[Congressional Record Volume 166, Number 204 (Thursday, December 3, 2020)]
[Pages H6061-H6068]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]


  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I 
call up House Resolution 1244 and ask for its immediate consideration.
  The Clerk read the resolution, as follows:

                              H. Res. 1244

       Resolved, That upon adoption of this resolution it shall be 
     in order to consider in the House the bill (H.R. 3884) to 
     decriminalize and deschedule cannabis, to provide for 
     reinvestment in certain persons adversely impacted by the War 
     on Drugs, to provide for expungement of certain cannabis 
     offenses, and for other purposes. All points of order against 
     consideration of the bill are waived. In lieu of the 
     amendment in the nature of a substitute recommended by the 
     Committee on the Judiciary now printed in the bill, an 
     amendment in the nature of a substitute consisting of the 
     text of Rules Committee Print 116-67, modified by the 
     amendment printed in the report of the Committee on Rules 
     accompanying this resolution, shall be considered as adopted. 
     The bill, as amended, shall be considered as read. All points 
     of order against provisions in the bill, as amended, are 
     waived. The previous question shall be considered as ordered 
     on the bill, as amended, and on any further amendment 
     thereto, to final passage without intervening motion except: 
     (1) one hour of debate equally divided and controlled by the 
     chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on the 
     Judiciary; and (2) one motion to recommit with or without 

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Massachusetts is 
recognized for 1 hour.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield 
the customary 30 minutes to the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Woodall), 
my good friend, 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. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members 
be given 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Massachusetts?
  There was no objection.

                              {time}  1400

  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, before I begin, I feel I need to respond 
to the meltdown that occurred right before the vote on the Republican 
  As the distinguished minority leader knows, House Democrats have sent 
two major coronavirus relief bills over to the Senate. Sadly, those 
bills have been gathering dust on Mitch McConnell's desk. He has 
refused to schedule a vote and a debate on those bills.
  But the good news is that today, at 12:45, we find out that Leader 
McConnell and Speaker Pelosi have spoken about their shared commitment 
to completing an omnibus and COVID relief package as soon as possible. 
I take that as good news.
  We can walk and chew gum at the same time in this Democratic-
controlled House of Representatives. That means we need to deal with 
not only passing an omnibus bill and a COVID relief bill, but we have 
other work that needs to be done as well.
  I find it curious, Mr. Speaker, that the bill the minority leader 
objected to is a bill that deals with the unequal enforcement of our 
drug laws where people are treated differently and more negatively 
because of the color of their skin. Really?
  My distinguished Republican friend did not object to any of the bills 
we are bringing up today sponsored by Republicans--five different 
bills--but he chose to object to a bill that is addressing the issue of 
racial justice.
  Now, I guess I shouldn't be surprised because it is consistent with 
the attitudes that come out of this White House, but it also makes 
clear to me that the Republican Party is no longer the party of 
Lincoln. It is the party of some of the most intolerant voices on the 
rightwing and those who dabble in conspiracy theories. It really is 
  The Republicans made a motion that the House do now adjourn to 
highlight the fact that we are able to vote remotely in this Chamber in 
the midst of a pandemic. The leader said that nearly one-third of the 
Democratic Caucus didn't vote yesterday, which, by the way, they did 
because we do have responsible voting rules in place in the middle of 
this pandemic. Now, get this, Mr. Speaker. But then, right after saying 
that, 95 percent of the Republican Conference didn't even show up to 
vote. You can't make this stuff up, Mr. Speaker.
  They didn't vote in person, and they didn't vote remotely--nothing. 
Maybe I am missing something here, but I don't think the strategy was 
very well thought through.
  The distinguished minority leader is puzzled why we have passed rules 
that allow people to vote remotely during this pandemic. I have a news 
flash for him: Close to 275,000 people are dead. We have colleagues, 
both Democratic colleagues and Republican colleagues, who have been 
infected by this virus.
  While many Republicans are rushing to attend maskless superspreader 
Christmas parties at the White House, we in the Democratic majority are 
following the guidelines by the Attending Physician in the Capitol, by 
the CDC, by Dr. Fauci, and by every reputable medical expert in the 
  Operating remotely during a pandemic, I want to tell my friend, is 
not radical, it is not unique, and it is not unprecedented or lazy. It 
is responsible. It is constitutional. The Supreme Court is working 
remotely, as are legislators around the country and around the world.
  We aren't doing this because it is convenient, Mr. Speaker. We are 
doing it because it is necessary, and we are doing it because we want 
to save lives.
  So, we invite our Republican colleagues to join us, to be 
responsible, and to understand why these rules are so incredibly 
important and maybe set an example for others in this country, 
especially those who operate in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
  Mr. Speaker, on Wednesday, the Rules Committee met and reported a 
rule, House Resolution 1244, providing

[[Page H6062]]

