[Congressional Record Volume 162, Number 78 (Tuesday, May 17, 2016)]
[Pages H2438-H2446]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. BYRNE. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I 
call up House Resolution 732 and ask for its immediate consideration.
  The Clerk read the resolution, as follows:

                              H. Res. 732

       Resolved, That at any time after adoption of this 
     resolution the Speaker may, pursuant to clause 2(b) of rule 
     XVIII, declare the House resolved into the Committee of the 
     Whole House on the state of the Union for consideration of 
     the bill (H.R. 4909) to authorize appropriations for fiscal 
     year 2017 for military activities of the Department of 
     Defense and for military construction, to prescribe military 
     personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other 
     purposes. The first reading of the bill shall be dispensed 
     with. All points of order against consideration of the bill 
     are waived. General debate shall be confined to the bill and 
     shall not exceed one hour equally divided and controlled by 
     the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on 
     Armed Services. After general debate the bill shall be 
     considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. In lieu 
     of the amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by 
     the Committee on Armed Services now printed in the bill, an 
     amendment in the nature of a substitute consisting of the 
     text of Rules Committee Print 114-51, modified by the 
     amendment printed in part A of the report of the Committee on 
     Rules accompanying this resolution, shall be considered as 
     adopted in the House and in the Committee of the Whole. The 
     bill, as amended, shall be considered as the original bill 
     for the purpose of further amendment under the five-minute 
     rule and shall be considered as read. All points of order 
     against provisions in the bill, as amended, are waived.
       Sec. 2.  (a) No further amendment to the bill, as amended, 
     shall be in order except those printed in part B of the 
     report of the

[[Page H2439]]

     Committee on Rules accompanying this resolution and 
     amendments en bloc described in section 3 of this resolution.
        (b) Each further amendment printed in part B of the report 
     of the Committee on Rules shall be considered only in the 
     order printed in the report, may be offered only by a Member 
     designated in the report, shall be considered as read, shall 
     be debatable for the time specified in the report equally 
     divided and controlled by the proponent and an opponent, 
     shall not be subject to amendment, and shall not be subject 
     to a demand for division of the question in the House or in 
     the Committee of the Whole.
       (c) All points of order against the further amendments 
     printed in part B of the report of the Committee on Rules or 
     amendments en bloc described in section 3 of this resolution 
     are waived.
       Sec. 3.  It shall be in order at any time for the chair of 
     the Committee on Armed Services or his designee to offer 
     amendments en bloc consisting of amendments printed in part B 
     of the report of the Committee on Rules accompanying this 
     resolution not earlier disposed of. Amendments en bloc 
     offered pursuant to this section shall be considered as read, 
     shall be debatable for 20 minutes equally divided and 
     controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the 
     Committee on Armed Services or their designees, shall not be 
     subject to amendment, and shall not be subject to a demand 
     for division of the question in the House or in the Committee 
     of the Whole.
       Sec. 4.  At the conclusion of consideration of the bill for 
     amendment pursuant to this resolution, the Committee of the 
     Whole shall rise without motion. No further consideration of 
     the bill shall be in order except pursuant to a subsequent 
     order of the House.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Ribble). The gentleman from Alabama is 
recognized for 1 hour.
  Mr. BYRNE. Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield the 
customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. Polis), 
pending which I yield myself such time as I may consume. During 
consideration of this resolution, all time yielded is for the purpose 
of debate only.

                             General Leave

  Mr. BYRNE. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 
5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Alabama?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. BYRNE. Mr. Speaker, House Resolution 732 provides for the 
consideration of H.R. 4909, the National Defense Authorization Act for 
Fiscal Year 2017.
  Mr. Speaker, this is the most important thing this House will do this 
year as it has been the most important thing this House has done for 54 
straight years--setting the policy for defending the American people.
  The resolution provides for a structured rule and makes in order 61 
amendments. This is the first of the two rules the House will consider 
on the NDAA. The Committee on Rules is continuing to work through the 
over 375 submitted amendments, and it will be making more amendments in 
order at this afternoon's meeting.
  As a member of the House Committee on Armed Services, which is the 
jurisdictional committee for this bill, I, like many others, have spent 
substantial time in working through this year's NDAA. A lot of work has 
gone into the bill to get us to this point, and I want to recognize the 
work of Chairman Mac Thornberry, of Ranking Member Adam Smith, and of 
each of the subcommittee chairmen and ranking members. We should also 
recognize the very capable Committee on Armed Services staff who has 
devoted so much time to this legislation.
  This process, as in years past, has been truly bipartisan. The bill 
passed out of the committee by a vote of 60-2. It is my sincere hope 
that this bipartisan nature will continue here on the House floor as we 
consider the most important thing we will do all year. Providing for 
the common defense is the most important function of the Federal 
Government, and it is one we all take very seriously.
  There are many different threats and challenges around the globe, and 
we and the servicemen and -women who protect us need to be ready for 
each of those threats; so you will be hearing a lot about readiness 
over the next couple of days as we consider this bill because just 
having a soldier or an airman or a sailor is not enough--they have to 
be ready to do the job that we assign to them. Readiness means that 
they have been trained appropriately, that they have the equipment they 
need, and that they have the support they need to carry out their vital 
  Look around the world as we sit here today: North Korea is 
threatening us with nuclear weapons. They say they have miniaturized 
the nuclear weapon. They have the missile technology not only to shoot 
it from land, but to launch it from submarines.
  China, every day, is pushing out further and further with these 
artificial islands in the South China Sea, claiming, virtually, the 
entire South China Sea as theirs that they can control and against the 
claims of other countries in the region--a part of the world where over 
$5 trillion in trade moves to and fro, which is something that has a 
direct impact on the well-being of the American people.
  Look at what is happening in Europe. Russia has taken the Crimea. 
They are involved in actions in the eastern part of Ukraine today. They 
threaten NATO allies--countries with which we have an Article V 
obligation to defend if any country attacks them--and Russia is 
threatening those countries today.
  Then in the Middle East, as many of us know, we have a resurgent 
Iran. After the deal that the President struck with Iran last year, 
Iran now has access to tens of billions of dollars. As the major state 
supporter of terrorism in the world, they are using that money to fund 
terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, which cause so much havoc 
and destruction and death. We have this terrible situation in Syria, a 
continually bad situation in Iraq, failed states in Yemen and Libya.
  Our military--our defense forces--are called upon to address all of 
those--to protect us, to protect the American people. That is why 
getting this bill right is so important. That is why taking it 
seriously is so important. Whether it is fighting terrorism in Iraq or 
in Afghanistan, deterring Russian aggression in Europe, or projecting 
force in the Pacific, our military has their hands full, and this bill 
is critical to ensuring that they are ready for what is coming to them 
and to us. Let us make sure we understand. Experts far beyond my 
background have said that the United States has never faced this 
level--this complexity--of threat to our national security since the 
end of World War II.
  This bill is also an important oversight tool for Congress as we work 
to ensure accountability, efficiency, and effectiveness from our 
Nation's military. The NDAA authorizes spending at a level of $574 
billion for national defense base requirements and an additional $36 
billion for overseas contingency operations. This matches the total 
funding level of $610 billion that was requested by President Obama. 
These spending levels are needed to make critical investments that will 
begin to restore our military readiness.
  It seems like every day a new and alarming report comes out about the 
dire situation our military is in: planes can't fly due to deferred 
repairs; troops aren't adequately trained; there is a lack of naval 
vessels in critical theaters. These stories have begun the sad reality 
for our military in recent years, and we are putting the lives of our 
servicemembers at risk.

