WEEK IN REVIEW; Congressional Record Vol. 163, No. 34
(House of Representatives - February 27, 2017)

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[Pages H1350-H1353]
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                             WEEK IN REVIEW

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 3, 2017, the Chair recognizes the gentleman from Texas (Mr. 
Gohmert) for 30 minutes.
  Mr. GOHMERT. Mr. Speaker, we are back in session. We were out of 
session last week. It was great to get all over east Texas. It is just 
good to be an east Texan and from around east Texas. I had occasion to 
talk to a whole bunch of folks from part of my district, even tonight.
  As I think about the headlines, I think about this group called 
Indivisible demanding townhalls, and I keep coming back to last Monday 
at Jack Ryan's restaurant in downtown Tyler. Tyler Young Professionals 
had asked me to speak there. I knew the gentleman that had white hair 
and looked distinguished was probably not one of the Tyler Young 
Professionals but probably one of the Indivisible people, the Democrats 
that--yes, some of them say they are nonpartisan, but so much for that. 
But I knew when I called on him to ask the first question, he probably 
wasn't one of the Tyler Young Professionals.
  I offered to him, I said: Look, I give you my word. You come, bring 
somebody with you. Let's sit down at a conference table and I will hear 
you out. I will give you a chance.
  No, he said. That is not what I want. I demand a townhall.
  So I keep coming back to that answer because that seems to make very, 
very clear this whole Indivisible movement. It is not about being 
heard. That can be best done, as the Founders realized when they put 
together the Constitution--a complete democracy is where you have mob 
rule, that a majority is always going to prevail; but they figured out 
that, far better than having a big mob rule so you don't end up with 
lynchings and crowds convincing themselves to do something dramatic 
that they would never, ever do individually--it would be too much of a 
violation of their conscience. But there is something about a group 
dynamic that people can get whipped up into a frenzy as a group that 
doesn't happen when you sit down one-on-one with them.
  So this has never been about townhalls. It has never been about being 
heard. It has been about headlines, trying to intimidate some of us 
from keeping the promises that we made to our constituents before we 
got elected.
  I think God has a way of preparing us for what lies ahead. Had I not 
been a felony judge for a decade and been threatened by all kinds of 
felons, then I might have been at least somewhat intimidated. But it 
all seems rather interesting, this frenzy. Really good, decent people 
get in a group and get worked up into a frenzy.
  One of them did ask an interesting question there in east Texas on 
the east Texas Indivisible Facebook page: Well, what would be wrong 
with sitting down with him on an individual basis or something like 
that? That individual understood that, if all we want is to be heard, 
why wouldn't we just want to sit down and talk.
  What that individual didn't understand is Indivisible is not about 
being heard. It is exactly about what is in the Indivisible playbook, 
the Guide. The idea is to disrupt those who won with a majority of the 
vote in congressional seats and Senate seats, disrupt those who won 
with a majority and prevent them from keeping their promises.
  It reminded me somewhat of what happened back when George H.W. Bush 
was President. He had run saying, ``Read my lips: no new taxes.'' I 
wasn't in politics back when he was running and saying that, but I sure 
got involved in late 1991, I guess December, and in 1992. I guess that 
was back in the 1988 election.

[[Page H1351]]

  It cost him the 1992 election because he kept saying, ``Read my lips: 
no new taxes.'' Then he had to deal with the majority of Democrats in 
the House and Senate. They kept luring, trying to suck him in: Come on, 
if we are going to reach an agreement, you are going to have to give up 
on that pledge just a little bit, just a little bit. We are not going 
to reach it. You are going to have to give up just a little bit. You 
are going to have to allow just a little bit of a tax.
  After enough cajoling, they finally convinced George H.W. Bush that 
they were not going to allow the bill to go through unless he had at 
least a little bit of a tax increase. As soon as they lured him into 
that--kind of sounds like something that happened in the Garden of 
Eden. But as soon as they lured him into it and he agreed to a very 
small increase in taxes, then immediately the cries became: You are a 
liar. You broke your promise of no new taxes.
  He got lured into it. He thought they were acting in good faith, when 
all they were trying to do was get him to break his promise so they 
could call him a liar. They lured him into it. They trapped him into 
it. He should have told them, ``Read my lips: no new taxes.'' But being 
a benevolent man, he thought they were acting in good faith, as he was, 
and he found out differently. It cost him the 1992 election.
  So we have people demanding: Oh, yes, just give us the townhall. That 
is all we want. Just give us the townhall. They know and most of us, 
thank goodness, on my side of the aisle know, if we give the bullying 
mobs, what they are demanding when they are saying: We are going to 
harass you--as one man did--we are going to harass you at church, 
everywhere you go, until you finally give in, fine. No matter how big 
the mobs get, no matter how mean and frenzied they get, no matter how 
big of bullies they become, I know what I promised my constituents and 
I know what we have got to deliver.
  I am starting to hear from people on my side of the aisle: Well, 
maybe we shouldn't repeal. Maybe we shouldn't do what we did in 2015.
  Everything we did in 2015 was consistent with the rules that are in 
play right now. We ought to be able to do the same thing again. We 
should. We did it in 2015. We ought to be able to do it now--we just 
should--House Members and Senate Members. We had a majority both places 
then. We have got a majority now. We need to do it again.
  We don't have to have this huge government program as a replacement. 
That is the beauty of a free market. But in order to have a free 
market, you have got to have honesty and integrity in the system. That 
means nobody on my side of the aisle, nobody in the Senate on the 
Republican side of the aisle, and nobody in the White House should be 
intimidated no matter how frenzied the insurance lobby may become about 
what we can't do.