for the consideration of H.R. 3884, the Marijuana Opportunity 
Reinvestment and Expungement Act, under a closed rule. The rule 
provides 1 hour of debate equally divided and controlled by the chair 
and ranking member of the Committee on the Judiciary. It self-executes 
a manager's amendment by Chairman Nadler, and it provides for one 
motion to recommit with or without instructions.
  Mr. Speaker, we are here today to continue our effort to reform our 
Nation's failed approach to the war on drugs, to put racial justice at 
the heart of our Nation's Federal cannabis policy, and to make 
restorative justice a reality for so many Americans. This is what the 
public has demanded for so long, that Congress address the broken 
status quo that allows the color of someone's skin to dictate the 
repercussions of their actions.
  This is not hyperbole, Mr. Speaker. Cannabis accounts for almost half 
of all drug arrests in our country--half. Most are arrested for 
possessing small amounts, not for selling or manufacturing anything.
  That is bad enough. But today in America, Mr. Speaker, you are nearly 
four times more likely to be arrested for cannabis if you are Black. 
Communities of color use cannabis at roughly the same rate as their 
White counterparts, but if you look like me, Mr. Speaker, you are far 
less likely to face the same penalties.
  I am not okay with that, and nobody should be. I am not okay with a 
system that treats those who have been convicted of minor cannabis 
offenses like they are some kind of drug kingpin. And I am not okay 
with a system that sends people to prison for cannabis-related offenses 
even in States where recreational cannabis use has been legalized.
  To do nothing about this is intolerable, and to pretend like this is 
a problem for communities of color to solve alone is inexcusable.
  America's failed war on drugs helped create this problem. It will 
take a national, holistic approach to resolve it.
  H.R. 3884 represents a major step forward. It complements other 
bipartisan criminal justice reform bills passed in this Congress and in 
the 115th Congress.
  This underlying bill removes cannabis from the Controlled Substances 
Act, decriminalizing it at the Federal level so States can set their 
own laws.
  It also puts a process in place to expunge prior convictions made in 
Federal courts and establishes services to help those convicted of 
cannabis-related crimes whose lives have been harmed by the war on 
drugs, because no lives should be destroyed by this failed policy.
  Finally, this bill also makes Small Business Administration funding 
available for legitimate cannabis-related businesses while helping 
ensure people of color can participate in this thriving industry.
  This is what beginning to reverse the failed war on drugs looks like, 
Mr. Speaker. It is a testament to all of those who have fought for a 
fresh and more effective approach year after year after year.
  Now, I have worked side by side with many of them in this effort 
since I was first elected to Congress back in 1996. For so long, we 
were told the same thing. We were told to wait, to wait, to wait. Well, 
cannabis-related amendments couldn't even get a fair fight on this 
floor under the prior Republican Congresses. Not a single one was ever 
made in order in the 112th, 113th, or 114th Congresses--not one. We 
could bring no bill to the floor related to cannabis. The only one made 
in order last Congress was an amendment to eradicate illegal grow 
operations on National Forest System land.
  Congress has stood idly by for too long as communities of color, in 
particular, were being torn apart. This majority, Mr. Speaker, is 
committed to doing something about it. The House has debated more 
amendments on cannabis policy last year than it did during my entire 20 
years in Congress, and now we are moving forward with the most sweeping 
reforms in generations. This is what a more responsive Congress looks 
  Now, some, particularly on the other side, have wondered why we are 
moving forward with these reforms now. We must soon fund the government 
for the next fiscal year and pass the annual defense bill. We are also 
trying to prod the Senate to get serious about a true COVID relief 
  Again, as I said earlier, we have a little bit of hopeful news, based 
on the conversation between the Speaker and the Senate majority leader. 
We have a lot to do in the waning days of this Congress, and I get 
that. But the answer is simple. This is not an either-or proposition. 
Congress, as I said before, can walk and chew gum at the same time.
  A recent survey found that nearly 60 percent of Americans support 
this underlying bill. That includes a majority of both Democrats and 
Republicans. The facts are clear, and the public wants Congress to act.
  The question is, what are we going to do about it?
  I think it is time for us to take a stand, to stand for restorative 
justice, to stand for racial justice, to stand for criminal justice 
reform, and to stand with the majority of Americans demanding reforms 
to our Nation's cannabis policy.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  I appreciate my friend from Massachusetts yielding me the customary 
30 minutes.
  Mr. Speaker, this may very well be the last rule I do down here on 
the floor of the House, and I was sad when Susan was reading from the 
rule because I have gotten to do some humdingers. We have done some 
serious legislating in the 10 years I have been in Congress. We have 
done some serious rulemaking in the 2 years Mr. McGovern has been 
chairman of the Rules Committee.
  Mr. Speaker, you can always tell when we have been burning the 
midnight oil in the Rules Committee because the rule will take a good 
7, 8, or 9 minutes to read here on the floor of the House. Why? Because 
getting good legislation done is a complicated, difficult thing to do. 
It involves a lot of give and take; it involves a lot of voices at the 
table; and it involves a lot of time in the Rules Committee to make 
that happen.
  Mr. Speaker, we are down here today surrounded by Purell wipes, hand 
sanitizer, and social distancing, and we are not here to talk about 
that COVID package that my friend from Massachusetts referenced. We are 
here to, sadly, participate in what has become a theme in this 
Congress, and that is folks will have the germ of a wonderful idea on 
the Democratic side of the aisle. They will nurture that idea in their 
Democratic Caucus, and they will put together all the parts of that 
idea they believe need to come together in their Democratic Caucus. 
Then, we will come to the House floor, and we will pass that idea with 
Democratic votes. Then, we will be vexed, truly vexed, about why that 
idea goes to the United States Senate and dies.
  I say truly vexed, Mr. Speaker. I have been here a long time. We have 
seen this happen. Leadership of both parties knows, when you put 
together an idea all by yourself, when you don't take the time to get 
all the voices in the room together, and when you don't take the time 
to build the strategic partnerships, then good ideas do die. Sometimes 
it is on the way to the other Chamber; sometimes it is in conference; 
and sometimes it is on the President's desk.