                              {time}  1230

  To be clear, none of these are the fault of our servicemembers who 
continue to rise to the challenge and do more with less. But we, as a 
Congress, have to fix this problem.
  The NDAA will put us back on track by strengthening our commitment to 
our military men and women. It fully funds the 2.1 percent pay raise 
for our troops and restores funding for training and maintenance 
programs, while also helping rebuild crumbling facilities.
  The bill is also reform oriented. You are going to hear a lot about 
reform over these next 2 days. It includes long-needed reforms to the 
acquisition process and the Uniform Code of Military Justice, as well 
as boosting healthcare programs to ensure high quality and access to 
care. All told, there are five components of reform in this bill.
  I also want to briefly touch on a few issues up front that I know my 
colleagues will likely bring up. First, this rule self-executes an 
amendment by Chairman Sessions of the Rules Committee that would strike 
a provision of the bill relating to women and Selective Service.
  This is an issue that the Armed Services Committee has not debated. 
No hearings have been held. It was added

[[Page H2440]]

to the NDAA by an amendment in the dead of night. This rule removes 
that provision and allows Congress to properly study the issue.
  Wherever you stand on the issue of including women in the draft, the 
American people should have the benefit of a full hearing, a full 
consideration of that issue. Jamming this thing into this bill and 
considering it without going through that is not right for the American 
people, whichever side they stand on. Making that the way this bill 
stands today is the right thing to do before we make a substantial 
  I also know the President has some concerns about the way this year's 
NDAA funds our military. The bill funds the overseas contingency 
operation until April 2017, when a new President will have time to 
assess the security situation, and then they could submit a 
supplemental budget request based on their priorities.
  This is common for the first year of a new administration. Indeed, in 
2008, then-Senator Barack Obama, then-Senator John Kerry, and then-
Senator Joe Biden all supported a similar strategy. So I find it very 
odd that they now oppose that same strategy.
  The bottom line is that this bill adequately funds our military while 
meeting critical needs for military readiness and supporting overseas 
operations. Let's not let politics get in the way here. There is enough 
political theater taking place in the Presidential election.
  On this issue, this critical issue of national security, let's come 
together as Democrats and Republicans and show the American people that 
we can work together on behalf of our military and our national 
  I urge my colleague to support House Resolution 732 and the 
underlying bill.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. POLIS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume. I 
thank the gentleman for yielding me the customary 30 minutes.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the rule providing for 
general debate on H.R. 4909, the NDAA, or National Defense 
Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017.
  For 54 straight years, the United States Congress has come together 
in a bipartisan fashion to craft policies and recommendations for the 
United States Armed Forces and to put these into law. As has been 
indicated, of course, this is one of the most consequential and 
substantial items that we have. It is one of our responsibilities here 
in the United States Congress.
  Personally, I have found objections to some of the policies in the 
bill. Of course, I commend the work of the men and women on the Armed 
Services Committee on this legislation. I am going to highlight some of 
the problems that exist and why many of us on both sides of the aisle 
will likely be opposing the legislation.
  Many of my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee currently serve 
or have served in the Armed Forces. They are dedicated public servants, 
and they have worked hard on this bill. Of course, the bill includes 
the rest of us as well.
  Over 375 amendments have been offered to improve this bill. The Rules 
Committee will be meeting this afternoon to determine how many of those 
we make in order, and I hope that the Rules Committee makes in order a 
great number of these amendments. Of course, the first step under this 
rule is to make a few dozen amendments in order, and we will continue 
that work in the Rules Committee shortly.
  Mr. Speaker, for all the hard work that the Armed Services Committee 
has done, what we have before us this week is, unfortunately, an 
argument that needs to be resolved in the Budget Committee.
  What we have is effectively an accounting trick that drives us deeper 
into debt and increases the budget deficit to pay for 1 year of 
increased defense spending. To this point, I object to having this 
budget debate even in the context of a defense bill.
  But by disregarding the proper use of what is called the overseas 
contingency operations account and by flouting the Budget Control Act 
agreed upon by Republicans and Democrats, unfortunately, this Armed 
Services bill has been overtaken by a debate on the Federal budget.
  What we have before us is a bill that will increase the deficit and 
increase the debt above and beyond the spending levels the Democrats 
and Republicans agreed to. The free-spending Republican Party continues 
to throw taxpayer dollar after taxpayer dollar.
  Do they just intend to drive up the debt or do they intend to 
increase your taxes? When we increase our deficit, it means increased 
taxes. Effectively, this Republican bill is a tax increase on future 
American families, like my kids.
  So this week we see a debate about the inability of the Republicans 
to pass a budget or adhere to a budget when they do agree to one.
  If the debate over our armed services was not such a serious topic, I 
would say that this was a very clever, elaborate budget scheme. And it 
is clever. It is far too clever, more so than the traditional budget 
gimmicks that we have been presented with.
  I am going to explain to you exactly what this tax-and-spend 
Republican plan is. The bill authorizes $540 billion in discretionary 
base budget authority that includes $523 billion for the DOD and $19.5 
billion for the Department of Energy's defense work.
  But since the United States has been embroiled in conflict abroad 
since 2001, several administrations have requested and Congress has 
always granted another pot of money known as the overseas contingency 
  This year the bill provides $59 billion for what we call overseas 
contingency. Now, together with the $543 billion base, plus the $59 
million in overseas contingency, that equals the President's budget 
  Now, as a reminder, the Republicans haven't actually produced a 
budget this year; so, it is hard to make a comparison. All we can do is 
compare it to the President's budget because there is no House budget 
and there is no Republican budget. We haven't even seen one to be able 
to act on it or have a debate.

