutely no precedent, for active divestment, 
and it is almost certainly illegal.
  This action would essentially repeal the debt limit law, opening up 
$1.1 trillion of new borrowing without congressional authority, clearly 
violating article I, section 8. Should the administration be willing to 
take this type of legally questionable action, we in the Congress have 
the responsibility to respond.
  This is a very balanced, fair measure that we have; I hope we can 
proceed with it. While the Treasury Secretary should have the 
flexibility needed to avoid a Federal default, pay interest to Federal 
bondholders, and pay benefits to retirees during a short-term debt 
ceiling impasse, he does not have the authority to nullify the power of 
Congress to control the borrowing of money and set the Federal debt 
limit.
  While we hope that this is not the intent of the administration, if 
it is, Congress will respond accordingly, and that is why we are here.
  Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes and 20 seconds to the 
gentleman from Texas [Mr. Bentsen].
  Mr. BENTSEN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this 
time.
  Mr. Speaker, I am going to come over and speak on this side of the 
aisle, because this is the side of the aisle, the party, the so-called 
party of sound money, the so-called party of the gold standard, of 
tight credit, the so-called party of Wall Street; and yet the 
legislation that this party has brought to the floor is totally 
irresponsible and totally out of line with where this party has been. 
It displays either willful political gamesmanship or willful ignorance 
on the part of its proponents. This bill will cause a default, a 
default that the markets will never forget.
  Yesterday we had the general counsel of the Federal National Mortgage 
Association testifying on this issue, and the question was asked, if 
you had a default on a mortgage, would you buy that mortgage? The 
answer, no, because they would remember that default. If we default on 
Treasuries, people will stop buying Treasuries and interest rates will 
go up, and everybody will pay for it.
  The Secretary of the Treasury testified yesterday, if this bill goes 
into effect and the debt ceiling is not raised, he will not be able to 
raise the funds to pay Social Security benefits. So the fact is that if 
we pass this bill, we will go into default and Social Security will not 
be protected; it will go into default too, as will Medicare, as will 
the Federal pensions, as will the military pensions. All of that will 
be in default; people will not get their checks for systems that they 
paid into.
  This bill is inconsistent with the actions taken by a previous 
Republican Secretary of the Treasury, Jim Baker, and again, his general 
counsel testified to that fact yesterday. However, today, we are trying 
to evade the real issue at hand. Because my colleagues do not have the 
votes to pass their budget, they are going to try and throw the country 
into default.
  The Speaker said not long ago that it would be OK if we went for a 
while in default. There would not be an impact, and that is just simply 
not the case. It would be a detrimental effect to homeowners, to 
mortgage owners.
  Mr. Speaker, I am new to this House like the gentleman from Michigan 
[Mr. Smith] is new to this House. When we first came here, one of the 
most important issues we had to deal with was the potential default of 
the Government of Mexico on Mexican treasury bonds. There are a number 
of Members in this House on both sides of the aisle who felt that the 
Mexican Government had put themselves in that position and we should 
not have anything to do with it.
  Well, here we are today and we are about to do the same thing to the 
United States, and that is wrong. Shame on the party of Wall Street. 
Shame on the party of sound money.
  Mr. SHAW. Mr. Speaker, I yield 15 seconds to the gentleman from 
Michigan [Mr. Smith]. 

[[Page H14892]]

  Mr. SMITH of Michigan. Mr. Speaker, I think it would behoove us to 
hopefully one of these days have more camaraderie in trying to reach 
solutions.
  Mr. Speaker, I wish the gentleman would examine whatever research he 
might have undertaken to quote the Speaker as saying a default is okay 
for any period of time. That is not true.
  Mr. SHAW. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Florida [Mr. Mica].
  Mr. MICA. Mr. Speaker and my colleagues, the American people should 
know how bad our national indebtedness situation has grown. To satisfy 
the insatiable appetite for expanding our $5 trillion debt, this 
administration is now robbing Federal retirement trust funds. Oh, yes, 
we promise to pay back grandma and grandpa, but is it not sad in fact 
that we have sunk to a new low, stealing from our senior citizens' 
rainy day account?
  As chairman of the House Subcommittee on Civil Service, let me tell 
you the irresponsible mess the new majority inherited. Thirty-five of 
our Federal pension funds have $1 trillion; it amounts to trillions of 
dollars in unfunded liabilities. In the private sector you would be 
arrested for running pension funds in this fashion.
  The Federal Employees' Retirement trust fund that I oversee, this is 
just one of them, has an unfunded liability of $540 billion. Another 
$350 billion has already been raided from the current account. Now, 
Secretary Rubin tells us, he can cook the books and feed the debt until 
the end of January.
  Today we must act responsibly. Today we must act to protect our 
dwindling retirement funds, and today we must begin to get our Nation's 
finances and these retirement accounts in order.
  Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Massachusetts [Mr. Neal], with great pleasure.
  Mr. NEAL of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, let us call this what it 
really is. This is an effort to precipitate a crisis in this 
institution. This is an effort to coerce the President of the United 
States and the Secretary of the Treasury into doing something that is 
purely and simply bad public policy.
  What do Bill Simon, William Miller, Paul Volkmer and Alan Greenspan 
all have in common? They have suggested that this is bad public policy. 
They are unified on that principle. The gentleman from Michigan [Mr. 
Smith], however, is correct on one thing: What about some camaraderie 
in this House of Representatives?
  I recall when Nick Brady was the Secretary of the Treasury and the 
S&L crisis was around us. This kind of legislation was not proposed by 
an overwhelmingly Democratic majority in this institution. We did not 
attempt to tie the hands of the Secretary. We worked together in a 
bipartisan manner to shape a reasonable solution to the S&L issue.
  What is the answer today? Let us extort from the Secretary of the 
Treasury what we have not been able to do with numbers in this 
institution. This is fundamentally flawed public policy.
  Mr. Speaker, let me move on to one other quick issue which is the 
steady erosion of congressional authority that this represents to 
manage the budget. That is the same group that believes we ought to do 
it through the line-item veto; we ought to turn that power over to the 
Executive. However, now, in this instance, we do not like short-term 
policy, so let us, under the circumstances, attempt to tie the hands of 
the Secretary of the Treasury, from Alexander Hamilton to Douglas 
Dillon, to Brady, to Bentsen and to Rubin.
  This country has been well-served by the quality of people who have 
held that job. Secretary Rubin is on the right track in attempting to 
honor our obligations. That is the way that this country should be run, 
and we should not be moving down this road to poor public policy to 
solve a short-term political problem.
  Mr. SHAW. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from Florida [Mr. Foley].
  Mr. FOLEY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me this 
time.
  Mr. Speaker, this is about public responsibility. This is about 
Congress' responsibility to manage our debt. This card, my voting card 
that I insert in the machine as other Members do, runs up the national 
debt each time we do it. It borrows from our children, it borrows from 
our trust funds in order to make this government work, and we have done 
it year-in and year-out, excessively.
  Our job as elected Members of Congress serving in this House is to 
bring fiscal sanity to this Nation, fiscal sanity to the operations of 
this government, much like every homeowner does, much like every 
businessperson does. Balancing a checkbook is something we all learn at 
a very early age. Maintaining adequate balances in our accounts is 
something we learn at a very early age. Only when you come to Congress 
do you forget that lesson and suggest it is okay to insert this card 
and plunge this Nation deeper and deeper into debt. Mr. Speaker, $5 
trillion deep we are now.
  H.R. 2621 provides a mechanism to bring us to reality, to focus on 
our Nation's problems, to bring fiscal restraint to this House, to 
protect the trust funds, and let me emphasize that word: Trust funds. 
In God we trust. Trust funds. What we are establishing is a mechanism 
to once again restore trust to the people's money.
  Every Member of Congress has to realize that this card and the 
dollars we spend with this card are not our funds. We are entrusted to 
protect the funds of the American public.
  So I disagree with my colleagues and I urge passage and adoption.
  Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Maryland [Mr. Cardin].
  Mr. CARDIN. Mr. Speaker, let me thank my friend from Florida, Mr. 
Gibbons, for yielding me this time.
  Mr. Speaker, I am sure that the viewers who are listening and the 
people in the gallery that are listening are somewhat confused about 
what this is all about. You would believe it is about protecting Social 
Security trust funds if you listen to what the Republicans are saying.
  Mr. Speaker, that is not what this is about. This is about putting 
additional leverage on the President in budget negotiations; it is 
about causing the default on our national debt. They claim it is not 
about causing default on our national debt, even though that is what 
this bill in fact does.