  Those same people embraced ObamaCare, which was about to destroy 
them. Some of them said: Well, you have got to understand we had to 
have a seat at the table. I tried to explain, you don't want a seat at 
the table when you are on the menu. But no, they dove in. Big Pharma 
and those folks dove right in.
  Now, I could understand AARP jumping in and endorsing ObamaCare even 
though it cut Medicare by $716 billion, even though it stabbed seniors 
in the back by dramatic cuts to Medicare. I could understand AARP 
endorsing ObamaCare. They were going to be able to sell more insurance 
than they had ever sold before.
  I had seen 1 year before--I think it was 2007 or 2008--they had over 
$4 million in profit, which is pretty good for a nonprofit, selling 
insurance or endorsing the policies that were sold. So, of course, then 
you get to the deal in ObamaCare that all these other policies are 
going to have an extra 2 percent tax on them, but not the kind of 
policies you sell.
  I can understand AARP getting behind ObamaCare, even though it did so 
much damage to the health care of seniors because they were going to 
make a lot of money. No telling how much money they have made since 
ObamaCare passed.
  I couldn't understand health insurance companies. I couldn't 
understand Big Pharma. I guess I could, because they were going to make 
tens of billions of dollars more in the short run than they had made in 
the past. That is why President Obama got them to offer to give 
billions of it back. You don't get billions given back unless you are 
going to make a lot more billions than you put back. I am sure they 
did, but that was short term. If ObamaCare continued into the future, 
it wouldn't be--probably within the next decade that you would see them 
heading toward their demise.

                              {time}  2130

  But the big executives would be fine. They would have gotten their 
golden parachute and taken off with all the money that appeared to be 
rolling in at that point, even though the day of reckoning was going to 
come for them down the road.
  But we shouldn't be listening to people who sold out knowing they 
will make money short term, but it probably will destroy them long 
term. People who were guided by the mentality that embraced that bill 
should not be dictating what is in the replacement plan. And I say 
plan, because when you are going to use free market to have a better 
healthcare environment, you have got to have free market; and you can't 
have free market unless everybody knows how much things cost.
  I was seeing again tonight from constituents, people think they ought 
to know how much a medical visit costs. Whether it is Blue Cross, 
Aetna, Humana, Anthem, whether it is an HMO, whatever, they ought to 
know how much that costs, whoever is paying for it. Whether it is the 
government--whether it is the Federal Government, State government, 
whether it is an insurance company, people have a right to know what a 
medical visit, procedure, whatever it is--they have a right to know how 
much it costs.
  Only when we have truth in treatment are we going to be able to fix 
so many of the wrongs in health care. Then we can move toward a free 
market, where insurance will have a high deductible. This is the 
ultimate goal, I think, where you have a high deductible, but you will 
have every dime of that deductible in a health savings account either 
put in there by your employer or by you. In a proper program, it ought 
to be every dime of it put in there pretax, no tax on that money that 
you put in there. I still believe that every dime that is put in there 
should then be marked for health care only. If the person owning that 
health savings account passes away before it is spent for health care, 
it ought to keep that healthcare designation and roll over into the 
heirs' health savings account. And if there are not heirs or it's not 
in the will, it could go to a charity's health savings account, as I 
feel sure you would have every worthwhile charity set up a health 
savings account that could be used to have people donate from their own 
health savings accounts to help the poor, help those who are 
chronically ill.
  As a Christian, I believe God knew it blesses us, it helps us as 
individuals when we are charitable toward others. That does not mean 
when the government, with the threat of the IRS, some SWAT team behind 
them, or some threat to come take your home, all of your assets, says 
you will give so that we can give to who the government thinks should 
receive the charity--that is not charity. That is not charity at all. 
That is a much too powerful government.
  What we find is that the United States has been the most charitable 
country in the history of the world. We have got a lot of benevolent 
Americans. Of course, that doesn't include George Soros. He makes his 
money. It seems like one of the ways he makes money is if he can topple 
an economy, bring it down; and through all of the suffering that is 
brought about, he makes money.
  When we heard tape recordings made in the past year by people who 
were saying, ``Oh, yeah, we funded the violence at those Trump 
rallies,'' or ``We funded violence here, there or yon,'' or ``We funded 
efforts to help bring down this activity or that activity,'' then it 
sure seems like that is worthy of investigation, because what you have 
when you have people giving money to create violence at events, some 
people would call that basically a racketeer influenced and corrupt 
organization, RICO. It ought to be worthy of investigation. If people 
are giving money when they