  We had numerous amendments offered to this bill. None but the 
manager's amendment was made in order. We had Republican advocates for 
many of the provisions in this bill speak of the opportunity to do 
something together but that those opportunities were missed along the 
road in the Judiciary Committee.
  I take my friend from Massachusetts' comments to heart when he is so 
enthusiastic by a conversation that our Speaker has had with the 
majority leader in the Senate. I, too, am excited about that because 
talking about what we have done all by ourselves in a partisan way 
doesn't lead to positive outcomes for my constituency. Our leadership 
in the Democratic-led House getting together with the leadership in the 
Senate, the Republican-led Senate, that kind of bipartisan partnership 
does lead to good outcomes for our constituents back home. I am hopeful 
that we will be able to see that come to fruition.

[[Page H6063]]

  Today, however, we do not have the COVID package. We have the 
Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act. Mr. Speaker, I 
have long said that we needed to have a bill like this on the floor of 
the House. My friend from Massachusetts tells me we have debated more 
marijuana amendments in the past 2 years than we have in the past 20 
years. I take him at his word that that is true. I don't think this is 
a topic that we have not been spending enough time on. I think it is a 
topic that has received more than its fair share of attention in this 
  The racial equities that my friend talks about deserve better than to 
be part of a partisan package that goes nowhere. The generational 
disparities that my friend from Massachusetts talks about deserve 
better than to be part of a package that has been cobbled together for 
the floor rather than built together for the President's desk.

                              {time}  1415

  I agree with absolutely every heartfelt comment my friend from 
Massachusetts shared, from the time being now, to the opportunities 
that have been wasted, to the inability to have these discussions when 
we need to and the ability that we have had recently to have them more.
  So to have all of that truth there to be wasted on a December 3 
package that will not be moving anywhere, I would say to my friend, I 
believe hurts me as much as I know it will hurt him. He does not go 
through these efforts to simply be a part of the motion; he goes 
through these efforts because he believes in the goal. I regret that 
this appears to be another messaging exercise in front of us today.
  NDAA, Mr. Speaker, National Defense Authorization Act, a bill that we 
have come together as Republicans and Democrats to speak with one voice 
on for over 60 years, still hangs out there, needs to be done by this 
year; funding of the Federal Government, not just because of all the 
healthcare items, but because of those more mundane items, from 
transportation to education to our veterans--all of those dollars need 
to be provided.
  Reauthorization of program after program, like the United States 
Coast Guard, for example, we have priority after priority after 
priority that this House still has left to accomplish, not in a 
partisan way, but in a unified way that can move through the United 
States Senate and on to the President's desk. I know we are going to 
get to these priorities, but it is not without some frustration that I 
find myself on the floor here again talking about bills that will not 
be on their way to the President's desk.
  I find myself talking in a disappointed tone with my friend from 
Massachusetts about opportunities that we have to make a difference for 
families, but opportunities that are going to be missed because of the 
way we have crafted it.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to defeat this rule and give us a 
chance to do better. In the absence of that, I also will have an 
opportunity to defeat the previous question and bring up some of those 
COVID packages that really can make a difference for our friends back 
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I am happy to yield 2 minutes to the 
gentlewoman from Pennsylvania (Ms. Scanlon), a distinguished member of 
the Rules Committee.
  Ms. SCANLON. Mr. Speaker, like my colleague, the distinguished member 
of the Committee on Rules from Georgia, I, too, hope that the renewed 
interest in both Houses in passing COVID relief yields fruit sooner 
rather than later. It does require that the Senate make it a priority, 
and I have been advised that the Senate's priority this afternoon once 
again is confirming another conservative judge. So we will both have to 
hold out hope as we move forward.
  Mr. Speaker, I am here today, pleased to rise in support of today's 
rule and the underlying legislation, the MORE Act.
  It becomes clearer by the day that the time is long overdue for the 
Federal Government to bring its marijuana policy into the 21st century.
  The current approach has failed our youth, has failed to stem more 
harmful drug usage, and, most notably, has failed communities of color 
across the United States. That is because, when it comes to marijuana, 
there are two justice systems in the United States: a gentler, more 
understanding system mostly available to White Americans, and a 
punitive, less-forgiving system primarily enforced against Black and 
Brown Americans.
  Mr. Speaker, this isn't justice. This is not who we must be as a 
  Thousands of people, mostly younger Black and Brown men, remain 
incarcerated, while a growing number of States, including Pennsylvania, 
have decriminalized and legalized marijuana for medicinal and 
recreational use.
  The question is no longer whether we are living in a world if we will 
legalize cannabis. States across the country are leading the way and 
demonstrating how to safely, responsibly, and effectively regulate 
cannabis for medicinal and recreational use.
  Mr. Speaker, the MORE Act will decriminalize marijuana by removing it 
from the Controlled Substances Act and apply retroactively to prior and 
pending marijuana-related convictions. The bill will also require 
Federal courts to expunge prior convictions and require courts to 
consider resentencing hearings for those still under supervision.
  The MORE Act will not fix all of the injustices caused by the 
obsolete and ineffective approach of the Federal Government towards 
cannabis, but it is a good and long-overdue start.
  Mr. Speaker, I urge all of my colleagues to side with justice and 
side with common sense to support this rule and the underlying 
  Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, it is now my pleasure to yield such time as 
he may consume to the gentleman from Oklahoma (Mr. Cole), one of our 
former colleagues on the House Budget Committee, currently the leader 
of the Republican side of the House Committee on Rules.
  Mr. COLE. Mr. Speaker, I thank my very good friend from Georgia for 
  Normally, when I come down to this floor, it is to debate the rule 
with my good friend, the distinguished chairman of the Committee on 
Rules, and it is to disagree with the legislation, in many cases. And 
at least that is true: I am opposed to the rule and opposed to the 
underlying legislation.
  Mr. Speaker, the real purpose that I am here today is something that 
my friend from Georgia referred to oft too fleetingly in his opening 
comments, and that is that this may be his last appearance managing a 
rule of the floor of the House.
  Now, I had the good fortune to serve in Congress throughout my 
friend's distinguished 10-year career. We served, as he said, on the 
Committee on Budget together. We have had the opportunity to serve on 
both the majority and the minority on the Committee on Rules together. 
I was very proud to be a member of the Republican Study Committee--
still am--during his tenure as our chairman.