  Traditionally, we bring before the body several budgets and whichever 
one gets the most votes is the budget of the House. There are usually 
several budgets from the Democratic side, several budgets from the 
Republican side.
  In years past, there have even been bipartisan budgets which I have 
been honored to support. This year, however, Republicans are not even 
allowing the House of Representatives to consider, no less pass, a 
  So what the NDAA does is it takes this overseas contingency account, 
which many consider to be a slush fund for Pentagon operations, and it 
takes $18 billion of that to pay for base operations.
  Some of that $18 billion goes to fund the Pentagon's unfunded 
priorities or what we might call their wish list or items that they 
couldn't fit into the agreed-upon budget control number of $543 
  So this busts through the deficit, increases the debt. It is a 
Republican plan to tax and spend, tax and spend, tax and spend, like 
they always do through accounting tricks that they are doing right here 
in the defense budget.
  So the Pentagon gets more of the big-ticket items they want. 
Taxpayers are left paying the bill to the detriment of our economy, to 
the detriment of job creation, so that our own kids have to pay future 
taxes, putting our Nation deeper and deeper in debt, which I should 
point out to my friends is a national security issue.
  When we are economically beholden to other nations like China or 
Saudi Arabia, that is as great, if not greater, a national security 
threat than the one we combat with the tanks and Armed Forces that this 
bill seeks to authorize. So it is very important to take that into 
  If we look at what are the reasons that we defeated the Soviet Union 
during the cold war, they overinvested in their defense relative to 
their GDP, which effectively hurt their economy and made their economic 
model unsustainable because they were allocating too much to defense to 
try to keep up with where we were.
  If we mortgage our future to the Chinese and Saudi Arabians, how are 
we increasing our security, Mr. Speaker? In fact, we are decreasing our 
security to fund current consumption for 1 year at the price of 
mortgaging our future to foreign adversaries.
  By stealing $18 billion from the overseas contingency account, the 
NDAA guarantees that we run out of money

[[Page H2441]]

for overseas operations sometime in April 2017. And, of course, this 
Congress would never let money run out for operations against ISIS and 
Afghanistan and elsewhere.
  So, of course, when it comes down to it, this bill will come before 
Congress in April and Congress will make sure that we have the money we 
need to fight ISIS because they looted from this bill the money that 
was designed to fight ISIS to pay for items on the Pentagon's wish 
list. So that is what is happening here.
  Rather than appropriating money to combat ISIS and Afghanistan and 
other countries for the full year, they are just doing it for a few 
months. They are taking some of that money, putting it into the base, 
mortgaging our future, putting burdens on taxpayers, and making us 
economically at risk of being dominated by the countries that we 
continue to borrow from.
  Look, that is why the Secretary of Defense and that is why the 
President of the United States, the Commander in Chief, are completely 
against this way of budgeting. It is fiscally irresponsible.
  As the ranking member of the Armed Services Committee testified at 
the Rules Committee yesterday, this old gimmick probably violates the 
bipartisan Budget Control Act. When you do that, that is where the 
budget debate gets going. Congress has set limits on how much we can 
spend on defense versus nondefense.
  So when we run out of money next year under this NDAA plan, we are 
going to be forced to spend more. I mean, who before us is not going to 
spend the money we need to combat ISIS?
  Of course Congress will spend more. This is a plan to set up Congress 
to spend more. Of course, Congress will spend more regardless of who 
controls Congress.
  That is why budgets matter. That is why this arcane and esoteric 
gimmick in this bill matters. It is why we should have these debates in 
the Budget Committee. It is why this Congress should pass a budget. It 
is why we should let the national defense bill be about defense rather 
than mortgaging our future.
  Look, if it wasn't enough to have this budget smoke-and-mirrors 
debate in the defense bill, this year's NDAA also has a debate about 
whether we should let taxpayer dollars subsidize discrimination and 
whether we should encourage corporate misconduct.
  Mr. Speaker, I am not going to dwell long on the subsidization of 
discrimination and encouraging corporate misconduct, but I can't fathom 
why there would be a place in this bill about national defense for 
provisions that allow Federal contractors to discriminate against LGBT 
employees. That is unacceptable, bizarre, and contrary to meeting the 
security needs of our Nation.
  Also included in this bill is an exemption from the President's Fair 
Pay and Safe Workplace Executive Order. The place to debate that is in 
another committee I serve on, the Education and the Workforce 
Committee, not the national defense bill. Those need to be removed.
  Of course, this bill also strikes the Selective Service registration 
for women. The committee mark included women in Selective Service. 
Personally, I cosponsor a bill with Representative Mike Coffman to 
eliminate Selective Service that would save money. And, of course, in 
my entire lifetime, there has not been a draft.
  If we are going to have a Selective Service system, of course, it 
needs to include women. Women serve in every single combat role. It 
needs to include everybody so we can mobilize manpower and womanpower 
most effectively. But, unfortunately, that has been stripped out of 
this bill.
  I believe we should take a hard look at doing away with Selective 
Service entirely. Of course, at the very least, we should include both 
men and women at the age of 18.
  To move forward without any real debate on this issue and to strike 
that section without meaningful floor debate is bad policy, bad 
procedure. It is an offense to the committee which put it into the bill 
and yet another reason I plan on opposing the bill.
  There are other pieces of this bill which I and many Democrats and 
Republicans object to. There is a lot of time to go into those, which I 
will do depending on how many speakers we have.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. BYRNE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I was listening very carefully to my colleague, and I heard him talk 
about what is being proposed in this bill as being accounting tricks 
and cover. I am going to repeat again that what this bill is doing is 
exactly what then-Senator Obama, then-Senator Kerry, then-Senator Biden 
voted for in 2008.
  There is nothing new here. We are going into another President, and 
we are giving that President an opportunity to take a look at the 
situation and come back to us and tell us what they want.
  He said that this will drive up the deficit. It only drives up the 
deficit if we are not willing to work together to cut in other places 
because national defense is more important than anything else we do.
  If we don't want to drive up the deficit--and I sure don't want to 
drive up the deficit--let's talk about some serious cuts to other parts 
of the budget that aren't nearly as important as national defense.
  He called the overseas contingency account a slush fund. It is a fund 
directly requested by President Obama. It was requested by the 
President before him. It is something we have done for a while. It is 
adequately accounted for. There is plenty of oversight over it. So it 
is not a slush fund at all.
  The gentleman from Colorado said that we should be careful about 
overinvesting as the Russians did relative to GDP. If you look at what 
the defense spending is as a percentage of the American GDP, for the 
last several years it has gone down. It is so much lower than it was 
even just a few years ago. In fact, we now know it is dangerously low 
because of what our adversaries--Russia, China, et cetera--are doing.