[[Page H1352]]

should know that money is going to be contributed to create chaos, get 
somebody hurt, then it sure seems like that is the kind of criminal 
conduct people have gone to prison for.
  I hope our new Justice Department will continue its trend toward 
getting out of litigation that they never should have been in in the 
first place and getting in where there is corruption. We know under the 
Attorney General Eric Holder that as long as the people who were 
carrying billy clubs and threatening voters outside of polling places 
were Democrats, then certainly they did not need to be investigated, 
nothing needed to be done to them because they are Democrats. 
Apparently under that old Department of Justice that was just about 
them, just us, then as long as it is one of us, we don't need to 
prosecute them. But, whoa, if it is a Republican, yeah, we need to go 
after them.
  But the great irony is there could be no greater dissolution of the 
right to vote when then loading the deck with people who have no right 
to vote, who vote and completely dissolve law-abiding people's right to 
vote, you just canceled out their right to vote with illegality. So it 
seems strange to some of us that you would have a Justice Department 
that would say: No, no, no, don't you dare purge those records of the 
dead people. You have got to leave those dead people in. Some of those 
dead people may want to vote. It is important to let dead people vote 
if they feel like voting.
  To have a Department of Justice that doesn't want counties to clean 
up their voter registration so that there can't be fraud, people that 
are dead, people that are living in other States or other voting 
districts don't come and also vote there. It just was incredible 
lawlessness to have a Department of Justice fighting against cleaning 
up voter registration rolls so that only people alive and living in 
that district could vote.
  Why would anybody do that? Why would anybody fight against cleaning 
up voter registration?
  The only reason I can think of conceivably would be they must still 
want people who are dead or don't live there to vote illegally. What 
else could there be?
  I mean, there are some people willing to have the Department of 
Justice: We are even okay if you supervise to make sure we don't throw 
out somebody who is alive. But this Justice Department under President 
Obama's administration, they didn't want voter registration rolls 
cleaned up.
  The lawlessness, thankfully, has come to an end. I know that there 
are people who have been stirring up fear in American hearts about Jeff 
Sessions, but Jeff Sessions is a good man. He is a good person. He will 
enforce the law fairly across the board, and I am grateful that we 
finally have a Justice Department that will be about justice.
  In the meantime, I saw this story today from Peter Hasson from The 
Daily Caller:
  ``Leaked audio from an anti-Trump protest group meeting reveals 
activists with anti-Trump group Indivisible plotting how to best 
manufacture a hostile environment at a town hall with Republican Sen. 
Bill Cassidy in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. . . .
  ``The audio, obtained by local radio station KPEL, reveals a 
coordinated effort to create the public impression that Cassidy's 
support for Trump is unpopular with his constituents. The activists, 
who describe themselves as liberals in the audio, can be heard 
strategizing how to best turn a local town hall into a political 
  ``The activists split up into an `inside team'--tasked with occupying 
`as many seats as we can' and an `outside team,' whose job was to `give 
the media the coverage they want' before joining the others inside. 
Activists were instructed to dress like conservatives and leave at home 
`any signifier that you're a liberal' in order to blend in with 
  ``The leftist activists strategized how best to `dominate' the 
question-and-answer section of the town hall and keep anyone 
`sympathetic' to Cassidy from asking a question.
  ``The audio also reveals the activists laughing about `the poor 
people of Breaux Bridge'--local constituents--who might get stuck 
behind them. Local news coverage of the town hall said that `many 
attendees were turned away' from the town hall due to `capacity 
  ``'Game plan number one is to fill as many seats as we can, right? If 
it's all of us in there and the poor people of Breaux Bridge are 
sitting behind us, well then tough luck for them,' said one organizer, 
identified by KPEL as James Proctor. His `poor people' comment drew 
laughs from the other activists.
  `` `If we can arrange it so he doesn't hear one sympathetic 
question--great. That only magnifies our impact,' Proctor said.
  ``KPEL identified Proctor as the leader of Indivisible Acadiana, a 
local branch of the national Indivisible organization, which has 
organized hostile Republican town halls all around the country.
  `` `The Indivisible Guide does say that when you start to lose the 
meeting, that's when you boo and hiss,' one unidentified activist can 
be heard saying. `Right, I was going to say that,' another activist 
replied. Local news outlet The Advertiser reported that members of the 
crowd `frequently interrupted, expressing disagreement with some of 
Cassidy's positions and shouting out their own questions.'
  `` `The outside team will join the inside team in the hall after 
media coverage'. . . . `So what we'll do is we'll try to dominate 
enough, because--remember, the camera people especially are looking for 
some `b-roll' and some quotes.'
  `` `They've got three or four things to cover that day, this is just 
one of them'. . . . `So we make sure we give them the coverage they 
want, and then everyone breaks and goes inside.' ''
  That reminds me of an article that was written in Gregg County, the 
largest newspaper. Obviously they know what Indivisible is, and they 
were demanding a townhall belittling me. It just shows how partisan, 
how malicious. They showed their malice toward me repeatedly. 
Fortunately, for the people of east Texas, they don't count for a whole 
lot. Their opinion is so biased; it is what it is. They know that these 
people are doing just what is talked about here, what is talked about 
in the Indivisible handbook, and that is what they want. They want me 
out of office, and there is such a problem with envy, with emotions 
that I have just never had like that. They can't stand it.
  So, anyway, here is one, Todd Starnes from FOX News, today's article:
  ``A group of enraged protesters exploded in anger after a chaplain 
prayed in the name of Jesus at a town hall meeting in Louisiana hosted 
by U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy.
  ``The verbally-abusive crowd''--and it is talking about this same 
townhall that this tape came from, where they were plotting and 
planning to disrupt and to keep the people from Breaux Bridge from 
actually being able to participate in their own townhall.