                              {time}  1245

  If you are concerned about protecting the Social Security trust fund, 
in the motion to recommit we will have something to speak about that. 
But I daresay that my Republican friends will vote against the motion 
to recommit because this is not about protecting the Social Security 
trust fund. You do not protect the Social Security trust fund or any 
other trust fund by putting the national debt default at risk. That is 
not how you protect the payments to our Social Security beneficiaries. 
During fiscal chaos, those who rely on the trust funds are at more 
risk, not less at risk. That is when we tend to do things that we later 
regret.
  So this is about trying to put additional leverage on the President 
and on the Congress on dealing with the deficit, and this should not be 
the vehicle to do it. You do not put the debt of the Nation at risk and 
default, particularly when this debt limit has already been approved by 
the Republican leadership and the Members by previous votes of this 
House. You have already agreed on this debt limit. You have already 
spent this money. Now you have the audacity to come forward to say that 
we should not pay the bills that we have already incurred under the 
bills you have already brought forward and the debt limit you have 
already approved.
  Let us act responsibly, let us defeat this bill. That is the best way 
we can protect the trust funds of this Nation.
  Mr. SHAW. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from New Jersey [Mr. Saxton].
  Mr. SAXTON. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding me the 
time.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of the Committee on Ways and 
Means' legislation to protect the integrity of the trust funds and the 
budget process.
  I think it is very unfortunate that the administration's handling of 
the debt limit issue seems to be based more on partisan politics than 
on anything else. As two JEC reports released last month pointed out, 
in the period leading to the veto, the administration sought to create 
the false impression that a veto of the debt limit would cause a 
default. That is very unfortunate. 

[[Page H14893]]

  The first JEC report I released pointed out that the President had 
already had a deferral process and rescission powers under the 
Impoundment Act already in law. As reported by the Associated Press, on 
the other hand, while the administration was hyping an alleged cash 
flow crisis, it was sending several hundred Federal workers to Disney 
World for a series of lavish conferences. These were issues that could 
have been dealt with in many other ways.
  The second JEC paper I released last month points out the whole 
default scare was a ruse concocted by the administration for partisan 
political purposes. The whole controversy was a carefully designed PR 
event.
  One of the more disturbing aspects of this episode was the fact that 
the public warnings of default made by a variety of administration 
officials were based on false information. The administration knew 
there would be no default and that a variety of means were available to 
avoid it.
  Mr. Speaker, I would just conclude by saying that the whole episode 
only reinforces public doubts about the integrity of Government 
officials.
  Mr. Speaker, the two JEC reports an article that I have made 
reference to are as follows:

     [From the Joint Economic Committee Staff Report, Nov. 7, 1995]

            The Clinton Administration's Debt Limit Charade

       In recent weeks Clinton Administration officials have 
     offered a list of the disasters that would supposedly occur 
     under the Republicans strategy on the debt limit. Treasury 
     Secretary Rubin, White House chief of staff Panetta, and 
     President Clinton himself have tried to portray the 
     Republican position as irresponsible and ``extreme,'' as if a 
     rapidly growing national debt about to exceed $4.9 trillion 
     were responsible and moderate. Panetta has claimed the 
     Republican position would ``let the country go to hell and 
     basically default.'' However, a review of the record suggests 
     that the increasingly strident Administration rhetoric is a 
     distraction from real budget and debt management issues.
       The fundamental issue is that the Administration opposes 
     the Congressional policy to seriously curtail federal 
     spending and debt growth, and would accept such a policy only 
     under great pressure. According to CBO, the official budget 
     submission of President Clinton did not greatly differ from 
     the current services baseline, which would have permitted 
     budget deficits to climb to $349 billion by 2002, with $2 
     trillion added to the national debt. Only after the 
     Congressional budget process produced resolutions trimming 
     over $1 trillion of federal spending and debt growth, did the 
     President finally respond.
       Guided by a new political consultant, President Clinton 
     made a belated statement outlining a sketchy plan purporting 
     to balance the budget over 10 years, but would in fact leave 
     $200 billion deficits. This plan is difficult to view as a 
     serious proposal, but appears to be an effort to deflect 
     attention away from the official budget submission.
       The Administration has been equally ineffective in 
     addressing the approaching debt limit. This paper 
     demonstrates that despite the Administration's purported 
     concerns about the gravity of the Treasury's cash flow 
     situation, available steps to delay reaching the debt limit 
     and ease any interim problems have not been taken.


 administration failure to use deferral and rescission to counter cash 
                                 crunch

       Under the Impoundment Control Act, as amended, Presidential 
     deferrals are permitted ``to provide for contingencies'' or 
     ``to achieve savings made possible by or through changes in 
     requirements or greater efficiency of operations,'' for 
     administrative as opposed to policy reasons. Dealing with 
     this severe cash flow problem would appear to be one of the 
     ``contingencies'' covered under these provisions. Deferral 
     could be used for several distinct purposes: conservation of 
     resources to delay reaching the debt limit; advance 
     preparation of a plan to conserve cash becoming effective 
     upon reaching the debt limit; and instrument of cash 
     management for use after the debt limit was reached.
       The Impoundment Control Act also provides for rescission, a 
     procedure under which appropriated spending can be restrained 
     by the President pending Congressional action. Under a 
     Presidential rescission request, the President can freeze 
     additional discretionary spending for 45 days without 
     Congressional action; after this period expires Congress must 
     approve the rescission or the funds are released. While the 
     requirement for Congressional approval is somewhat 
     restrictive in the longer run, rescission would be a way of 
     conserving funds for at least 45 days. As in the case of 
     deferral, rescission can be viewed as a tool to delay or 
     manage cash flow problems resulting from reaching the debt 
     limit.
       Instead, the Administration has raised the specter of a 
     financial crisis and blamed it on Congress, even though such 
     an event would be triggered by a Presidential veto. The 
     Administration's actions to date confirm its opposition to a 
     policy of fiscal restraint, and it has failed to take the 
     actions needed to manage possible consequences of a budget 
     disagreement by deferring nonessential federal spending.
       The Administration description of the consequences of 
     reaching the debt limit is also distorted. The Administration 
     has attempted to present the $4.9 trillion debt limit as a 
     brick wall which the Federal Government will run into all at 
     once, resulting in catastrophic consequences that must be 
     averted at all costs. However, these Administration arguments 
     could be taken more seriously in the context of a real effort 
     to manage the debt situation. This cannot be done with press 
     releases, but with concrete actions taken to address the cash 
     flow position of the Treasury.
       The real nature of the situation can be gauged by the 
     extent to which the Administration has acted or planned to 
     conserve cash by deferring or rescinding nonessential federal 
     spending--but there has been no meaningful action to do so. A 
     serious effort to defer some program spending until later in 
     the fiscal year, or to rescind this spending, would at least 
     cushion any cash flow problem, and if timed appropriately, 
     might avoid it.
       Clearly, the Administration's failure to conserve cash in 
     the face of a major budget disagreement between two branches 
     of government would not be an effective way to reduce cash 
     flow problems. By failing to act the Clinton Administration 
     seems to have deliberately attempted to maximize any problems 
     that could result from a cash flow squeeze.
       A sufficient portion of discretionary federal spending 
     could be deferred or rescinded until later in fiscal 1996 to 
     delay and alleviate contingencies arising from the impending 
     debt limit. The later the Administration acts to defer or 
     rescind spending, the more difficult it will be to manage the 
     situation in the event of an impasse. However, it is obvious 
     from the complete lack of action to date that the 
     Administration is not as interested in managing the finances 
     of the government as in using them for partisan political 
     advantage. It is true that the size of the deferrals or 
     rescissions would be large and administratively inconvenient, 
     but it is equally true that these measures could mean that 
     the debt limit would not be reached as soon, and that any 
     remaining cash flow problems would be less serious than they 
     would otherwise be.
       The lack of any action or plans to slow federal spending to 
     defer and alleviate a situation the Administration has sought 
     to portray as a crisis raises questions about the credibility 
     of the Administration's statements on the subject. Even if a 
     late deferral or rescission could not entirely resolve a cash 
     flow shortfall, it would at the very least make it less 
     severe, and facilitate its successful resolution by other 
     means. In addition, temporary disinvestment of one of the 
     non-social security trust funds would provide yet another 
     means of covering current obligations without dire 
     consequences. The notion that reaching the debt limit means 
     there is no alternative to immediate legal default is simply 
     false, and can be viewed as an attempt to spread confusion 
     and fear in support of the Administration's bargaining 
     position in favor of higher deficit spending.
       A review of the cash flow position of the Treasury on a 
     monthly basis shows that November is typically a large 
     deficit month. However, December is often nearly in balance, 
     while January is actually a surplus month. Thus strong and 
     decisive actions by President Clinton to defer or rescind 
     spending could probably supply the needed funds to maintain 
     essential federal programs for some time, and would make the 
     situation much more manageable after the debt limit were 
     reached. A Presidential deferral for administrative 
     contingencies does not require Congressional action.
       In summary, while deferral or recession can be viewed as a 
     means to delay and minimize the possible effects of reaching 
     the debt limit, it is also appropriate to view deferral and 
     rescission as potential means of addressing cash flow issues 
     after the debt limit is actually reached. Another option 
     would be adoption of legislation authorizing the 
     Administration to set priorities for managing the cash flow 
     of the Treasury, as in H.R. 2098.