                              {time}  1245

  He talked about that this bill somehow encourages corporate 
misconduct. This bill has more reforms in it than we have seen in years 
that are going to require more and more people to toe the line, as they 
should when we are spending the taxpayers' money.
  He said that there is something in this bill that might have 
something to do with LGBT discrimination. No, sir. Mr. Speaker, what is 
in this bill, what is going to be proposed for this bill, is something 
that gets to people's religious freedom. We don't treat religious 
freedom seriously enough in this body. We act as if it is somehow now a 
secondary right. Well, it is a primary right. It has always been a 
primary right, and we should always stand up for it in this body.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Colorado (Mr. 
  Mr. LAMBORN. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Alabama for his 
good work on this rule and on this bill.
  I want to talk about the critical part of the bill and an amendment 
that was proposed and then withdrawn, and that has to do with Iran's 
heavy water production. The reason this amendment was withdrawn and 
won't be under consideration in the Committee on Rules for discussion 
later today is because it deserves to have stand-alone treatment. It is 
that important.
  Heavy water is used to produce weapons-grade plutonium. Its 
distinctive properties make it a critical component in the production 
of nuclear weapons. Now, the nuclear deal that some of the Senators 
voted for--not by two-thirds by any means--forbids Iran from 
stockpiling more than 130 tons of heavy water during the initial years 
of the deal, and they will be allowed to produce 90 tons later. But 
they are required, under the deal, to redesign and rebuild their Arak 
facility to support its ``peaceful'' needs and research.
  So Iran did agree to keep pace with international technological 
advancement trends and rely only on light water, not heavy water, for 
future nuclear power, yet they have been producing heavy water 
  The Wall Street Journal has exposed the proposed purchase of Iran's 
overproduced heavy water, stating that the administration is 
encouraging ``Tehran to stick to the nuclear agreement reached last 
  So apparently the administration is seeking to entice others to 

[[Page H2442]]

