Monday, September 22, 2008
MICA: Trashy political non sequitur interrupts debate on security for former Vice Presidents
[Congressional Record: September 15, 2008 (House)]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
FORMER VICE PRESIDENT PROTECTION ACT OF 2008
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and
concur in the Senate amendments to the bill (H.R. 5938) to amend title
18, United States Code, to provide secret service protection to former
Vice Presidents, and for other purposes
The Clerk read the title of the bill.
The text of the Senate amendments is as follows:
Mr. ISSA. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the
gentleman from Florida (Mr. Mica).
Mr. MICA. Mr. Speaker and my colleagues, I don't rise in opposition
to the Former Vice President Protection Act; I appreciate the work that
has been done by the committee on this measure. I don't come here to
deride any of their efforts. It's legislation that we probably need to
But I do have to say that I just returned from my district in Florida
that extends all the way from the suburbs of Orlando to Jacksonville
city limits and has the suburbs on the south of Jacksonville through
six counties, 32 cities. I spent a wonderful weekend with my
constituents, more than a dozen meetings, probably saw more than 1,000
folks this past weekend, enjoyed being home, Florida sun, actually,
just a beautiful weekend.
But I have to tell you, my colleagues, from one end of my district,
and my house is just within a few blocks of the southern border, all
the way to the Jacksonville city limits, traveling through most of
those six counties, not one person came to me and said, Mr. Mica, go
back to Washington, pass the Vice Presidential Protection Act. But I
will tell you that everywhere I went there was one thing on people's
mind, and that's the cost of energy.
With the storms, our heart-felt thoughts and prayers go to the people
of Texas and all the area that was hit along the coast and up through
the heartland of America this past few days. Another natural disaster,
my area was hit some time ago by three hurricanes. We have had
tornadoes, and we have had floods. We all have to deal with those.
From that hurricane that we saw hit the coast, that had immediate
impact in that we had, unfortunately, some price adjustments, some
price gouging by people taking advantage of the situation with just the
slight turnoff of the refineries and delay and production of energy.
As I traveled up and down my district, some of the gas stations
closed early. Many of them had plastic bags over the lower cost grade
of fuel. People were concerned about energy.
I am not talking about people, and I have some very wealthy people on
the south end in the suburbs and in the north end, that don't have to
worry about $4 and $5 fuel costs per gallon. I am talking about working
men and women, single parents, people struggling, retirees that are
trying to pay their bills.
Again, none of them talked to me about passing a vice presidential
protection act, but they said, Congressman Mica, go back to Washington,
and whether the cameras and lights are on, and whether the gallery is
full or empty, whether the press is here, or whatever the subject, you
bring, as our elected representative to the people's House, the House
of Representatives, our concern that we want our government, our
Congress, our House of Representatives and the United States Senate to
act to pass a comprehensive energy plan.
Now, they get it out there. They understand that Congress has that
responsibility, and it has the ability to do that.
Now, I served as a leader of the Transportation Committee, and let me
tell you how quickly this place can work if it wants to. I have agreed
with Mr. Oberstar, my Democrat counterpart. He is the Chair of the
Transportation Committee; I am the Republican leader. I agreed on a
Friday to introduce legislation which we agreed to, again, on a Friday.
On a Monday, we introduced it in the House. On a Tuesday, we passed it
through the House of Representatives. On a Wednesday we passed it
through the United States Senate. On a Thursday night at 7 o'clock, the
President signed it into law.
After 9/11 we came together in a national emergency. Now, we didn't
have a terrorist hit, but we had a national emergency. Our people are
hurting, people are hurting. It's the folks that the other side of the
aisle claim to be trying to be the advocates for, and they have been
standing in the way.
I have been around this place for more than two decades. I come from the most bipartisan family since 1889 to serve in the House of
Representatives. I have never seen the House closed or Members denied
the opportunity to discuss in a time of national crisis, and we have a
crisis on our hands. Energy is not only affecting the price of gas, if
you haven't been to the supermarket lately, my friends in the House,
anyone who is in elected office who may not get to the supermarket, I
advise you to get to the supermarket and see the sticker shock that the
same folks are seeing, exorbitant prices at the fuel pump people are
paying for average goods just to try to keep food on their table.