         Debt Limit Clash Would Be Caused by Presidential Veto

       Administration officials have engaged in a series of noisy 
     public relations events designed to create the impression 
     that a veto of the debt limit would be the fault of Congress, 
     and that the economic effects of this veto would be 
     catastrophic. The Administration has sought to portray its 
     role as little more than an innocent bystander. It is true, 
     of course, that continued deficit spending has created a 
     situation in which the $4.9 trillion statutory debt limit is 
     about to be reached. However, it is not true that a 
     Presidential veto would be the fault of Congress. At issue is 
     a disagreement in policy which may result in a Presidential 
     veto; the responsibility for a veto and its consequences must 
     be borne by the executive branch.
       The Administration has made clear its preference for higher 
     deficit spending and debt accumulation, along with a larger 
     increase in the debt limit. This underlines the fact that 
     what is at issue is a fundamental change in policy away from 
     deficit spending and rapid increases in the national debt.


                               Conclusion

       While loudly invoking the coming disaster, the Clinton 
     Administration has undertaken 

[[Page H14894]]
     no known steps to use the means completely under its own control to 
     alleviate the situation. Instead of deferring or rescinding 
     funds to conserve cash in the face of what it portrays as a 
     crisis, the spending spigots have remained wide open for many 
     weeks. If the situation is as dire as portrayed by the 
     Administration, why has it completely failed to act? 
     Moreover, if it later mismanages the debt situation in such a 
     way as to create real problems, the major share of resulting 
     problems will be the Administration's failure to address the 
     cash flow crunch when it could have done so. After months of 
     complaints, the Administration cannot pretend to be surprised 
     if a fiscal impasse does indeed occur.
                                               Christopher Frenze,
     Chief Economist to the Vice Chairman.
                                                                    ____


     [From the Joint Economic Committee Policy Analysis, Nov. 1995]

        The Clinton Administration's Debt Limit Charade--Part II

       After weeks of histrionic Administration warnings about how 
     failure to raise the debt limit would bring default and 
     catastrophic economic consequences. President Clinton chose 
     to veto the temporary debt limit increase. Failure to raise 
     the debt limit would not trigger default because the 
     Administration had already identified the available means of 
     managing the situation, despite its repeated public warnings 
     to the contrary. The Clinton Administration position was thus 
     revealed as a political attempt to mislead Congress and the 
     public based on financial assumptions it knew to be false.
       As veteran political correspondent Donald Lambro observed 
     five days before the debt limit was reached, a House JEC 
     staff report had already pointed out that the ``White House 
     warnings of a default are a `charade.' It concluded the 
     president has plenty of authority to defer or slow down 
     spending, or use cash assets such as pension fund reserves to 
     meet debt payments.'' This report, the Clinton 
     Administration's Debt Limit Charade, went on to point out 
     that the Administration had fostered the situation by failing 
     to defer or rescind unnecessary discretionary spending to 
     alleviate the situation. The report also emphasized that the 
     Administration's default ruse was a distraction from the 
     central issue: Republican insistence on a balanced budget, as 
     opposed to the Clinton Administration's preference for higher 
     deficit spending and debt accumulation.
       Early in November it became evident that the White House's 
     public posture was stiffening as it prepared in advance for 
     the President's veto of the debt limit increase. This even 
     more aggressive attempt to heighten the crisis atmosphere was 
     not a preparation for default, as it may have appeared to 
     some at the time, but reflected the determination of 
     Administration officials to maximize partisan political 
     advantage from the fallout and confusion of the coming veto.
       The events of the last few days have made it clear that the 
     Clinton Administration had prepared in advance to veto the 
     debt limit and Continuing Resolution (CR) as the first media 
     event of the 1996 election campaign. As one Clinton 
     Administration official stated on the front page of the New 
     York Times, `` `That's his re-election campaign,' an aide 
     said. `He's prepared to fight all winter on that line.' '' 
     This statement exposes the Clinton Administration strategy to 
     foster and sharpen the confrontation over the veto of the 
     debt limit and CR legislation to kick-off the President's re-
     election effort, and keep its opponents off balance. 
     Initially the Administration had the upper hand because only 
     it knew the exact timing and content of actions to be taken 
     to evade the debt limit--after distracting public opinion for 
     months with disinformation about default. Once the focus 
     returned to the central issue of deficit spending, the 
     Administration's position started to erode.


   secretary rubin's raid on retirement funds triggers armey/saxton 
                                request

       On November 15, 1995, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin 
     announced his plan to disinvest the ``G'' fund of the federal 
     employee thrift plan, and the civil service retirement plan, 
     in order to create room under the debt ceiling for issuance 
     of new debt. This circumvention of the debt limit essentially 
     evades a constraint rooted in Article I of the Constitution 
     which states: ``The Congress shall have Power . . . To borrow 
     Money on the credit of the United States.'' The Secretary's 
     actions permitted the issuance of over $60 billion of 
     additional debt, enough to finance monthly federal deficits 
     through January. Since January is ordinarily a month in which 
     the cash flow position of the treasury is in surplus, it may 
     be February, a large deficit month, before any additional 
     action would be necessary. In any event, while the propriety 
     and even legality of this disinvestment activity is doubtful, 
     the amount of available funds are sufficient to finance 
     monthly deficits for an extended period of time.
       In response, on November 17, House Majority Leader Dick 
     Armey and JEC Vice-Chairman Jim Saxton sent Secretary Rubin a 
     letter requesting information regarding when Treasury staff 
     first examined the financing options presented by the 
     retirement funds. Unfortunately, the inflammatory public 
     statements about default by Secretary Rubin, White House 
     Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, and other Clinton Administration 
     figures had created the impression that there was a 
     deliberate attempt to disrupt the financial markets to 
     undermine Administration opponents. The documents requested 
     of Rubin may help clarify whether there was a contradiction 
     between what Clinton officials were publicly saying to 
     Congress and the public, and what the Administration was 
     privately planning to do.
       The Administration documents received under this request 
     suggest that plans for the disinvestment of the retirement 
     funds have been underway for some time, and were not a last 
     minute decision. In other words, the accessibility of the 
     retirement funds had already been identified and shared with 
     ``appropriate officials'' in the Executive branch well before 
     prominent Administration officials claimed that a veto of the 
     debt limit would lead to default. It is interesting to note 
     that the critical document signed by Secretary Rubin 
     triggering the disinvestment was typed without a date, which 
     was only filled in by hand on the 15th of November.


                           THE CLINTON BUDGET

       The entire controversy over the debt limit arises from the 
     preference of the Clinton Administration for higher deficit 
     spending and debt accumulation. This was made clear in the 
     detailed budget submission made by President Clinton last 
     February. Only after the Congress acted in producing balanced 
     budget plans did Clinton attempt to cover himself by 
     releasing a sketchy outline of what he called a 10 year 
     balanced budget plan, but what in fact would have left $200 
     billion deficits. A review of the official budget submission 
     clearly shows how unimportant high deficit spending is to the 
     Clinton Administration.
       The levels of deficit spending would hardly be affected 
     under the official February Clinton budget submission. The 
     Clinton budget recommended deficits growing to a level of 
     $318 billion by 2002, with $2 trillion added to the national 
     debt over the same period. The official February budget 
     submission is a useful guide to what the Clinton 
     Administration would regard as an appropriate level of 
     deficit spending in the absence of a public relations problem 
     created by Congressional actions to balance the budget. The 
     upward trajectory of deficit spending under President 
     Clinton's recommendation reflects the low priority this 
     Administration has assigned to fiscal responsibility.