Iran's overproduced heavy water by making the first purchase. U.S. 
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said: ``That will be a statement to the 
world: `You want to buy heavy water from Iran, you can buy heavy water 
from Iran. It's been done. Even the United States did it.' '' So we are 
enabling Iran to violate the terms of the deal, and we are going out 
and buying this, using taxpayer dollars nevertheless.
  Now, if the Iranians cannot or simply will not keep the deal, we have 
to come up with a better deal, not bail them out of aspects of the deal 
that they don't want to comply with. So this proposed purchase by the 
administration violates the intention of the deal and the will of the 
American people. We can't let this administration or the speech writer 
Ben Rhodes or their fabricated echo chamber deceive us any longer.
  By the way, this speech writer, Ben Rhodes, admitted in a New York 
Times article published just the other day that they took things they 
knew not to be true and misled the American people on purpose to get 
the deal passed.
  We must not authorize funds to purchase heavy water from Iran. 
Because this issue is so important, I will work with leadership to make 
sure that we consider this later as stand-alone legislation.
  Mr. POLIS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentlewoman from 
Massachusetts (Ms. Tsongas).
  Ms. TSONGAS. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak against this rule 
that repeals a provision that was added to the NDAA, the National 
Defense Authorization Act, after a bipartisan, recorded vote in 
committee which expands the Selective Service System to include women. 
That provision was in line with the Secretary of Defense's decision to 
eliminate the ban on women serving in direct ground combat positions 
and the recognition that women are much needed across all aspects of 
military capability.
  This rule precludes Congress from having an open and transparent 
debate about this very important issue that impacts women's equality. 
If we want a full hearing, is there no better place than on the floor 
of this House? This rule would prevent that.
  Gender equality is achieved when women and men enjoy the same rights, 
opportunities, and responsibilities across all sectors of society, 
including military service, and when the abilities, aspirations, and 
talents of women and men are equally valued. Including women in the 
draft is a step toward that equality.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentlewoman has expired.
  Mr. POLIS. I yield an additional 30 seconds to the gentlewoman from 
  Ms. TSONGAS. Mr. Speaker, this position is shared by both Army Chief 
of Staff Mark Milley and Marine Commandant Robert Neller.
  I urge my colleagues to reject this rule that denies the current 
reality of military service, limits gender equality, ignores a 
bipartisan vote, and does not allow for an open and transparent debate 
on the floor of the House.
  Mr. BYRNE. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I completely agree with my colleague who just spoke 
that, if we are going to do this, we should have a full debate on it. 
But we should also let the American people be heard.
  Because of the way this happened in committee, there was no public 
hearing beforehand. There was no notice to the American people that 
this was going to be considered. So the most important people we need 
to hear from on this haven't been heard from, and they need to be heard 
  The way to do that is for us to announce that we are considering 
this; have full public hearings in committee; and then, after having 
full public hearings, the committee makes a decision and brings 
something to this floor for us to debate. But for us to bring up an 
issue of that magnitude without having gone through the process of 
letting the American people be truly heard here, that is not 
  So while I understand exactly what my colleague just said--I was 
there for the committee meeting. I know that there was a vote on it. It 
was a vote after we had no debate in committee, no hearings, no 
opportunity for the American people to be heard--if we are going to 
take an issue like this and bring it to the floor of this House, we 
need to do all of that or we wouldn't be doing our job. So I 
respectfully disagree with her. I think the self-executing amendment by 
Chairman Sessions is appropriate, and I would urge my colleagues to 
support that.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. POLIS. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I would say in response to my friend that the committee 
did a lot of work through the night and voted on a number of issues 
that Members raised, and many of the items that they voted on were not 
subject to their own hearings. What we are seeing here is a failure of 
Speaker Ryan to follow through on his pledge for regular order.
  What is regular order? There is a committee markup of the bill for 
good or bad. Sometimes the chairman has things in that bill he or she 
doesn't want. Other times it is exactly like they want it. That gets 
reported out to the Committee on Rules, and other Members have a chance 
to change it. If any Member of this body wanted to remove women from 
the Selective Service, which was in the HASC markup, they would simply 
offer an amendment to do so. That is the normal process. There would be 
debate and there would be a vote.
  Instead of that process, there is a mysterious self-executing 
amendment in the rule itself; so the rule, itself, controverts the 
actual bill that the HASC reported out. It actually changes the very 
bill that the committee worked on without a vote, without debate, and 
that is the opposite of regular order, the opposite of the process that 
allows Members to fully debate and vet these issues.
  This rule actually stifles the debate on this very issue that the 
HASC weighed in on. It is my understanding it is in the Senate bill, to 
include women in Selective Service as well. I think it will likely be 
in any conference report that comes out. But for whatever reason, 
rather than having the debate and vote on the floor, it is being hidden 
behind a procedural trick in a self-executing rule.
  I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. 
Moulton) to discuss the bill and the rule.
  Mr. MOULTON. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak on important 
provisions contained within the National Defense Authorization Act.
  I have said many times that too little attention has been given to a 
long-term political strategy in our fight against ISIL. That is why I 
worked with colleagues from both sides of the aisle to include an 
amendment now contained in the bill that requires the administration to 
develop an integrated political and military strategy to defeat ISIS. 
Without this strategy, we risk repeating mistakes of the past.
  We largely defeated al Qaeda in Iraq militarily in 2009 but failed to 
follow through on the root causes and ensure the success of Iraqi 
politics going forward. It created a political vacuum that ISIS grew 
into. We cannot afford to make that mistake again.
  Second, we should all be able to agree that our military personnel 
and veterans deserve the best health care in the world. That is why I 
am proud to report the bill also contains provisions I worked on with 
several Members to address the increased rates of suicide in our 
military. Since 2012, suicide has been the leading cause of death in 
our military. In the past 3 years alone, the suicide rate has been 
nearly 50 percent greater than in the civilian population.
  The Department of Defense needs to take an aggressive approach in 
solving this crisis. My amendment included in the bill would identify 
trends and instances of suicides and require better proactive and 
reactive mental health care for active personnel.
  Finally, I want to call attention to the urgent need to continue the 
Special Immigrant Visa program for Afghans who worked for U.S. forces. 
A bipartisan amendment before the Committee on Rules now would remove 
the unfortunate narrowing of eligibility requirements included in the 
mark, which would prevent hundreds of Afghans whose lives are at risk 
because of their work for our country from even being considered for 
resettlement in the United States.
  The narrowing of eligibility intentionally excludes hundreds of 
Afghans who worked for the U.S. State Department, USAID, and U.S. 
security contractors in a number of capacities,

[[Page H2443]]

many of whom face well-documented death threats due to their work with 
our government, regardless of whether that was with frontline troops or 
on an American base. By narrowing eligibility, the program would erode 
the expectations of hundreds of Afghan staff whose lives remain in 
danger because of their work for the U.S. mission and also make it more 
difficult to hire and retain qualified Afghan staff who are essential 
to achieving our diplomatic and assistance goals. For that risk and 
sacrifice, the very least we can do is offer them a chance to stay 
alive, to keep living, rather than abandoning them to the same enemies 
they united with us to destroy.
  Mr. BYRNE. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague from Massachusetts and all the 
points that he has made. Indeed, there were a number of bipartisan 
amendments that were added to the bill during that very long day and 
night that we spent considering it, which just points out the 
bipartisan nature of what we are doing here.
  On the committee, we try to work together to find the right way 
forward for the defense of America. When colleagues on either side of 
the aisle offer something that is common sense and we think will work, 
we work together to make sure it gets in the bill, and that is what he 
just alluded to.
  He also alluded to an amendment that he hopes will be added as a 
result of the Committee on Rules meeting this afternoon. We are going 
to be considering an awful lot of amendments this afternoon. There are 
over 60 amendments that we have made in order in this rule, bipartisan 
amendments, so this is a very strong effort on our part to make sure 
that this is a bipartisan bill; and as a bipartisan bill, it deserves 
bipartisan support.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. POLIS. Mr. Speaker, it is particularly ironic that the gentleman 
is touting the bipartisan amendments. It is one of those bipartisan 
amendments that adds women in the Selective Service that is stripped 
out of the HASC bill, of the committee's bill right here in this rule, 
through a self-executing amendment.
  So this rule, if it were to pass--and I hope it doesn't. I hope my 
colleagues on both sides of the aisle vote ``no.'' This rule undoes one 
of those very bipartisan amendments that the gentleman is touting.
  I yield 2\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Welch).
  Mr. WELCH. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman. I thank the Committee 
on Armed Services for the hard work they did to produce this bill. I am 
not going to support it.
  The most important function that we have is to make certain that 
America is secure. Our defense authorization bill is a major component 
of that, but I believe this bill fails in some fundamental respects.
  Number one, the budget is very large. We are approaching $700 
billion. But throwing money at a problem does not solve a problem. What 
we are doing as we throw more money at a problem without making hard 
decisions is we generate and accept as inevitable an immense amount of 
  Number two, there is an overreliance on the OCO funding. First of 
all, OCO, off budget, should be debated, and it should be appropriated. 
It should be subject to all budget caps. But to then begin using it not 
just for overseas contingency operations but to actually invest in 
major weapons systems is a gross mistake that is just going to lead to 
a weaker budgeting system that is essential, in my view, to our 
national security.