  Mr. Speaker, I have to say, probably something that my good friend, 
the chairman, will agree with, we regret very much that my friend has 
made the decision to leave Congress and go pursue--and, I am sure, 
successfully--other things.
  We regret it because   Rob Woodall has been, throughout his 10 years, 
a Member's Member, a person whom I have never heard say one ill word 
about anyone on either side, even while vigorously disagreeing with 
that person; a person who has made us proud with the civility and the 
decency with which he has conducted his office and discharged his 
duties; somebody that I think everyone on the Committee on Rules not 
only likes and admires, but considers an invaluable part of the 
Committee on Rules because he manages to make his points and bring out 
the best in our committee and, again, do so in a way that is always 
civil, that is always appropriate, and, frankly, that is quite often 
humorous and diffuses difficult situations.
  If we had more Members in the United States House of Representatives 
like   Rob Woodall, we would be a better body than we are--and I think 
both sides would agree on that. He knows how to conduct debate and 
argument. He knows the process. He knows how to work through the 
process in a civil manner. I have seen him do it in the majority. I 
have seen him do it in the minority.

[[Page H6064]]

  I could not be prouder of him and the service he has rendered to this 
institution. I could not be, frankly, sorrier about losing a colleague 
who I think has contributed each and every day.
  Now, Rob was the chief of staff, Mr. Speaker, before he came here, to 
one of our predecessors, John Linder, who also was a member of the 
Committee on Rules. So he came to this committee really understanding 
how it works, much like the chairman, who had a very similar career 
pattern himself, working as a staffer then coming on and now, 
obviously, rising to the preeminent position on the committee as our 
distinguished chairman. He has seen a lot of Members work through this 
process as well, just as I have, and I suspect he values my friend, 
even though he is on the other side, as deeply as I do.
  Mr. Speaker, I just want to say, for the record, to my friend, Rob: 
We are going to miss you. We are going to miss you on the committee. 
But much more importantly, this institution is going to miss you. It is 
going to miss your civility. It is going to miss your decency. It is 
going to miss your industry. It is going to miss the manner in which 
you represent all of us to your constituents and, frankly, when you 
speak on this floor to the people of the United States of America. You 
have every reason to be proud of the career that you have built here. 
You could never be as proud of your career as all of us are of you and 
the manner in which you have conducted yourself.
  My friend, this may be the last rule; although, I have got to tell 
you, if I can sneak you in one more time, I would. It is like we are 
losing, I think, our best pitcher, and if I can find one more game to 
stick him in, believe me, I will. But I want to tell you how much I 
admire you, how much I like you, how much I revere your career, how 
much I will miss you as a Member and a friend.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I associate myself with the remarks of the distinguished 
ranking member, Mr. Cole.
  We are going to miss you, Rob, and this may be my final opportunity 
to be able to yield to you during a rules debate. The end of Congress 
is obviously rapidly approaching, and you have decided to retire from 
Congress after a very distinguished career. We have spent countless 
hours not only up in the Committee on Rules, but together on this floor 
debating many contentious issues. My distinguished friend from Georgia 
is always very focused, and he is always right on message and he is 
really quite impressive.
  Mr. Speaker, every once in a while, my mother watches these 
proceedings, and she will always say: You know, that Woodall guy, he is 
a very good debater.
  And I always say: Well, what about me? I mean, do you have anything 
nice to say about your son?
  But the bottom line is I have had some of my best fights with you, 
and we have disagreed on a lot of issues, but we have disagreed without 
being disagreeable.
  The Committee on Rules has to deal with a lot of contentious issues. 
We have dealt with our share of contentious issues in this last 
Congress, but I have really taken great comfort and great inspiration 
by the example of you, Mr. Woodall and Mr. Cole and others who 
understand the incredible nature and the incredible majesty of this 
institution that we get to serve in. So even among these contentious 
debates, you have never, ever drawn us down. It has always been in a 
way that is respectful and that honors your convictions and your 
  We have been together early in the morning; we have been together in 
the middle of the afternoon, late at night. We meet a lot in the 
Committee on Rules, but Mr. Woodall's good nature and his sense of 
humor, whether it is intentional or unintentional, makes it a little 
more interesting and, I dare say, makes it a lot more fun.
  So I want to take this opportunity to thank you for the many years of 
distinguished service, both your near decade of service as a Member of 
Congress and before that, as Mr. Cole pointed out, your service working 
for Congressman John Linder, who was also on the Committee on Rules.
  You have brought with you some incredible people as well. I see your 
longtime Committee on Rules staffer Janet Rossi on the floor here 
today. She is here to honor your service, as well as the others who are 
here today. And I just want to thank her for all of her work in the 
Committee on Rules as well over these years.
  I always think it is really hard to be a staff member and work for us 
on the Committee on Rules because you have to listen to all of us go on 
forever and ever and ever.
  Mr. Speaker, let me just close with this, and that is I think you and 
I come from different parts of the country and we have very different 
points of view on our politics, but to me, politics should be about 
conviction, not about political opportunism or flip-flopping with 
whatever way the prevailing winds are going.