                               CONCLUSION

       A review of the events leading up to the recent budget 
     confrontation shows that the Clinton Administration carefully 
     attempted to heighten the atmosphere of a default crisis, 
     while privately laying a plan to evade the debt limit. The 
     confrontation was a charade intended to provide a convenient 
     platform for the President's re-election campaign. Public 
     statements made after the fact by Administration officials 
     only confirm this dismal conclusion.
                                               Christopher Frenze,
     Chief Economist to the Vice-Chairman.
                                                                    ____


                  [From the Economist, Nov. 18, 1995]

                    The Debt Ceiling Humbled Prophet

       Doomsday is a grave event. One does not simply reschedule 
     it, therefore, without a good explanation. On November 15th--
     the supposed day of reckoning for America's debt--Robert 
     Rubin, America's treasury secretary, laboured mightily to 
     provide one. He was being sincere all along, you see, when he 
     talked of a possible calamitous default on the federal 
     government's debts; when he implored Republicans in Congress 
     to raise the $4.9 trillion debt ceiling by that date, or 
     else. It was only by a minor miracle, Mr. Rubin explained, 
     that his Treasury Department had been able, temporarily, to 
     avert disaster. And if Congress did not relent, the dread day 
     would still come, probably sometime in early January.
       Financial markets reacted to the revised timing just as 
     they had to the original one. They ignored it. Most bond 
     traders know what Mr. Rubin and his Republican tormentors 
     have known all along: that the Treasury is sitting on a pile 
     of trust-fund assets that could enable it, if necessary, to 
     hold out right through to the 1996 elections.
       The federal government administers about 160 trust funds, 
     with well over $1 trillion in assets, including the funds for 
     Social Security and Medicare. Most of these are, strictly, 
     off limits. The two exceptions are a pair of retirement funds 
     for federal employees. In normal times, these two funds (like 
     all the others) hold their assets in the form of special 
     government bonds which, though they cannot be sold to the 
     public, count officially as federal debt. By replacing these 
     bonds with unofficial IOUs, the Treasury Department can 
     magically free some room beneath the debt ceiling, allowing 
     it to borrow more money from bond markets.
       On November 15th, Mr. Rubin did exactly that. First, he 
     drained all $21.5 billion from the so-called G-Fund, a 
     voluntary pension plan for federal employees. He then 
     authorized the Treasury to tap the Civil Service Retirement 
     (CSR) fund, for a further $39.8 billion. These two actions 
     freed up enough cash to make a $25 billion interest payment 
     on the government's debts, and to cover its other debt 
     operations for the rest of the year. After that, Mr. Rubin 
     claims, a genuine cash crunch will occur. But since the CSR 
     fund is still sitting on another $300 billion in assets, this 
     seems an empty threat.
       Even if Congress continues to play games with the debt 
     ceiling, a default will occur only if someone successfully 
     challenged Mr. Rubin's authority over the retirement funds. 
     This is unlikely. For a start, few parties have an interest 
     in doing battle. Republicans 

[[Page H14895]]
     would take the blame if they succeeded in triggering a default. And 
     federal employees would be unaffected by the Treasury's 
     shenanigans: by law, all their assets must be replaced, with 
     interest, once the cash crunch has passed.
       In any event, a legal challenge would be on shaky ground. 
     In 1986, after a similar cash panic, Congress explicitly 
     granted authority over the two funds to the treasury 
     secretary to help him pay off debts. And although Mr. Rubin 
     would have to issue a series of bizarre technical rulings to 
     continue tapping the CSR fund, there does not appear to be 
     any legal obstacle to his doing so.
       So Americans need not worry that their government will 
     default, or that it will be prevented from borrowing more. 
     They do, however, face a fate that may be almost as horrible: 
     someday, the mountain of debt might actually have to be 
     repaid.

  Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Hawaii [Mr. Abercrombie].
  Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Speaker, those of our colleagues who are 
observing and those in the gallery must think they are in a fantasy 
world, and I really do think that we should not have been taking this 
time to deal with what obviously is expected by our Republican friends 
over here not to be passed, not to ever see the light of legislative 
day, and yet they got up and said, ``We are here to protect Social 
Security. This is a key vote. Everyone should watch. We should not 
borrow from our children.''
  I have here a copy of the Republican budget. I can tell you exactly 
what is going to happen. When the crocodile tears were shed over here 
about the $5.2 trillion public debt, let me tell you what the 
Republican budget proposes for the year 2002, 7 years from now, $6.8 
trillion in public debt. I will tell you what the debt increase is 
going to be. It is going to be $300 billion this year, and it is going 
to be another $185 billion in 2002.
  So where do you get off today, trying to stand up here and talk about 
what you are taking from your children and protecting the Social 
Security fund? The Republican budget calls for looting the Social 
Security trust fund of $636 billion plus interest over the next 7 years 
in the illusion that they are balancing the budget.
  You intend to take from the Social Security revenues in order to pay 
for your budget over the next 7 years. To come to this floor today and 
say you are trying to protect it where the debt limit is concerned is 
the height of illusion.
  Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
North Carolina [Mr. Watt].
  Mr. WATT of North Carolina. I thank the gentleman for yielding me the 
time.
  Mr. Speaker, I really am glad that this is not a serious vote that we 
are about to take. My colleagues ought to be clear on that. Neither the 
Republicans nor the Democrats, I guess, expect this bill to go 
anywhere.
  It was on the suspension calendar on November 14 or November 15. They 
did not expect it to go anywhere then. The reason for that is that 
everybody knows that this is an absolutely utterly irresponsible piece 
of legislation.
  The Secretary of Treasury yesterday appeared before a hearing, and I 
asked him pointblank, Mr. Secretary, what would have happened if this 
bill had passed on the suspension calendar on November 14 when it was 
originally voted on? Would the U.S. Government be in default today?
  And he told me in no uncertain terms, told all the Republicans and 
the Democrats, if this bill had passed on November 14 when we first 
voted on it, the U.S. Government would be in default today and if it 
passes and becomes law today, the U.S. Government will be in default 
tomorrow.
  So this is not about Social Security, it is not about budget, it is 
not about the President, it is not about our children. This is about 
the responsibility of our Nation for a debt.
  We talk about personal responsibility. This is public responsibility 
we are talking about. We are talking about our children, we want to set 
an example for them to pay their debts. That is what we want to set an 
example for. And this bill simply sets a terrible, terrible example for 
our children.
  Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from 
Mississippi [Mr. Taylor].
  Mr. TAYLOR of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman 
for yielding me the time first of all. It shows what a gentleman he is, 
because he knows I am going to vote against his position. But I also 
told him that I was going to tell the truth about this proposal.
  The truth of the matter is, and I just got off the phone with the 
Congressional Budget Office, that the Republican budget for 1996 will 
borrow over $100 billion from the trust funds to disguise the true 
nature of the debt for the Republican budget for next year, which has 
recently been revised but as recently as just a couple of weeks ago was 
$296 billion.
  That is money we do not have. It is money that has to be borrowed. If 
we were not borrowing enough already, I will tell you how bad it is. In 
the 2 minutes that the gentleman has granted me to address this body, 
our Nation will spend $1 million on interest on the existing national 
debt. So that $296 billion is added on top of that.
  So the so-called Balanced Budget Act, much ballyhooed in the ad in 
USA Today, is all a ruse. I am going to hit the Republican Party with a 
demand letter for the $1 million they promised to the first person who 
could disprove they had a balanced budget, because the Congressional 
Budget Office has just told us that the annual operating deficit first 
is over $180 billion of regular funds, and then they are going to 
disguise another $100 billion by borrowing from the trust fund.
  The bill before us today is good policy. The problem is they have no 
intention of ever putting it into effect. That is a shame. It does not 
bode well for this body. It does not bode well for the people of the 
United States. But I hope that the people of the United States will 
insist that this is the type of behavior that should not continue and 
that stealing from the trust fund, which is what is going on, has to 
cease.
  Mr. SHAW. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished 
gentleman from Washington [Mr. Metcalf].
  Mr. METCALF. Mr. Speaker, there has been a lot of talk about the debt 
limit. Of course, just to set the record straight, this is the 
permanent debt limit, the permanent debt limit that we raise every 2 or 
3 years and have been for almost my whole lifetime.
  They talk about default on the national debt and they worry about 
default. Those are phony scare tactics and everybody knows that. As the 
Secretary of the Treasury was saying those things, he was planning to 
loot the retirement funds which he is now doing every day, looting them 
because he knew that that would not happen.
  I just want Members to think for a minute. What do the people in our 
districts think about this debt limit issue? How would they vote if 
they could vote here today? They still believe that there is some 
sanity left inside the beltway. They are not thrilled about the 
constant raising of the permanent debt limit and I do not think they 
would vote for any further increases.
  I think we have to take a sound, careful look, think deeply on this 
issue and only when certain that we are on the track of a balanced 
budget, then we can carefully raise this debt limit, and if it is not 
for the last time, this Nation will probably not survive. If we can do 
it this time and only with a balanced budget in prospect, because this 
cannot go on forever.
  This is the whole purpose of this tremendous effort to balance the 
budget. It is absolutely essential, and we will do it.
  Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Inglis of South Carolina). The gentleman 
from Florida is recognized for 55 seconds.
  Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, we have just wasted an hour around here. It 
has been kind of joyous on my part because if we had not been wasting 
time on this, we might have been doing something bad around here.
  This is the most irresponsible piece of legislation I have ever seen. 
This is not like a couple of weeks ago when we closed down the Grand 
Canyon and the Washington Monument, laid off the nonessential people, 
whoever they may be.
  This just closes the whole place down, irrespective, the troops in 
Bosnia, the people that are guarding the Federal prisons, the FBI, the 
IRS. A lot of people would like to close 