                              {time}  1115

  Of that OCO funding, money would be used for weapon systems like the 
F/A-18E Super Hornet and the F-35. The $35 billion in the OCO 
authorization is for war requirements, including dollar amounts in the 
  Now, the other issue with respect to OCO--and another failure in this 
bill--is we are once again continuing to have military operations--this 
country is at war--without having any debate on an Authorization for 
Use of Military Force. That should be part of it.
  Third, we have significant issues in NATO. As the Speaker and my 
colleague, the chairman, know, NATO is absolutely essential to our 
defense. But the time for the United States to be bearing as big a 
burden for that defense has come to a conclusion.
  We will bear the majority of the expense, but the commitment on our 
NATO allies is to reach 2 percent of their gross domestic product in 
defense spending. If our NATO allies are not doing that, we are asking 
the American taxpayer to do it. These are mature democracies. They have 
stable economies. It is about time that we asked for this to absolutely 
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The time of the gentleman has expired.
  Mr. POLIS. Mr. Speaker, I yield the gentleman an additional 30 
  Mr. WELCH. The real fundamental question for us is whether or not in 
this defense budget we are going to ask what are the fundamental 
strategic necessities of the United States to be in a strong posture to 
defend itself.
  The approach of just throwing more money and maintaining weapons 
systems that our military is not even asking for, of blinking on the 
question of personnel review--all of these things are just postponed 
for another day. They need to be faced today.
  So, Mr. Speaker, I thank the committee for its work, but I will not 
be supporting this bill.
  Mr. BYRNE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman from Vermont. He and I and a 
group of Members of this body met recently with members of the German 
Bundestag and the Russian Duma to talk about these very issues, and it 
was a most enlightening trip for all of us. By the way, all of us went 
as American citizens, as Members of the United States Congress, not as 
Democrats or Republicans.
  One of the most troubling things that we learned from that trip is 
that the Russians continue to invest at a significantly higher level 
than we are in terms of their increases every year and their military 
activities. That is why they have been so successful in Ukraine, why 
they have been so successful recently in Syria. So this bill begins to 
turn back around so that we are investing properly.
  If I thought that we were throwing money at the problem, if my 
colleagues on both sides of the aisle and the Armed Services Committee 
thought we were just throwing money at the problem, this bill would not 
have received a 60-2 vote in committee, I can tell you that.
  The inefficiencies the gentleman talked about we are very concerned 
about. That is why there is so much reform in this bill. There are five 
different components that deal with reform. We can't expect American 
taxpayers to pay for any part of the government that is inefficient, 
including our military.
  He brought up the Authorization for Use of Military Force. We had a 
big debate about this in committee, and I asked my staff: Why can't we 
consider an Authorization for Use of Military Force in our committee? I 
think we should.
  I was told and we found out by reading the War Powers Act, a law 
passed by Congress in 1973, that, under that law, jurisdiction for the 
Authorization for Use of Military Force is vested in the Foreign 
Affairs Committee, not in the Armed Services Committee, so we could not 
consider that when it came before the committee.
  And then, finally, as to his comments about NATO, I share a lot of 
his concerns. I think many of us do. There is nothing wrong and 
everything right with expecting our NATO allies to meet their 2 percent 
obligation. Most of them are not doing that.
  I do believe the administration is working with them to get them to 
that point, but I don't think we should ever miss an opportunity to 
keep the heat on them to do that. Ultimately, the defense that we 
provide over in Europe through NATO is the defense of those countries.
  So I think it is appropriate that the gentleman brought up that 
point. I hope the administration will continue to do that, and I hope 
that we will continue to back any effort that is taken by this 
administration or the next to do that.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. POLIS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to take some time to highlight some of the 

[[Page H2444]]

environmental provisions that run counter to our national security 
imperative to create a more sustainable society that are in this bill 
or that have been submitted as amendments to this bill.
  For instance, there has been an amendment that would block 
implementation of the collaborative Federal land use plans and prevent 
listing of the sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act for the 
next decade.
  We have had extensive hearings in another committee I serve on, the 
Natural Resources Committee. This has nothing to do with defense. In 
fact, we hold up the collaborative Federal land use plan as an example 
of how to avoid listing this species and, yet, make sure that we can 
maintain a viable habitat.
  I think it was a great success. I think it is ridiculous that we are 
talking about amending a national defense bill to undo something that 
we have had extensive hearings on in the Natural Resources Committee 
and is held up by all parties involved as a huge success.
  In addition, there is going to be an amendment offered to sell off 
over 800,000 acres of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada. It 
would be transferred to the Air Force, which has not requested a 
transfer. The Air Force has not requested this land for any military 
use; yet, there is a bill to impose the management of these lands on 
the Air Force.
  It would represent a harmful public land sell-off precedent. It is 
important habitat for desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, mountain lions, 
and other wildlife.
  As we mentioned, the Air Force has not requested the stewardship of 
these lands. Of course, it would put a costly new burden on the Air 
Force to the detriment of our national security.
  In addition, there are two provisions already in the NDAA that will 
remove or block Federal endangered species protections for the American 
burrowing beetle and the lesser prairie chicken.
  Again, I am happy to have those debates. But what on Earth do they 
have to do with national defense, and why are they in the committee 
  Section 2866 would block ESA protections for the lesser prairie 
chicken for 6 years and then impose arbitrary restrictions on whether 
the Secretary of the Interior can relist the lesser prairie chicken, 
regardless of its biological status, even if there is only a handful 
left or it is nearing extinction.
  Section 2866 would also immediately and permanently remove the 
burrowing beetle for protection under the Endangered Species Act and 
prevent it from receiving any protections in the future.