  What I have always admired about you is that you feel strongly about 
what you believe in. You know what you believe in and you fight for 
your convictions, whether it is popular or not popular. And I agree 
with Mr. Cole when he said that this institution would be better served 
if we had more Members like you.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to say thank you, and I hope you come by the 
Committee on Rules next time you come back to Washington, and maybe if 
I get lost and I am in Georgia, I will stop by your firm and we can 
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. 
Jackson Lee).
  Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from 
Massachusetts as chair of the Committee on Rules, and I collectively 
thank the Committee on Rules for its diligent work on the MORE Act, and 
that is H.R. 3884.
  Let me, as well, thank Jerry Nadler, chairman of the Committee on the 
Judiciary, for his great work and, of course, two outstanding members, 
Barbara Lee and Earl Blumenauer, for their consistent and persistent 
  Mr. Speaker, this morning I spoke to a representative of the law 
enforcement community, and I indicated to him that we are about to move 
forward on the decriminalizing of marijuana at the Federal level, 
eliminating, federally, the criminalization of marijuana and cannabis. 
I indicated that it was not to undermine law enforcement and not to 
promote drug use but, in essence, to bring about justice and to provide 
for the right kind of roadway for what over a majority of Americans, 
Republicans and Democrats, want.
  It is an important legislative initiative. It provides a vehicle for 
sales tax and a vehicle that allows businesses in the marijuana 
business to be able to bank legally. It provides for a reinvestment 
program, an opportunity grant program, and, as well, an expungement 
program governed by Federal courts.

                              {time}  1430

  It ensures that there are no sales made to those under 21. It deals 
with substance abuse. This is a real step forward in bringing America 
together, and I know that my colleagues tomorrow on the floor of the 
House will recognize that is what we are doing.
  As many people know, the States that have decriminalized can 
continue; those who have not can continue their laws as well.
  So I ask my colleagues to support H.R. 3884 when it comes to the 
floor. Let us do it in unity.
  I, too, want to take the opportunity, very briefly. Mr. Woodall, I 
think we have seen each other quite frequently, either on this floor in 
debate or in the Rules Committee. Let me echo the generosity and 
cordialness of your persistent intellect in challenging each and every 
one of us who came to make our case. That is all we can do as Americans 
and Representatives, is to make our case.
  I join you. Let us work together for a COVID-19 relief package and 
have that as our legacy as we leave this place. But I wanted to make 
sure you knew that Texans appreciate your great leadership. Georgians 
and Texans have a good relationship. Congratulations to you. Thank you 
for your service.
  Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the gentlewoman from 
Arizona (Mrs. Lesko), a member of the Judiciary Committee and the Rules 
  Mrs. LESKO. Mr. Speaker, first, before I talk about the bill at hand, 

[[Page H6065]]