[[Page H14896]]
them down. The whole place. You cannot honor any checks. No airplanes 
could fly. That is responsibility.
  This has got to be the stupidest thing I have ever seen in all my 
years here on this congressional floor. There is no mileage in closing 
this government down. It is like taking a bunch of broken bottles and 
trying to juggle them. You are going to get cut every time you do it.
  If you do not like what the Secretary of the Treasury is doing, the 
courts are still open. Go sue him. But do not come here to the floor. 
He is not doing anything wrong. If he is doing anything wrong, why do 
we need to change the law? You have got plenty of remedies. Ask the 
gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Hude]. He can tell you.
  Mr. SHAW. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Florida is recognized for 
2\1/2\ minutes.
  Mr. SHAW. Mr. Speaker, we have had a long debate, a period of 1 hour. 
We have had speaker after speaker from the Democrat side to come down 
to the floor and say what my friend from Florida just said about we 
would not be able to pay the troops in Bosnia.
  We are not talking about closing down the taxing authority of this 
country. We are not talking about stopping the other revenue flows that 
are already in place coming into this country. We are simply talking 
about one simple truth that I think we as Members of this body are duty 
bound to protect. That is, the constitutional right which is reserved 
to this body and the Senate for expenditure of funds and for borrowing 
money.

                              {time}  1300

  What we are trying to do here is to close a loophole, a loophole that 
has not been the exclusive domain of the Democrat administration. 
Previous Republican administrations have sought out and used this 
loophole, but this loophole circumvents the rights of this Congress. I 
am not going to sit by idly and watch us default on our debt. That is 
not what this argument is about. This argument is about can the 
administration, do they have a loophole, and believe me. Constitutional 
scholars will debate this question, but this clears it up. They will 
not have the authority to circumvent the Constitution which very 
clearly provides that borrowing money and spending money is a 
prerogative of this Congress.
  So, Mr. Speaker, I would ask all the Members to stand up for the 
rights of the Congress as set forth in the Constitution, close this 
loophole, vote ``yes'' on this most important bill.
  Mrs. ROUKEMA. I must rise in strong opposition to H.R. 2621. I firmly 
believe that existing law already protects the trust funds covered by 
this legislation. In addition, there is clear evidence that this 
legislation would trigger a default on the U.S. Governments current 
debt obligations. Any suggestion that this type of action should be 
used in our ongoing budget negotiations is clearly ludicrous and 
grossly irresponsible.
  In all my experience in Congress, I have no doubt that this body has 
never considered a more important piece of legislation than balancing 
our budget. However, I am deeply concerned about what I consider 
reckless talk, which may portend even more reckless action, on the debt 
ceiling.
  On November 15, the New York Times reported that European Central 
Bankers are increasingly alarmed by the prospect of a U.S. default. 
According to the Times ``IBCA Ltd. of London, the leading European 
Credit-Rating agency, placed the United States on its rating watch 
listing for possible downgrading from its current AAA status.'' This 
action follows on the heels of a decision by standard and Poors to 
issue a highly unusual warning to our Government that the faith of 
investors, and I quote, ``has to some degree, been diminished'' by the 
threats of imminent default.
  In a recent letter to Speaker Gingrich, I reminded him that, as a 
student of the history of this great country, we have not defaulted on 
its financial obligations in 219 years in a manner which we seem to be 
heading toward. I submit that the full faith and credit of the United 
States must not be jeopardized. Default could set off a chain of 
economic events, at home and abroad, that would undermine the safety 
and soundness of the world's financial markets. It would be 
irresponsible and catastrophic for this Government to permit this.
  Therefore, as Republicans dedicated to fiscal responsibility and 
protecting the economic future of our grandchildren, we must take the 
responsible action to increase the debt ceiling and not use the threat 
of default as a lever to force negotiations. What are we, a third world 
country?
  This having been said, I do have some reservations about dipping into 
the civil service retirement and disability fund, Government Securities 
investment fund as well as the Federal Employees Retirement System, 
despite Treasury's assertions that, and I quote, ``the beneficiaries 
of--these funds--will suffer no adverse consequences whatsoever from 
these actions. There are appropriate questions to be asked today as 
well as one regarding the Social Security trust fund.

  Although there is precedent to take these actions, especially during 
the Reagan administration, it is sad that Treasury is being forced to 
invoke such extraordinary remedies to honor the existing obligations of 
the United States Government. And I will tell you that these views are 
being voiced loud and clear by several economic experts that I truly 
respect and who have testified before the Financial Institutions 
Subcommittee, which I chair, particularly former Federal Reserve 
Chairman Paul Volcker, current Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan 
and Robert Hormats, the former Assistant Secretary of State for 
Economic Affairs in the Reagan administration and current vice chairman 
of Goldman Sachs.
  Mr. SOLOMON. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 2621, the 
Trust Fund Protection Act and commend the chairman of the Ways and 
Means Committee for his and the committee's persistence in their 
patrolling of the financing schemes of this administration.
  Let's be clear about what we are talking about. The United States ran 
up against the statutorily established debt limit in November--in 
layman's terms, we run out of money to borrow on our credit line. At 
the time the administration claimed that not giving this Congress more 
credit would result in a disastrous financial collapse in the markets.
  As predicted by many of those private citizens who actually spend 
their day-to-day time in the business of monitoring the securities and 
bonds markets, the market did not respond negatively. In fact the bond 
market soared to record heights anticipating that the Federal 
Government would actually reach a balanced budget agreement for the 
first time in over 26 years.
  By not increasing the debt limit, it was hoped by Members of both 
parties who strongly support balancing the budget, that this perceived 
dilemma would help to get the administration to the bargaining table.
  This was not a game of Russian roulette or political gamesmanship as 
some have claimed. In fact, this was another demonstration of how 
strongly the new majority in this Congress holds its principled 
position of balancing the budget. We are morally obligated as well as 
politically obligated as the holders of the purse to bring about the 
goal of a balanced budget.
  However, those in the Clinton administration continue their waffling 
over their position on the balanced budget. Indeed their inconsistency 
in action on this point is one of the reasons we are here today.
  The day after the debt limit was reached and the Clinton 
administration ran out of money to spend on its pet projects, the 
Treasury Secretary defied all political and economic logic by dipping 
into the social security, military retirement, and civil service trust 
funds for a little more spending money. I am amazed that some Member on 
the other side of the aisle have actually come to the floor this 
morning claiming that there was nothing wrong with this practice. I 
strongly disagree and would contend that it amounts to parents dipping 
into their children's college tuition savings account to go to the 
movies over the weekend. Yes, their may be money available but no that 
money is going to have to be paid back with interest and yes that is an 
end-run around the debt limit.
  This bill before us today would stop these end-run shenanigans. It 
would put the management of the Nation's securities back on top of the 
table, out in front so that everyone can see. It would outlaw this 
despicable attempt at defying the will of the branch of Government--
Congress--tasked by the Founding Fathers with the responsibility for 
controlling the Nation's purse.
  H.R. 2126 would prevent the Treasury Secretary from pulling money out 
of the Social Security Trust Funds, the civil service retirement fund, 
the military retirement fund, the unemployment trust fund, the railroad 
retirement fund, the black lung disability trust fund and the defense 
education and post Vietnam era veterans education trust fund. Each of 
these are targeted with tax dollars for specific purposes and should 
remain intact so that the Government can stand behind its obligations.
  In closing, Mr. Speaker, I would only observe that from all the 
squawking and carrying on in Washington over the pains of balancing the 
budget some may get the impression that the Democrat party never heard 
all the squawking back home on main street America over the past 25 
years with this Congress refused to balance the budget.