So we have a crisis. I have never seen a time when we weren't even
allowed to bring an issue that would deal with a crisis, and here we
know need a comprehensive approach. It's not just drilling, although I
have a record way back to my days on the floor of the legislature of
promoting responsible exploration, development of our domestic
Sometimes it was a pretty lonely caucus that I belonged to. I was the
only member from the Florida delegation, Democrat or Republican, to
support us keeping energy independent in a responsible manner. Maybe I
was ahead of my time, but I didn't want us to become dependent on
foreign energy. That's where we are right now.
They have got us right where they want us. When you have a natural
disaster, like we had this weekend, it drives speculation. It drives
the cost up. It drove the availability up, because there is nothing
like driving to a gas station and seeing a plastic bag over all of the
pumps and no fuel available.
I am disappointed. Again, I don't want to detract, what this
committee is doing is a responsible act, but no one asked me to come
here to pass a Vice Presidential protection act. But I am telling you,
they told me to come back to Washington to, to stay in Washington, to
work in Washington, and, in a bipartisan fashion, to pass all of the
They get it, it's drilling, and we are not talking about the politics
of drilling, and I have seen the politics of drilling in my own State
of Florida for years. That was bad politics, and it got us in this bad
What we need to do with extracting oil or gas or natural resources
from off our shores is use the latest technology and base our
exploration and development on sound science and good practices that do
not harm the environment. Don't tell me you can't do it, you can do it.
We can do it. We can extract it.
Why should we be dependent on the Mid East, Nigeria, Venezuela, and
other foreign sources of energy? Folks, it doesn't make sense.
But you know what? The American people got it. They have been busy
out there. They are trying to raise a family. They are trying to put
food on the table. They are trying to send their kids to school. They
are struggling to keep their jobs in a depressed market right now, and
all they want is a little help from the people they sent here to do
They get it about drilling. They get it about alternative sources.
You know, just drilling isn't going to do it, and just developing our
resources, which we can do, and we can do it in an expedited fashion.
But they know the long-term fix is to get off that, to have alternative
I submit that the proposal by the Republicans, the American Energy
Act, does just that. It's all of the above. Somehow we have gotten it.
Now we can't afford a sham in coming forward, and you know, some
people are looking for political cover. They have an election around
the corner. We have got to have a vote on something to make it look
like we are doing something. But that does not solve the problem.
I plead, on behalf of those people that I saw this weekend in the
Seventh Congressional District, to do something meaningful, to do a
comprehensive energy act. It will start to solve some of our problems.
We can start becoming energy independent. We can lower the price of
fuel and food that people depend on to feed their families. Then we can
start building this economy again. The great opportunity that I have
had in the last year and a half, leading the Transportation Committee,
is not just see the projects and things going on in my district, but
see the magnificence of this country from sea to shining sea.
This is an incredible country, and there isn't any challenge that we
have never been able to undertake and also win at. We are creative
people. We can do it.
All those people out there that are working so hard, sending their
money here, relying on us to do something, to be their representative
in this governing body that has so much say, let's just do our job. Put
the politics aside, put November aside, put these people forward.
That's all they are asking is for us to do our job.
So I stayed here when the lights went out last week until I had the
opportunity to speak, and C-SPAN was turned off and the Speaker had
the place was closed down. I came back early today to tell you that
they did not ask me, not one of them, to pass the Former Vice President
Protection Act, but they did ask me, please do something about our
energy, Mr. Mica. You are our Representative. Go back there and tell
them that we need their help to get the economy going, to get this
situation under control so we can give a great opportunity to our
children, to our hopes and dreams for this great country.
I know we can do it. I know we can do it. Our predecessors have done
it. I don't know why we are not doing it.
I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. I reserve the balance of my time to close.
Reprobate JOHN MICA is losing his mind, I reckon. He'd talk a starving dog off a meatwagon. It's time to flush the Johns -- John Mica and John McCain.