want to say just what an honor it has been serving with you on the 
Rules Committee, Mr. Woodall.
  You know, I didn't know Mr. Woodall, really, before I served on the 
Rules Committee with him, and I found him to be very witty, a very good 
debater as well. You do it in such a nice way. You really win the 
debates, but you do it with a smile, and you do it in a friendly way. I 
really appreciate the way you conduct yourself and how you actually win 
arguments, but you are very friendly about it.
  I don't know what your future holds, but I wish you all of the best. 
You are extremely talented, and it really is an honor to serve with 
  Mr. Speaker, let me talk about the bill. I find it crazy, quite 
frankly, that the American people and small businesses are hurting, 
because of the COVID crisis, and they need COVID relief, and we are not 
concentrating on a bipartisan COVID relief stimulus package right now 
that will actually be signed into law.
  I find it just incredulous that, instead, my Democratic colleagues 
are focusing on legalizing marijuana nationwide.
  Sometimes I think that the world is turned upside down, when you have 
a State--I think Oregon--that bans plastic straws but legalizes cocaine 
and heroin. It is just insane to me and I think to a majority of my 
constituents, whether they be Republican, Independent, or Democrat, 
quite frankly.
  It is interesting to me--I sit on the Rules Committee and the 
Judiciary Committee--that on a lot of these tobacco bills that the 
Democrats have been promoting, it says, okay, we don't want flavored 
tobacco. But yet on marijuana, they don't seem to care about that. They 
don't care.
  In this bill, there is nothing about we shouldn't have flavored 
edibles or candies or brownies that would be enticing to children. As 
far as I know, that is not in this bill at all. Yet, we want to ban 
that with tobacco. This makes absolutely no sense to me and no sense, I 
think, to the American public.
  At a time when parents are trying to get their children back into 
school with an in-person option, because their children are falling so 
far behind because of the lockdowns of schools, here we are with a bill 
that will make it easier for these same children to get marijuana 
  I am sorry. I just don't get it. I don't understand the motivation. I 
am absolutely opposed to this bill.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to respond to my good friend from Arizona. I am 
not sure she was on the floor earlier when I announced that, finally, 
Mitch McConnell seems willing to want to negotiate a deal, not only on 
an omnibus bill, but he seems to be interested in talking about how we 
can get a COVID relief bill. This notwithstanding the fact that for the 
last over six months, he has held everything up. We have actually sent 
two major COVID relief bills over to the Senate. So I am hopeful. I am 
going to try to be hopeful that, in fact, this is for real.
  I would also say that the focus of this bill is on unfair, unequal, 
and racist drug laws. I mean, as I said in my opening statement, if 
people want to know what systemic racism is, look at how our drug laws 
are enforced in this country.
  If you look like me and you were caught with a small amount of 
cannabis, you would probably get off with a very, very light sentence, 
if anything. But if the color of your skin were black or brown, it is a 
whole different story.
  I mean, our system of drug laws is what systemic racism is in this 
country. No matter what you think about, you know, States legalizing 
marijuana or not legalizing marijuana, or whatever, I think we all 
ought to be committed to making sure there is equal justice under our 
  People's lives were ruined because of the color of their skin and how 
our drug laws were enforced. It is wrong. The time has long since 
passed for us to do something. That is what this is all about.
  So we will work on the COVID relief bill, and I hope that Mitch 
McConnell is sincere in what he said to Speaker Pelosi. I believe we 
will come together on an omnibus bill to keep our Government running, 
but we also need to address issues like this.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the gentleman from Oregon (Mr. 
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman's comments 
and his courtesy.
  Listening to my colleague from Arizona sort of made my head hurt. 
This legislation does not legalize cannabis across the country. What it 
does is it stops the Federal Government from interfering with what 
States have decided to do.
  No small amount of irony, her State just approved legalizing 
cannabis. And this legislation would prevent the Federal Government 
from interfering with what her voters decided.
  I have been waiting for this historic moment for a long time. I was 
in the Oregon legislature when we were the first State to decriminalize 
cannabis. I have been working from Bangor, Maine, to Santa Barbara ever 
since trying to end the failed prohibition of cannabis.
  It is happening today, because it has been demanded by the voters, by 
facts, by the momentum behind this issue.
  It is now a $17 billion industry. It employs 250,000 people. It is 
powerful in terms of economic development.
  More important, as my friend from Massachusetts said, this is an 
opportunity to strike a blow against the failed war on drugs that has 
literally destroyed hundreds of thousands of young Black lives. Black 
people use cannabis no more frequently than Whites, but they are 
arrested about four more times, and in some parts of the country, it is 
much, much greater.
  We are still arresting or citing 600,000 people a year for something 
that the majority of Americans now think should be legal. That is why 
the voters in this country took it into their own hands. That is why 
today, 99 percent of the American population have some access to 
legalized cannabis.
  This will help us set up a system moving forward. It will stop the 
interference by the Federal Government for research, for banking, for 
being able to promote an opportunity to make this work properly and not 
interfere with what voters in States have decided to do in the best 
interest of their public.
  I really appreciate our being at this point. The legislation was 
carefully crafted over the course of two years with the Judiciary 
Committee. It comes on the heels of other legislation, like the Safe 
Banking Act, and we have research legislation that is moving forward. 
Five States, including Arizona, just approved it.
  Mr. Speaker, this is a historic moment. It is an important step 
towards rationalizing the policy, towards racial justice, towards 
health, so that maybe the parents in my neighborhood don't have to 
formulate cannabis medicine to stop their babies from being tortured by 
extreme seizure disorder.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Yarmuth). The time of the gentleman has 
  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield an additional 1 minute to the 
gentleman from Oregon (Mr. Blumenauer).
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, that is why a number of States that 
haven't yet legalized cannabis have passed legislation to legalize 
  This is an opportunity for us to right this historic wrong. This is 
an opportunity for us to turn the page and move forward without Federal 
interference so that we are not outsourcing the product development to 
Canada or Israel. It is an opportunity for us to realize the promise 
while we realize the notion of racial justice.
  I urge, in the strongest possible terms, for my colleagues to get in 
step with the vast majority of the American public, with what has 
happened at the State level, to be able to make this safe, affordable, 
and healthy, something that will make a big difference for people 
across the country. It is something for which time is long overdue, and 
I herald the day and hope that my colleagues will vote for it.
  Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, if we defeat the previous question, I will 
amend the rule to allow for consideration of a bill that will assist 
our struggling small businesses as we enter the winter months and folks 
are anticipating increased risks of having to shut their doors.

[[Page H6066]]

  Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to insert the text of my 
amendment in the Congressional Record immediately prior to the vote on 
the previous question.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Georgia?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from 
Ohio (Mr. Chabot), the ranking Republican on the Small Business 
Committee, a gentleman who has had great experience bringing together 
bipartisan groups in an effort to make a difference for families back 
  Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Speaker, I want to reiterate the comments of the 
previous speaker on our side, the gentlewoman from Arizona. Mr. Woodall 
has made great contributions to this body in the decade that he has 
served here.
  He happens to be a classmate of mine. We came together in 2010. That 
was his first time as a Member of Congress. It was my second time 
around, because I lost back in `08 after being here 14 years. So I have 
seen Mr. Woodall in operation here for the last decade. He has done a 
tremendous job on behalf of not only his constituents but for the 
people of this great Nation. I want to thank him for his dedication and 
hard work for the people that he represents and for the people of this 
Nation overall.

  Mr. Speaker, 2 weeks ago, I spoke on this very floor urging action on 
behalf of our Nation's 31 million small businesses, as the ranking 
member of the House Small Business Committee, formerly the Chair of 
that committee for two terms.
  I said then that there was no better way to celebrate Small Business 
Saturday than to deliver much-needed aid, again, to the small 
restaurants and manufacturers and shops that are many of them just 
hanging on by a thread.
  That assistance could come in the form of the Paycheck Protection 
Program, the PPP. That program has supported over 50 million jobs 
across this great Nation. That is over 50 million people who didn't 
have to worry about how they were going to pay their bills or how they 
were going to support their families, because of this bipartisan 
program that we passed here in this body.