[[Page H14897]]

  Well my friends, its time to put up or shut up and Republicans were 
the first one's to put up a balanced budget and the American people 
have put up with Democrat political, fiscal and immoral shenanigans 
with the people's money long enough.
  Support the bill and balance the budget.
  Mr. STARK. Mr. Speaker, if enacted, this bill would cause the 
immediate default of the United States.
  Instead of protecting Social Security payments, it would delay 
January's benefit checks. January's Social Security checks could not be 
paid until enough tax revenues came in to pay all pervious unpaid 
Government checks which we defaulted on in December upon enactment of 
this bill. For the Nation's lower income seniors and disabled, January 
would be a cold and frightening month.
  If we have immediate default, people who seek to cash their savings 
bonds will be told to wait. Families that have bought savings bonds--as 
we have begged them to do--to save for January college tuitions would 
be in limbo.
  Why? Because the Republicans are insisting on a budget bill that 
includes massive tax breaks for the very upper income.
  Retroactive capital gains breaks will provide billions to the very 
wealthiest in our society, while we create delays and uncertainty for 
those dependent on retirement checks.
  The wealthiest 1 percent will get an average $90,000 in estate tax 
relief--while millions will be told that we can't cash their savings 
bonds on Social Security checks.
  The top 1 percent of families, whose income averages $651,274, will 
receive $8,231 in tax breaks in the year 2002 under their tax bill--but 
the Republican majority will default on this winter's earned income tax 
credits.
  Default would be a stain on this Nation's 220 year financial history. 
The Republican budget priorities--making the rich richer and the poor 
poorer--are a stain on our Nation's moral history.
  Please defeat this terribly disruptive bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Inglis of South Carolina). Pursuant to 
House Resolution 293, the previous question is ordered on the bill as 
amended.
  The question is on the engrossment and third reading of the bill.
  The bill was ordered to be engrossed and read a third time, and was 
read the third time.


               motion to recommit offered by Mr. Gibbons

  Mr. GIBBONS. I offer a motion to recommit.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is the gentleman opposed to the bill?
  Mr. GIBBONS. Yes, Mr. Speaker.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Clerk will report the motion to 
recommit.
  The Clerk read as follows:

       Mr. Gibbons moves to recommit the bill H.R. 2621 to the 
     Committee on Ways and Means with instructions to report the 
     same back to the House forthwith with the following 
     amendment:
       Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
     following:

     SECTION 1. CONTINUATION OF REDEMPTION AND INVESTMENT 
                   POLICIES.

       (a) Social Security Trust Funds.--The Secretary of the 
     Treasury--
       (1) may use the social security trust funds only for 
     purposes of paying social security benefits as he did in 
     December 1995 when he followed the normal redemption and 
     investment policies used to pay social security benefits by 
     redeeming--
       (A) on December 1, 1995, $16.8 billion in securities to pay 
     direct-deposit social security benefits, and
       (B) on December 6 and 7, 1995, $9.4 billion to pay social 
     security benefits paid by check, and
       (2) shall continue the investment policies that he has 
     followed since the debt ceiling crisis began in November 1995 
     by continuing to invest social security receipts in the 
     social security trust funds following his normal procedures.
       (b) Civil Service Retirement Funds.--As required by 
     subsections (j), (k), and (l) of section 8348 of title 5, 
     United States Code, and subsections (g) and (h) of section 
     8438 of such title, the Secretary of the Treasury may utilize 
     the civil service retirement funds to avoid Government 
     default in times of a forced debt ceiling crisis, and shall 
     restore those funds fully, including interest, as required by 
     those subsections.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
Florida [Mr. Gibbons] for 5 minutes in support of his motion to 
recommit.
  Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, I think everybody realizes we got a charade 
going on down here today, and this motion to recommit just says what 
should be done and what the current law is on this, and it pays tribute 
to the Secretary of the Treasury for having followed faithfully the 
laws that the Congress has provided for him in this debt management 
procedure that is going through with it. The Secretary of the Treasury 
is a very honest, responsible, and honorable man, and he has used the 
law, as we have provided for him to do, in the circumstances that he 
found himself in.
  Mr. Speaker, this is just an attempt by the gentleman from Georgia 
[Mr. Gingrich] and company, the Speaker and company, to force the 
President and the Congress to do something that they have not got the 
political authority to do: to make a bad deal.
  Everybody knows that this balanced budget that we hear so much about 
is being balanced on the backs of the children of the United States, of 
the sick, of the poor, of the aged, and that is not the proper way to 
do it. We need to balance the budget, but we do not need to pick out 
the victims as our Republican friends have.
  No amount of talk here, no amount of obfuscation on this floor, can 
disguise the fact that, while a balanced budget is desirable, the 
manner in which it is being balanced is just not the American way to do 
it. We have always been mindful of the needs of others, we have always 
realized that some people are not born in life as fortunate as others, 
and we have tried to compensate that and make sure that America is not 
only brave, and honest, and true, but is humane, and I regret that the 
Republican leadership has put this Congress in a position of trying to 
do something that it should not naturally do.
  The President is not going to be blackmailed by this kind of 
shenanigans. No President in his right mind would ever sign this bill, 
it will probably never get out of the other body, and we have wasted 
another couple of hours here talking about it.
  But who knows? We may have done something worse had we not been on 
this matter for so long.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. SHAW. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the motion to recommit 
offered by the gentleman from Florida [Mr. Gibbons].
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Florida [Mr. Shaw] is 
recognized for 5 minutes.
  Mr. SHAW. Mr. Speaker, a motion to recommit simply legitimizes what 
is going on now. Let me read for my colleagues a provision, and I, as a 
lawyer, have never read this in the law, anything that is drafted such 
as this. It says:

       The Treasury shall continue the investment policy that he 
     has followed since the debt-ceiling crisis began in November 
     of 1995 by continuing to invest Social Security receipts in 
     the Social Security trust fund following his normal 
     procedures.

  Now can my colleagues imagine trying to unravel that 15-20 years from 
now, about going back and seeing what one Secretary of the Treasury was 
doing. It personalizes the existing Treasurer into law. I have never 
seen that happen before.
  Then I would say particularly to my friends from Maryland and from 
Virginia this is something they should look at very, very cautiously. 
We have continued to see, and these particular Members, as well as the 
Delegate from the District of Columbia, come to this floor and protect 
Federal employees. Federal employees should be offended by this motion 
to recommit because it simply says that the Federal retirement fund now 
becomes a piggy bank that the Treasurer can dip into as he sees fit.
  Do not take my word for it. Read page 2 of the bill which says the 
civil service retirement fund, and it just goes a very short paragraph, 
and there is no way that these Members, or any of us that are concerned 
about Federal retirees, that we could possibly vote for this motion to 
recommit.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the gentleman 
from Alabama [Mr. Bachus].
  Mr. BACHUS. I thank the gentleman from Florida for yielding.
  Mr. Speaker, this motion to recommit ought to take our colleagues' 
breath away. It is an incredible proposal. First of all, it attacks 
Social Security. While claiming to protect Social Security, it, in 
fact, condones the status quo which threatens Social Security.
  Every day in America, Mr. Speaker, we pay Social Security, and it 
comes to the Treasury, not to the Social Security fund, and then the 
Secretary fund, 

[[Page H14898]]
and then the Secretary of the Treasury forwards it on. He could 
conceivably keep it overnight, and then invest it in the Social 
Security fund. What if he is up against the cap? Could he keep it a few 
days or a week? Could he keep it a month to pay beneficiaries and not 
invest it? Could he underinvest it? In the 1980's the Secretary of the 
Treasury actually disinvested funds in the Social Security account, and 
he can legally do so again. This motion to recommit does not address 
those vulnerabilities.
  Mr. Speaker, we are right now relying on President Clinton saying, 
``I'm not going to disinvest or underinvest the Social Security fund. 
Trust me.'' Secretary Rubin says the same thing. Yesterday, before our 
committee he said in effect, ``You can count on the President. He's 
given you his word. He won't mess with the Social Security fund.'' In 
other words, ``You can trust the President. We won't go after Social 
Security.''
  What do all these promises tell us? It tells us that we are relying 
on just that: promises. ``Trust me.'' We don't need to rely on 
promises. The American people don't need to rely on political promises 
to protect Social Security. Instead what we need is legislation which 
says, ``No, it is a trust fund. It ought to go into the fund, and it 
ought to stay in the fund, and the fund should be fully invested.'' 
That's what we need. Not promises and assurances but a legal 
requirement and that's what this legislation gives us. On the other 
hand, this motion to recommit gives us no legal safeguard, only 
assurance that the President and the secretary's current policies and 
promises to protect Social Security will be continued.
  I cannot believe that my colleagues would present this motion to 
recommit as an attempt to protect Social Security, and ask that this 
legislation be recommitted to protect Social Security. What is even 
more astonishing is what they have actually put in writing in this 
motion to recommit. They actually have written in words in this motion 
to recommit that they are going to allow the Secretary of Treasury to 
continue his current policies. Policies which have led him to disinvest 
more than $39 billion of the Civil Service Retirement Fund. Policies 
which have allowed him not to reinvest the entire $21.5 billion 
voluntary pension fund. Policies which Wall Street Journal yesterday 
reported will allow him--and he actually proposes to--delay the payment 
of $14.5 billion in interest due the Civil Service Retirement Fund. 
Polices have allowed and will allow the Secretary of Treasury to 
substitute IOU's for interest-bearing treasury securities. That is 
incredible. Not only that, this motion to recommit actually puts the 
stamp of approval on all these activities. It says that the Secretary 
of Treasury can continue to use Civil Service Retirement funds to pay 
the obligations of government. It is right here in the motion to 
recommit. The motion actually has the courage to say that.