  Our biodiversity is a source of strength. To somehow have a backdoor 
attempt--if you can't get these things through the proper regular order 
of the Natural Resources Committee, to somehow say that the burrowing 
beetle has something to do with national defense is a great stretch of 
our rules of germaneness that we have here in the body of this House.
  More perilously, more dangerously, there is language in the House 
NDAA bill that is a repeal of section 526 of the Energy Independence 
and Security Act of 2007. The purpose of this law is to reduce the 
Department of Defense's dependence on oil from hostile regimes of the 
  So it is a disparate element of advanced lower carbon fuels to 
promote energy security. Repealing this provision is something the 
Department of Defense does not want. It would be unwise for our clean 
energy future.
  So this bill actually detracts from the current language in the 
repeal of section 526. It reduces our energy security as a Nation, 
renders us to be more reliant on foreign powers for our oil, just as 
the budgetary tricks in this bill will force us to borrow more from 
China and Saudi Arabia to spend this year.
  Finally, there is some damaging language about aquatic invasive 
species, which, of course, cost billions of dollars annually when we 
deal with the zebra mussels in lakes in Colorado, damaging shipping, 
damage to industrial and government facilities. Invasive species cause 
great irreversible damage to coastal and inland waters, including some 
in my district.
  Once a nonnative species invades a lake or river, it is basically 
impossible to eliminate, as we know. S. 373, the Vessel Incidental 
Discharge Act, or VIDA, would discard the Clean Waters Act goal of 
stopping further invasive species and replace it with a law that would 
instead put ineffective standards for removing invasive species from 
ships' ballast water discharges that bear no relation to protection of 
water quality.
  So, again, this bill will strip out very important measures that 
would prevent the dissemination of invasive species. Even in the lakes 
in my district, including in Grand County, we have had a devastating 
impact of the zebra mussel invasive species both on local habitat as 
well as directly on recreational ships and boaters.
  There is not a direct military aspect to where we are, but, again, 
this applies to both military and shipping and is a great cost to the 
American economy when these invasive species threaten us.
  Again, these are issues people may differ on. I am happy to have that 
debate. In fact, it is a little bit of deja vu. I feel like I have had 
that debate on the Natural Resources Committee. We have debated many of 
these same things.
  But instead of bills being reported out of that committee and coming 
to the floor, apparently, the NDAA is seen by some as a catchall to 
attack our environmental safeguards. That is wrong. That actually 
detracts from our national security. It makes us more reliant on 
foreign oil. It is the wrong direction for the bill, the wrong 
direction for national defense.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. BYRNE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I wish we didn't have to deal with environmental issues 
on the Armed Services Committee, but, unfortunately, we have military 
bases all across the United States where they are being limited in what 
they want to do, what they could potentially do, by other Federal 
agencies that are using their powers to tell our defense folks that 
they can't do things that are important to carrying out their military 
  So I heard my colleague, and I know of his service on the Natural 
Resources Committee and the good work of that committee. But when you 
have those agencies beginning to impinge on our ability to deliver on 
national defense, I think that is under the jurisdiction of our 
committee. We have gotten waivers to be able to take these issues up 
from those committees, including the Natural Resources Committee.
  Look, I am not saying the sage-grouse or the beetle is not important, 
but they are not more important than the defense of the United States 
of America. We have dealt with these issues in a responsible way. I 
hope and pray that the time will come when we won't ever have to talk 
about that in the Armed Services Committee again.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. POLIS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  I still remain hard pressed to see how the burrowing beetle or the 
lesser prairie chicken are somehow a security issue that needs to be 
addressed in the National Defense Authorization Act.
  Look, there are a number of other flaws with the bill. It greatly 
overfunds our nuclear weapons activities, which will cost taxpayers 
hundreds of billions over the next 10 years. I have offered an 
amendment to reduce this.
  This is for a stockpile of weapons that could be greatly reduced and 
still maintain the capability of destroying the world many times over, 
however useful that capability may be.
  I think it should be good enough that we have enough capability to 
destroy the world three or four times instead of seven times. God 
forbid, we don't have enough capabilities to destroy the entire world 
and wipe out life.
  This bill does not include, as had been mentioned, an Authorization 
for Use of Military Force for our ongoing operations in Iraq, Syria, 
and elsewhere. Despite repeated calls to write an updated 
authorization, despite the belief of many Members on both sides of the 
aisle, the current war is illegal.
  This Congress has taken zero meaningful action to date. We should 
change that or at least debate changing that this week.
  As I said before, when you have a national security bill that 
mortgages our future, makes us more reliant on foreign oil, you wonder 
at what point you

[[Page H2445]]

should stop calling it a national security bill and start calling it a 
national insecurity bill.
  The vision that my constituents have, the vision that I have, for a 
safe and secure America is not one with bloated budget deficits and 
borrowing from China and Saudi Arabia. It is not one where we cut off 
our own renewable energies program so we can rely more on foreign oil. 
It is not one where we borrow more from our kids' future and mortgage 
them. That is not the secure America that we should seek as a United 
States Congress.
  These are the kinds of questions that we should be debating in the 
defense bill. But instead of focusing on these real questions of how to 
improve our armed services and how to provide for the national defense, 
the general debate we will see under this rule will dedicate a large 
portion to debate on the budget and the looting of this overseas 
contingency fund, which Congress will have to come back and backfill in 
April, therefore mortgaging our future and increasing our national debt 
to fund.
  Instead of actually passing a budget, this Congress is having a 
backdoor budget debate, debating it now. It is the wrong way to do 
  Mr. Speaker, if we defeat the previous question, I will offer an 
amendment to the rule that would shed light on the secret money in 
  The DISCLOSE Act, authored by Mr. Van Hollen, would require outside 
groups to disclose the source of the contributions they are using to 
fund their campaigns.
  Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to insert the text of the 
amendment in the Record, along with extraneous material, immediately 
prior to the vote on the previous question.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Colorado?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. POLIS. Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' and 
defeat the previous question. I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on 
the rule with the self-executing language which undoes the committee 
language, in violation of regular order. Vote ``no'' on the rule.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