                              {time}  1445

  Unfortunately, that program stopped accepting applications almost 4 
months ago, back on August 8, but still has over $130 billion remaining 
in its coffers. Millions of small firms across the country have 
utilized the PPP program to keep their shops open, to keep paying their 
employees, and to keep serving their communities.
  To me, it seems like common sense to open the program back up. After 
all, it was initially crafted, as I mentioned, in a bipartisan way, 
Republicans and Democrats actually working together. It was bicameral, 
the House and the Senate working together, and then the administration, 
obviously, signing it into law. And that program has proven to be 
overwhelmingly successful and saved so many jobs all over this Nation, 
including in my district back in Cincinnati.
  So I introduced a bill that would do just that and provide targeted 
assistance to small businesses that truly still need help. 
Unfortunately, the Democratic leadership in this body has blocked 
efforts to even have a vote on this legislation, not just once or twice 
or three times or a dozen times, but 40 times, 4-0. Forty times the 
Democratic leadership has blocked consideration or having a vote on 
  Because the Democrats would also support this. You would have 
Democrats and Republicans, once again, working together and passing 
this and helping small business people all across the country and, most 
importantly, the people and families that are supported by them.
  As we all know, many small businesses are still uncertain about their 
future. Many are on the verge of closing their doors permanently. If 
that continues to happen, communities all across our great Nation will 
be absolutely devastated.
  This should have been dealt with months ago. But apparently our 
Democratic leadership feels it is more urgent to vote on legislation to 
legalize pot and to deal with lions and tigers than they do to help 
those small businesses that really need the help. That is just a shame.
  Today, if we defeat the previous question, we make improvements to 
the Paycheck Protection Program, and finally get additional targeted 
relief to the small businesses all across this country that are 
counting on us. Let's not let them down.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, let me just say to the gentleman from Ohio, I think we 
all know what needs to happen, and that is that the Senate majority 
leader needs to be willing to come to the table and sit down and work 
out a deal.
  We heard today that the Speaker has had a constructive conversation 
with him. Hopefully we will end up with something that, quite frankly, 
is going to help a lot more people than what the gentleman is 
suggesting here. What we do know is that nobody has been working harder 
than the Speaker of the House to try to get a COVID relief bill. She 
met around the clock with Secretary Mnuchin, with anybody in this 
administration who would be willing to come to the table.
  Our problem has been the Senate. Now, that may be changing today. I 
hope it is. But I would also say that we have sent over two major COVID 
relief bills, which, unfortunately, the gentleman voted against, which 
would help not just small businesses, but help our schools, help our 
first responders; help with PPE for people who, quite frankly, are 
running short right now as we see another surge; help support our 
cities and towns that are struggling; and help support our restaurants.
  Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Speaker, I think about how many times the gentleman from Ohio has 
been down here to do exactly what he has just done, which is to say: I 
have a bill that is ready to go, a bill that I know will get bipartisan 
support here on the floor of the House, a bill my friends in the Senate 
will be anxious to move, and a bill that I know the President will put 
his signature on.
  I appreciate his efforts in that, and I know it is not a Johnny-come-
lately commitment to these struggling businesses. I remember when we 
were sitting down trying to work out that very first package in the 
spring, and the very productive role that the gentleman from Ohio 
played in bringing people together to get that done.
  You remember that, Mr. Speaker.
  We didn't have a bunch of debates on the floor of the House, a bunch 
of previous questions to defeat, a bunch of amendments designed to 
confuse or distract. No. We worked it all out together, both sides. 
Both sides, politically here in the House, both sides bicamerally here 
in the Congress, both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue.
  Because we all felt that sense of urgency to get something done, and 
we did it.
  Mr. Speaker, I tell constituents back home that the thing most 
freshmen are going to learn in the first 6 months that they didn't know 
when they got here is how hardworking and conscientious all of their 
colleagues turn out to be. All you see are these faces on FOX News or 
MSNBC fussing with one another, but the truth is that behind the scenes 
it is a very powerful orchestra of men and women trying to get the 
people's business done.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to say to my friend from Massachusetts, first and 
probably most importantly, I wish he was not chairman of the Rules 
Committee. I wish a Republican was chairman of the Rules Committee 
because the American people felt in their wisdom that Republicans 
should be running this institution. There are a lot of reasons why it 
didn't happen. I am not here to place blame on that today.
  But I will say to the gentleman that if it cannot be a Republican who 
leads the Rules Committee, how pleased I am that the gentleman has led 
the Rules Committee, because his love for this institution far 
transcends whatever the political passions of the day are.
  The Rules Committee has had to do a lot of difficult decisionmaking 
in this Congress, Mr. Speaker. I wish we did not have proxy voting in 
this institution today. We do. That is the product of a Rules Committee 
effort. In many

[[Page H6067]]

cases, the effort of the wisdom of Solomon trying to figure out how to 
protect an institution and all of its practices, where we are just 
caretakers of this institution, going to pass it on to the next 
generation, while we have had to grapple with some challenges that we 
never anticipated grappling with, and hopefully will never have to 
grapple with again.