  By inference, this motion to recommit says something else. While 
claiming to protect Social Security, not doing so, it also says in 
effect, that with the other trust funds. We are going at them full-
speed. We are going to let the Secretary of Treasury ``have at them'' 
with no protection whatsoever for the other trust funds. We are going 
to let him continue to take money out of the Civil Service trust funds 
and substitute IOU's.
  No protection for the other trust funds. Have at them, As for the 
Wall Street Journal article saying he is not going to pay interest due 
to the Civil Service Retirement fund at year-end, this motion to 
recommit says, ``Fine. That's okay. We are going to continue to let you 
keep not paying interest.'' I've heard reports that the Treasury has 
looked at the Postal fund as a source of addressing the debt ceiling. 
This motion to recommit says, ``Have at the Postal fund.'' How about 
the Bank Insurance fund? Are they looking at that fund? Little old 
ladies CD's down at the bank. They think they are federally insured. 
They trust there is a federal insurance backed up by a trust fund that 
will make any losses good. What do we say about the Bank Insurance fund 
if Treasury decides to go after it? This motion to recommit says, ``Go 
to it. Have at it.''
  Mr. Speaker, this legislation says a trust fund is just that. The 
people that deposit their money in the fund trust you not to take it 
out. They make payments to that fund and they trust you to put it in. 
That's the ``trust.'' Second, it is a fund, not an IOU. A trust fund. 
This motion to recommit says this about the trust fund, ``No trust and 
no funds.'' And for all this underinvestment, raids, IOU's, accounting 
entries and gimmicks, keep on keeping on. This motion to recommit puts 
a big seal of approval on all this chicanery. Vote against this motion 
to recommit and for the underlying legislation. Vote for trust funds 
which have both trust and funds.
  Mr. SHAW. Mr. Speaker, in closing I would say to all of my colleagues 
on both sides of the aisle let us not delegate our authority given to 
us by the Constitution to this administration or to future 
administrations. Vote no on the motion to recommit and yes on the bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Without objection, the previous question is 
ordered on the motion to recommit.
  There was no objection.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion to recommit.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the noes appeared to have it.
  Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, I object to the vote on the ground that a 
quorum is not present and make the point of order that a quorum is not 
present.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Evidently, a quorum is not present.
  The Sergeant at Arms will notify absent Members.
  Pursuant to the provisions of clause 5 of rule XV, the Chair 
announces that he will reduce to a minimum of 5 minutes the period of 
time within which a vote by electronic device, if ordered, will be 
taken on the question of passage.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 190, 
nays 229, not voting 13, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 861]

                               YEAS--190

     Abercrombie
     Ackerman
     Andrews
     Baesler
     Baldacci
     Barcia
     Barrett (WI)
     Becerra
     Beilenson
     Bentsen
     Berman
     Bevill
     Bishop
     Bonior
     Borski
     Brewster
     Browder
     Brown (CA)
     Brown (FL)
     Brown (OH)
     Bryant (TX)
     Cardin
     Chapman
     Clay
     Clayton
     Clement
     Clyburn
     Coleman
     Collins (IL)
     Collins (MI)
     Condit
     Conyers
     Costello
     Coyne
     Cramer
     Danner
     de la Garza
     DeFazio
     DeLauro
     Dellums
     Deutsch
     Dicks
     Dingell
     Dixon
     Doggett
     Dooley
     Doyle
     Durbin
     Edwards
     Engel
     Eshoo
     Evans
     Farr
     Fattah
     Fazio
     Fields (LA)
     Filner
     Flake
     Foglietta
     Ford
     Frank (MA)
     Frost
     Furse
     Gejdenson
     Gephardt
     Geren
     Gibbons
     Gonzalez
     Gordon
     Green
     Gutierrez
     Hall (OH)
     Hall (TX)
     Hamilton
     Hastings (FL)
     Hefner
     Hilliard
     Hinchey
     Holden
     Hoyer
     Jackson-Lee (TX)
     Jacobs
     Jefferson
     Johnson (SD)
     Johnson, E.B.
     Johnston
     Kanjorski
     Kaptur
     Kennedy (MA)
     Kennedy (RI)
     Kennelly
     Kildee
     Kleczka
     Klink
     LaFalce
     Lantos
     Levin
     Lewis (GA)
     Lincoln
     Lipinski
     Lofgren
     Lowey
     Luther
     Maloney
     Manton
     Markey
     Martinez
     Mascara
     Matsui
     McCarthy
     McDermott
     McHale
     McNulty
     Meehan
     Meek
     Menendez
     Miller (CA)
     Minge
     Mink
     Moakley
     Mollohan
     Montgomery
     Moran
     Murtha
     Nadler
     Neal
     Oberstar
     Obey
     Olver
     Ortiz
     Orton
     Pallone
     Pastor
     Payne (NJ)
     Payne (VA)
     Pelosi
     Peterson (FL)
     Peterson (MN)
     Pickett
     Pomeroy
     Poshard
     Rahall
     Rangel
     Reed
     Richardson
     Rivers
     Rose
     Roukema
     Roybal-Allard
     Rush
     Sabo
     Sanders
     Sawyer
     Schroeder
     Schumer
     Scott
     Serrano
     Sisisky
     Skaggs
     Skelton
     Slaughter
     Spratt
     Stark
     Stenholm
     Stokes
     Studds
     Stupak
     Tanner
     Taylor (MS)
     Tejeda
     Thompson
     Thornton
     Thurman
     Torres
     Torricelli
     Towns
     Velazquez
     Vento
     Visclosky
     Volkmer
     Ward
     Waters
     Watt (NC)
     Waxman
     Williams
     Wise
     Woolsey
     Wyden
     Wynn
     Yates

                               NAYS--229

     Allard
     Archer
     Armey
     Bachus
     Baker (CA)
     Baker (LA)
     Ballenger
     Barr
     Barrett (NE)
     Bartlett
     Barton
     Bass
     Bateman
     Bereuter
     Bilbray
     Bilirakis
     Bliley
     Blute
     Boehlert
     Boehner
     Bonilla
     Bono
     Brownback
     Bryant (TN)
     Bunn
     Bunning
     Burr
     Burton
     Buyer
     Callahan
     Calvert
     Camp
     Canady
     Castle
     Chabot
     Chambliss
     
[[Page H14899]]

     Chenoweth
     Christensen
     Chrysler
     Clinger
     Coble
     Coburn
     Collins (GA)
     Combest
     Cooley
     Cox
     Crane
     Crapo
     Cremeans
     Cubin
     Cunningham
     Davis
     Deal
     DeLay
     Diaz-Balart
     Dickey
     Doolittle
     Dornan
     Dreier
     Duncan
     Dunn
     Ehlers
     Ehrlich
     English
     Ensign
     Everett
     Ewing
     Fawell
     Fields (TX)
     Flanagan
     Foley
     Forbes
     Fowler
     Fox
     Franks (CT)
     Franks (NJ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Frisa
     Funderburk
     Gallegly
     Ganske
     Gekas
     Gilchrest
     Gillmor
     Gilman
     Goodlatte
     Goodling
     Goss
     Graham
     Greenwood
     Gunderson
     Gutknecht
     Hancock
     Hastert
     Hastings (WA)
     Hayes
     Hayworth
     Hefley
     Heineman
     Herger
     Hilleary
     Hobson
     Hoekstra
     Hoke
     Horn
     Hostettler
     Houghton
     Hunter
     Hutchinson
     Hyde
     Inglis
     Istook
     Johnson (CT)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jones
     Kasich
     Kelly
     Kim
     King
     Kingston
     Klug
     Knollenberg
     Kolbe
     LaHood
     Largent
     Latham
     LaTourette
     Laughlin
     Lazio
     Leach
     Lewis (CA)
     Lewis (KY)
     Lightfoot
     Linder
     Livingston
     LoBiondo
     Longley
     Lucas
     Manzullo
     Martini
     McCollum
     McCrery
     McDade
     McHugh
     McIntosh
     McKeon
     Metcalf
     Meyers
     Mica
     Miller (FL)
     Molinari
     Moorhead
     Morella
     Myers
     Myrick
     Nethercutt
     Neumann
     Ney
     Norwood
     Nussle
     Oxley
     Packard
     Parker
     Paxon
     Petri
     Pombo
     Porter
     Portman
     Pryce
     Quillen
     Quinn
     Radanovich
     Ramstad
     Regula
     Riggs
     Roberts
     Roemer
     Rogers
     Rohrabacher
     Roth
     Royce
     Salmon
     Sanford
     Saxton
     Scarborough
     Schaefer
     Schiff
     Seastrand
     Sensenbrenner
     Shadegg
     Shaw
     Shays
     Shuster
     Skeen
     Smith (MI)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Smith (WA)
     Solomon
     Souder
     Stearns
     Stockman
     Stump
     Talent
     Tate
     Tauzin
     Taylor (NC)
     Thomas
     Thornberry
     Tiahrt
     Torkildsen
     Traficant
     Upton
     Vucanovich
     Walker
     Walsh
     Wamp
     Watts (OK)
     Weldon (FL)
     Weldon (PA)
     Weller
     White
     Whitfield
     Wicker
     Wolf
     Young (AK)
     Young (FL)
     Zeliff
     Zimmer

                             NOT VOTING--13

     Boucher
     Emerson
     Hansen
     Harman
     McInnis
     McKinney
     Mfume
     Owens
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Spence
     Tucker
     Waldholtz
     Wilson

                              {time}  1329

  Messrs. MANZULLO, CHRISTENSEN, and ROEMER changed their vote from 
``yea'' to ``nay.''
  Messrs. KLECZKA, VENTO, HALL of Texas, and LaFALCE changed their vote 
from ``nay'' to ``yea.''
  So the motion to recommit was rejected.
  The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.
  The SPEAKER. The question is on passage of the bill.
  The question was taken; and the Speaker announced that the ayes 
appeared to have it.