                              {time}  1315

  Mr. BYRNE. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I appreciate and respect the gentleman from Colorado and 
his earnestness and all of what he has said today; and I do agree with 
him that there are many things that we need to debate on this floor and 
that we will be debating on this floor over the next 2 days.
  But let's make sure we don't lose sight of the central thing we are 
here to do, and that is to protect and defend the people of the United 
  Yes, there are going to be some extraneous issues, issues that we 
wish we didn't even have to talk about; but at the end of the day, we 
are going to come back to that central function, that most important 
function that we have, and that is defending the people of the United 
  Because of things that have happened before today, the readiness of 
our Armed Forces, the people we charge with the direct responsibility 
of defending us, the readiness has come down steadily. Planes can't 
fly. Armed vehicles can't drive. Weapons don't function. We don't have 
enough training for our troops.
  So we have listened to all of the uniformed commanders that have come 
before our committee and heard the dire circumstances we face all 
across the national defense of this country, and this bill begins to 
turn that around.
  It is not a big enough turnaround. We have got a lot of work to do to 
get back to where we need to be, but this begins that process of 
getting our Armed Forces ready in a way that is meaningful and 
responsible for them but also will create the actual effect of 
protecting the American people.
  We have put into this bill very important reforms, reforms that we 
have been needing to look at for a long time, that will require our 
military to be more efficient, save taxpayer dollars, but also make 
them more effective in their jobs.
  This bill does what we, as a House, are charged with doing, and that 
is setting responsible policy for defending the United States of 
  I hope that everyone, as we debate the amendments and the underlying 
bill over the next 2 days, will keep central in their mind that that is 
what this is all about and that we will strive to do this in a 
bipartisan fashion, as we have done on the Committee on Armed Services 
and as we have done on the Committee on Rules.
  This needs to be a bipartisan bill. This needs to be a bipartisan 
vote. If we really care about this country, if we really care about 
those men and women in uniform, then it is important for us to 
understand that we have a bipartisan responsibility to make sure that 
we provide for them and provide for the defense of the American people.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support House Resolution 732 and 
the underlying bill.
  The material previously referred to by Mr. Polis is as follows:

            An Amendment to H. Res. 732 Offered by Mr. Polis

       At the end of the resolution, add the following new 
       Sec. 5. Immediately upon adoption of this resolution the 
     Speaker shall, pursuant to clause 2(b) of rule XVIII, declare 
     the House resolved into the Committee of the Whole House on 
     the state of the Union for consideration of the bill (H.R. 
     430) to amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to 
     provide for additional disclosure requirements for 
     corporations, labor organizations, and other entities, and 
     for other purposes. The first reading of the bill shall be 
     dispensed with. All points of order against consideration of 
     the bill are waived. General debate shall be confined to the 
     bill and shall not exceed one hour equally divided among and 
     controlled by the respective chairs and ranking minority 
     members of the Committees on House Administration, the 
     Judiciary, and Ways and Means. After general debate the bill 
     shall be considered for amendment under the five-minute rule. 
     All points of order against provisions in the bill are 
     waived. At the conclusion of consideration of the bill for 
     amendment the Committee shall rise and report the bill to the 
     House with such amendments as may have been adopted. The 
     previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill 
     and amendments thereto to final passage without intervening 
     motion except one motion to recommit with or without 
     instructions. If the Committee of the Whole rises and reports 
     that it has come to no resolution on the bill, then on the 
     next legislative day the House shall, immediately after the 
     third daily order of business under clause 1 of rule XIV, 
     resolve into the Committee of the Whole for further 
     consideration of the bill.
       Sec. 6. Clause 1(c) of rule XIX shall not apply to the 
     consideration of H.R. 430.

        The Vote on the Previous Question: What It Really Means

       This vote, the vote on whether to order the previous 
     question on a special rule, is not merely a procedural vote. 
     A vote against ordering the previous question is a vote 
     against the Republican majority agenda and a vote to allow 
     the Democratic minority to offer an alternative plan. It is a 
     vote about what the House should be debating.
       Mr. Clarence Cannon's Precedents of the House of 
     Representatives (VI, 308-311), describes the vote on the 
     previous question on the rule as ``a motion to direct or 
     control the consideration of the subject before the House 
     being made by the Member in charge.'' To defeat the previous 
     question is to give the opposition a chance to decide the 
     subject before the House. Cannon cites the Speaker's ruling 
     of January 13, 1920, to the effect that ``the refusal of the 
     House to sustain the demand for the previous question passes 
     the control of the resolution to the opposition'' in order to 
     offer an amendment. On March 15, 1909, a member of the 
     majority party offered a rule resolution. The House defeated 
     the previous question and a member of the opposition rose to 
     a parliamentary inquiry, asking who was entitled to 
     recognition. Speaker Joseph G. Cannon (R-Illinois) said: 
     ``The previous question having been refused, the gentleman 
     from New York, Mr. Fitzgerald, who had asked the gentleman to 
     yield to him for an amendment, is entitled to the first 
       The Republican majority may say ``the vote on the previous 
     question is simply a vote on whether to proceed to an 
     immediate vote on adopting the resolution . . . [and] has no 
     substantive legislative or policy implications whatsoever.'' 
     But that is not what they have always said. Listen to the 
     Republican Leadership Manual on the Legislative Process in 
     the United States House of Representatives, (6th edition, 
     page 135). Here's how the Republicans describe the previous 
     question vote in their own manual: ``Although it is generally 
     not possible to amend the rule because the majority Member 
     controlling the time will not yield for the purpose of 
     offering an amendment, the same result may be achieved by 
     voting down the previous question on the rule . . . When the 
     motion for the previous question is defeated, control of the 
     time passes to the Member who led the opposition to ordering 
     the previous question. That Member, because he then controls 
     the time, may offer an amendment to the rule, or yield for 
     the purpose of amendment.''

[[Page H2446]]

       In Deschler's Procedure in the U.S. House of 
     Representatives, the subchapter titled ``Amending Special 
     Rules'' states: ``a refusal to order the previous question on 
     such a rule [a special rule reported from the Committee on 
     Rules] opens the resolution to amendment and further 
     debate.'' (Chapter 21, section 21.2) Section 21.3 continues: 
     ``Upon rejection of the motion for the previous question on a 
     resolution reported from the Committee on Rules, control 
     shifts to the Member leading the opposition to the previous 
     question, who may offer a proper amendment or motion and who 
     controls the time for debate thereon.''
       Clearly, the vote on the previous question on a rule does 
     have substantive policy implications. It is one of the only 
     available tools for those who oppose the Republican 
     majority's agenda and allows those with alternative views the 
     opportunity to offer an alternative plan.

  Mr. BYRNE. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time, and I 
move the previous question on the resolution.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on ordering the previous 
  The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that 
the ayes appeared to have it.
  Mr. POLIS. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The yeas and nays were ordered.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further 
proceedings on this question will be postponed.