                              {time}  2145

  ``Louisiana State chaplain Michael Sprague and the unidentified 
Vietnam War veteran should be commended for maintaining their composure 
in the face of verbal barbarism.
  ``The February 22, town hall meeting in Metairie, was quickly overrun 
by the angry mob--much like other town hall meetings hosted by 
Republican lawmakers across the country.
  ``The mainstream media would have us believe the unruly 
demonstrations are part of an organic, grassroots effort.
  ``But I sincerely doubt many in the mob were actually residents of 
Louisiana--because I know the good people of Louisiana and nobody 
behaves like that in the Bayou State.
  ``Folks are raised right in Cajun Country. There's no way anybody 
would embarrass their mommas by acting the fool in public.
  ``I'd be willing to bet a cup of Community Coffee that the Jesus-
hating rabble-rousers were shipped in from some God-forsaken place like 
Berkeley or Brooklyn.''
  Now, I don't agree on Brooklyn.
  ``Chaplain Sprague had barely invoked the name of the Almighty when 
the heckling began.
  `` `Pray on your own time. This is our time,' someone shouted. `Amen. 
Let's get on with it.'

[[Page H1353]]

  ``Others chanted, `Separation of church and state' and so on and so 
forth. Someone filmed the prayer and words do not do justice to the 
amount of hate directed at the chaplain.
  `` `I've never been shouted down throughout a time of prayer like 
that,' Chaplain Sprague told me. `I've never been in a situation like 
that. It's sad there wasn't honor and respect for God.'
  ``But they became absolutely unhinged when he concluded his prayer in 
the name of Jesus.
  `` `Wow, they booed the name of Jesus,' Cassidy said in remarks 
reported by the Times-Picayune.
  ``I thought several of the agitators were going to spontaneously 
  ``The chaplain said the overwhelming majority of people in the room 
were causing a disruption--but he harbors no ill will toward the mob.
  `` `I'm not mad at people. My heart is bigger than that,' he said. 
`My heart's prayer is that everybody be treated with dignity and 
  ``The chaplain was especially disappointed by how the mob insulted 
the Vietnam War veteran.
  `` `There was a lot of shouting. Some turned their backs. Many didn't 
stand or put their hand on their heart,' he said.
  ``Infuriating, but not surprising.
  ``As I wrote in `The Deplorables' Guide to Making America Great 
Again' liberals have a strong aversion to President Trump, Jesus and 
Old Glory.
  ``But I still have hope in America.''
  And I share that.
  There is a lot to be grateful for, but one is not this article from 
CBN News in Jerusalem, Israel:
  ``A Palestinian Arab terrorist convicted of murdering two Israeli 
university students is one of the leaders of the feminist protest 
movement against U.S. President Donald Trump.
  ``Rasmeah Yousef Odeh, a member of the Popular Front for the 
Liberation of Palestine, is helping to organize a `Day without a Woman' 
on March 8, Arutz Sheva quotes reports in The New York Post and The 
  In 1969, Odeh was sentenced to life in prison for planting explosives 
that kill people and is now out leading organized resistance to the 
President of the United States and to law and order. It is tragic.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.