                             Recorded vote

  Mr. GIBBONS. Mr. Speaker, I demand a recorded vote.
  A recorded vote was ordered.
  The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--ayes 235, 
noes 103, answered ``present'' 77, not voting 17, as follows:

                             [Roll No. 862]

                               AYES--235

     Allard
     Archer
     Armey
     Bachus
     Baker (CA)
     Baker (LA)
     Ballenger
     Barr
     Barrett (NE)
     Bartlett
     Barton
     Bass
     Bateman
     Bereuter
     Bilbray
     Bilirakis
     Bliley
     Blute
     Boehlert
     Boehner
     Bonilla
     Bono
     Brownback
     Bryant (TN)
     Bunn
     Bunning
     Burr
     Burton
     Buyer
     Callahan
     Calvert
     Camp
     Canady
     Castle
     Chabot
     Chambliss
     Chenoweth
     Christensen
     Chrysler
     Clinger
     Coble
     Coburn
     Collins (GA)
     Combest
     Condit
     Cooley
     Cox
     Crane
     Crapo
     Cremeans
     Cubin
     Cunningham
     Davis
     Deal
     DeLay
     Diaz-Balart
     Dickey
     Doggett
     Doolittle
     Dornan
     Dreier
     Duncan
     Dunn
     Ehlers
     Ehrlich
     Ensign
     Everett
     Ewing
     Fawell
     Fields (TX)
     Flanagan
     Foley
     Forbes
     Fowler
     Fox
     Franks (CT)
     Franks (NJ)
     Frelinghuysen
     Frisa
     Funderburk
     Gallegly
     Ganske
     Gekas
     Gilchrest
     Gillmor
     Gilman
     Goodlatte
     Goodling
     Goss
     Graham
     Greenwood
     Gunderson
     Gutknecht
     Hall (TX)
     Hancock
     Hastert
     Hastings (WA)
     Hayes
     Hayworth
     Hefley
     Heineman
     Herger
     Hilleary
     Hobson
     Hoekstra
     Hoke
     Holden
     Horn
     Hostettler
     Houghton
     Hunter
     Hutchinson
     Hyde
     Inglis
     Istook
     Johnson (CT)
     Johnson (SD)
     Johnson, Sam
     Jones
     Kasich
     Kelly
     Kim
     King
     Kingston
     Klug
     Knollenberg
     Kolbe
     LaHood
     Largent
     Latham
     LaTourette
     Laughlin
     Lazio
     Leach
     Lewis (KY)
     Lightfoot
     Linder
     Livingston
     LoBiondo
     Longley
     Lucas
     Manzullo
     Martini
     McCollum
     McCrery
     McDade
     McHugh
     McIntosh
     McKeon
     Metcalf
     Meyers
     Mica
     Miller (FL)
     Molinari
     Montgomery
     Moorhead
     Morella
     Myers
     Myrick
     Nethercutt
     Neumann
     Ney
     Norwood
     Nussle
     Oxley
     Packard
     Parker
     Paxon
     Peterson (MN)
     Petri
     Pombo
     Porter
     Portman
     Pryce
     Quillen
     Quinn
     Radanovich
     Ramstad
     Regula
     Riggs
     Roberts
     Roemer
     Rogers
     Rohrabacher
     Roth
     Royce
     Salmon
     Sanford
     Saxton
     Scarborough
     Schaefer
     Schiff
     Seastrand
     Sensenbrenner
     Shadegg
     Shaw
     Shays
     Shuster
     Skeen
     Smith (MI)
     Smith (NJ)
     Smith (TX)
     Smith (WA)
     Solomon
     Souder
     Spence
     Stearns
     Stockman
     Stump
     Talent
     Tate
     Tauzin
     Taylor (MS)
     Taylor (NC)
     Thornberry
     Tiahrt
     Torkildsen
     Traficant
     Upton
     Vucanovich
     Walker
     Walsh
     Wamp
     Watts (OK)
     Weldon (FL)
     Weldon (PA)
     Weller
     White
     Whitfield
     Wicker
     Wolf
     Young (AK)
     Young (FL)
     Zeliff
     Zimmer

                               NOES--103

     Ackerman
     Andrews
     Baesler
     Baldacci
     Barcia
     Barrett (WI)
     Beilenson
     Bentsen
     Berman
     Bevill
     Bonior
     Borski
     Brewster
     Browder
     Brown (OH)
     Bryant (TX)
     Cardin
     Chapman
     Clement
     Costello
     Cramer
     Danner
     DeLauro
     Deutsch
     Dicks
     Dingell
     Dooley
     Doyle
     Durbin
     Edwards
     Eshoo
     Ford
     Frost
     Gejdenson
     Gephardt
     Geren
     Gibbons
     Gonzalez
     Gordon
     Hall (OH)
     Hamilton
     Hefner
     Hoyer
     Johnston
     Kanjorski
     Kaptur
     Kennedy (MA)
     Kennelly
     Kildee
     Kleczka
     Klink
     LaFalce
     Levin
     Lincoln
     Lowey
     Luther
     Maloney
     Manton
     Markey
     Mascara
     McCarthy
     McHale
     McNulty
     Meehan
     Minge
     Mollohan
     Moran
     Murtha
     Nadler
     Neal
     Obey
     Olver
     Orton
     Pallone
     Payne (VA)
     Peterson (FL)
     Pickett
     Pomeroy
     Poshard
     Rahall
     Reed
     Rivers
     Rose
     Roukema
     Sabo
     Sawyer
     Schumer
     Sisisky
     Skaggs
     Skelton
     Slaughter
     Spratt
     Stenholm
     Studds
     Stupak
     Tanner
     Thornton
     Thurman
     Torricelli
     Vento
     Visclosky
     Volkmer
     Wyden

                        ANSWERED ``PRESENT''--77

     Abercrombie
     Becerra
     Bishop
     Brown (CA)
     Brown (FL)
     Clay
     Clayton
     Clyburn
     Coleman
     Collins (IL)
     Collins (MI)
     Conyers
     Coyne
     de la Garza
     DeFazio
     Dellums
     Dixon
     Engel
     Evans
     Farr
     Fattah
     Fields (LA)
     Filner
     Flake
     Foglietta
     Frank (MA)
     Furse
     Green
     Gutierrez
     Hastings (FL)
     Hilliard
     Hinchey
     Jackson-Lee (TX)
     Jacobs
     Jefferson
     Johnson, E. B.
     Kennedy (RI)
     Lantos
     Lewis (GA)
     Lofgren
     Martinez
     Matsui
     McDermott
     Meek
     Menendez
     Miller (CA)
     Mink
     Moakley
     Ortiz
     Owens
     Pastor
     Payne (NJ)
     Pelosi
     Rangel
     Richardson
     Roybal-Allard
     Rush
     Sanders
     Schroeder
     Scott
     Serrano
     Stark
     Stokes
     Tejeda
     Thompson
     Torres
     Towns
     Velazquez
     Ward
     Waters
     Watt (NC)
     Waxman
     Williams
     Wise
     Woolsey
     Wynn
     Yates

                             NOT VOTING--17

     Boucher
     Emerson
     English
     Fazio
     Hansen
     Harman
     Lewis (CA)
     Lipinski
     McInnis
     McKinney
     Mfume
     Oberstar
     Ros-Lehtinen
     Thomas
     Tucker
     Waldholtz
     Wilson

                              {time}  1339

  The Clerk announced the following pair: On this vote:

       Mr. McInnis for, with Ms. Harman against.

  Mr. FARR and Mr. COYNE changed their vote from ``no'' to ``present.''
  So the bill was passed. The result of the vote was announced as above 
recorded.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

                          ____________________