  Mr. Speaker, the gentleman from Massachusetts has brought an 
incredible amount of not just leadership, but a great amount of love 
for this institution, and for the members of his committee. And I don't 
want to embarrass the gentleman by pointing out some of these 
circumstances, but I can go through a list of times this year where the 
gentleman from Massachusetts stood not on behalf of the Democratic 
Caucus, but on behalf of the Rules Committee against some other 
undercurrents in the United States Congress, to stand up on behalf of 
his 13 members and the work that we have to get done there together. 
That's never an easy thing to do, and I want to tell the gentleman how 
much I appreciate and notice those efforts.
  Mr. Speaker, to do the really big things that we all know need to get 
done, not the least of which are on the committee you and I serve on, 
the Budget Committee, it takes strong men and women, men and women of 
conviction, but also men and women of faith, not just faith in their 
Lord, but faith in this institution that we can bring out the very best 
in one another as opposed to bringing out the very worst.
  Far too often we have bills like the one before us today that could 
be bills that we were talking about with one voice.
  When is the right time to decide that edible marijuana for our 
children should be banned at the Federal level? Is it after 50 States 
have grappled with these decisions? Is it before?
  Well, we have made that decision in terms of alcohol. We have made 
that decision in terms of tobacco. It seems like the easy time to make 
that would be now. But we have not made that decision in the underlying 
bill. We have not made those amendments in order.
  Mr. Speaker, I said at the beginning, and I will say here at the end: 
I am glad we are taking up this legislation.
  It offends me, as one who loves the law, that we ask Federal law 
enforcement officers to enforce one set of rules while the State and 
local law enforcement officers may be enforcing a completely different 
set of rules. It offends me that we would put Federal law enforcement 
officers in harm's way for an industry that, as my friend from 
Massachusetts pointed out, is a multibillion-dollar cash cow legalized 
by State jurisdictions across the country.
  I am troubled by having two sets of laws in this country. Laws we 
choose to follow and laws we choose not to follow. This is the 
institution to solve that. Having this discussion for the first time is 
a step in the right direction. Having this conversation end today, 
because it is a partisan package that is not well thought through 
serves none of us.
  Mr. Speaker, I would again encourage my colleagues to defeat the rule 
so we don't go down that road.
  Mr. Speaker, my friend from Massachusetts mentioned Janet Rossi on my 
team. I have Nick Scoufaras on my team, sitting beside me. We all are 
surrounded by great people that we get to work with day in and day out.
  When you go to work for a member on the Rules Committee, that means 
you will work early, and you will work late, and you can work often. It 
is an amazing opportunity that we have to serve in this institution. It 
is also an amazing opportunity that folks that we get to surround 
ourselves with have to serve in this institution.
  There is no more humbling space than having someone who can do 
anything they want to with his or her life say, Rob, I will join you; I 
will sit here with you; we will work side by side and we will 
accomplish things together.
  While I appreciate the very heartfelt comments from my friend from 
Massachusetts and my friend from Oklahoma, one thing that occurs to me 
on my way out the door is how much less one would be able to do without 
all the greatness that folks are surrounded by.
  Mr. Speaker, I get to thank Nick because he is here. I can thank 
Janet because she is here. But I would just say to each of my 
colleagues who are here, we are all so lucky folks are surrounding us 
in order to help us all lift this great Nation up. We often get sucked 
into the drumbeat of whatever the activity of the day is if you have 
not had an opportunity to recognize the greatness of those staffers 
around you, and occasionally even the Members around you, even those 
who sit on the other side of the aisle.
  Mr. Speaker, there is a lot to be concerned about in America today, 
but a lot of opportunities for optimism. And many of those 
opportunities sit here, and sit here, and sit there, and sit here. I am 
grateful to be a part of that.
  Mr. Speaker, I would ask my colleagues to defeat the previous 
question so that we can bring the Chabot legislation to the floor. If 
we can't defeat the previous question, defeat the rule so that we can 
go back and make sure all voices are heard.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Georgia for his kind words. I 
almost feel like I want to yield him more time to have the compliments 
keep coming.
  The bottom line is that even though we disagree on a lot of issues, 
and sometimes in our debates you make me want to pull the remaining 
last two strands of hair out of my head, the reason why I sometimes 
feel that way is because you are passionate, you are smart, and you are 
effective. You have served your constituency incredibly well, and you 
have served this institution incredibly well.
  Mr. Speaker, going back to what Mr. Cole said at the very beginning, 
I think this place would benefit from more people of your caliber. And 
even though you would like to demote me to ranking member instead of 
chairman, I am still going to miss you, and I thank you for your 
friendship. You are a good man, and we are going to miss you a lot.

                              {time}  1500

  Mr. Speaker, the underlying bill deserves to be considered and 
passed. As I said earlier, nearly 60 percent of the American public 
supports this bill. A majority of Democrats and a majority of 
Republicans throughout the Nation want this bill passed.
  Prior Republican Congresses were apparently fine with turning a deaf 
ear to the will of the people. They blocked virtually all cannabis-
related measures from getting a vote on the floor year after year.
  But this majority is not. We believe in listening to the people we 
represent. We believe in actually doing something about the war on 
drugs. Its failures have been staring us in the face for a very long 
  Americans came together in record numbers following George Floyd's 
death to fight against systemic racism. Combating that means, among 
other things, reforming our policies toward cannabis. These laws have 
been used to disproportionately lock up people of color for decades. It 
is past time we showed the moral courage to do something about it.
  This is a historic moment. Let us seize this chance. Let us pass this 
bill. I urge everyone to vote ``yes'' on the previous question, and I 
urge a vote of ``yes'' on the rule.
  The material previously referred to by Mr. Woodall is as follows:

                   Amendment to House Resolution 1244

       At the end of the resolution, add the following:
       Sec. 2. Immediately upon adoption of this resolution, the 
     House shall proceed to the consideration in the House of the 
     bill (H.R. 8265) to amend the Small Business Act and the 
     CARES Act to establish a program for second draw loans and 
     make other modifications to the paycheck protection program, 
     and for other purposes. All points of order against 
     consideration of the bill are waived. The bill shall be 
     considered as read. All points of order against provisions in 
     the bill are waived. The previous question shall be 
     considered as ordered on the bill and on any amendment 
     thereto to final passage without intervening motion except: 
     (1) one hour of debate equally divided and controlled by the 
     chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Small 
     Business; and (2) one motion to recommit.
       Sec. 3. Clause 1(c) of rule XIX shall not apply to the 
     consideration of H.R. 8265.
  Mr. McGOVERN. Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time, and I 
move the previous question on the resolution.

[[Page H6068]]

  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. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to section 3 of House Resolution 
965, the yeas and nays are ordered.
  Pursuant to clause 8 of rule XX, further proceedings on this question 
are postponed.