Gohmert Reflects on 2015 Battles in the U.S. House of Representatives
Sen. Bill Ratliff once told me the old adage, ‘It’s amazing what you can get done if you don’t care who gets the credit.’ He was so right. Knowing that I had evoked Speaker Boehner’s wrath, I would tell him I did not care whose name was on a bill that needed to come to the floor for a vote and I have gotten a number of bills passed and others should pass this next year.
Since my first term in office, I have been pushing to end the automatic increase in every federal department and agency. That would make it a Zero Baseline Budget. Four years ago, Boehner agreed to bring it to the floor under the name of the stellar young House member who managed it in committee. It passed the House, but the Senate did not take it up. About two years later, it was again passed out of the House as the Woodall-Gohmert bill, though I told Paul Ryan not to put my name on it because it might prevent it coming to the floor for a vote. Paul said, “I’ve already told Boehner everybody knows you are the one who has been pushing this since you’ve been here, so he said ok.” The Senate did not take it up, but I am told in this Congress, we should pass it this year and demand the Senate vote on it. Since Speaker Ryan strongly supports it, it may get a vote in the Senate.
- THE KARI'S LAW ACT OF 2015
We have worked with various aspects of the lodging industry, phone system providers, and concerned individuals including Hank Hunt, to draft Kari’s Law that will require phone systems be provided with the default allowing anyone dialing 911 to reach emergency help without dialing any prefix. We expect to get it passed this year.
- OBAMACARE ORIGINATION CLAUSE
Previously, I drafted a bill that would state that it is the ‘sense of the House’ that the ObamaCare bill did not originate in the House as the Constitution requires for bills that raise revenue or have taxes in them. There are attorneys who have filed suit and gotten different judgments in different Circuit Courts, so there is a good chance that the Supreme Court will take it up. If we pass that resolution, it will be evidence of which an appellate court can take judicial notice and could be persuasive. After drafting it, I talked the Chairman of the Constitution subcommittee into being the lead sponsor and he has done a great job.
Continue to lead an effort, as personally requested by former U.S. Attorney General Ed Meese, to reform the criminal code so that no one can be thrown in jail or prison for an innocuous violation of a rule or regulation written by unelected bureaucrats that Congress has not specifically approved as a criminal violation. That outrage has repeatedly occurred and needs to be stopped.
Have led efforts for almost five years to ensure the military is always paid in the event of a government shutdown; got a temporary bill passed but continue to push for making the payments for our military automatic as Social Security payments are.
There should be no doubt that I led the effort beginning three years ago to get a new Speaker which finally paid off in October of this year.
Continue to push to get additional legislation in each Congress to deal with Invasive Species such as Giant Salvinia that is destroying some of our East Texas lakes. We have had some success, but need to provide more help to the states on such a critical national issue.
Continue to be the leading proponent demanding that the Senate take up the Iran deal as the treaty it actually is. It modifies existing treaties which can only be done by another treaty that is ratified with a two-thirds vote in the Senate. The Corker bill cannot change that Constitutional requirement for a treaty.
We welcome legal immigrants, but must enforce our border as a matter of national security. In the last Congress, I stopped the House bill that Boehner had secretly drafted the last week of July and had acquired enough Republican pledges to pass it, even without anyone reading it. After it was finally filed Tuesday before the vote on Thursday, I read it through the night on Tuesday to Wednesday morning, realized it was a de facto amnesty bill, so I got copies of all my notes to leading allies in the House and to national talk show hosts. By Thursday morning the Speaker had lost so many of his pledges, he had to pull the bill from consideration. That Thursday night I spent hours with about fifteen other members of Congress changing the bill until we changed it from an amnesty bill to a decent border security bill that we passed late that Friday night with massive Republican support and some Democrats.
- STANDING UP AGAINST BLANKET AMNESTY
Continue to be a leader in fighting against granting blanket amnesty to those illegally in the United States. President Obama's unlawful executive action on immigration was frankly outrageous and an offense to the U.S. Constitution. Not only did the administration’s unlawful memos trample on the U.S. Constitution, they caused many, who applied to come to the United States legally, to go to the back of the processing line behind those who were breaking the law. This nation was built on the Rule of Law; it is my promise to continue to be a vocal opponent of executive amnesty.There is no doubt that immigration has fortified this country; however, it should be done legally.
The original Authorization of Use of Military Force passed seven days after 9-11-2001 gave massive powers to the President allowing him to lock up American citizens without right of Habeas Corpus. In the last Congress, I led a fight to get that corrected in the National Defense Authorization Act. As the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee was negotiating acceptable language with the Senate, he had me come to his conference room privately to work on language acceptable to conservatives and most libertarians each time the Senate sent back a new proposal. I would consult with Constitutional Law professors by phone. We finally worked out a satisfactory solution that protected everyone legally in the U.S., though CAIR and the ACLU wanted everyone illegally here with the same protections that the Immigration laws do not afford them.
Continue to push legislation that will punish sanctuary cities.
Was an extremely vocal critic of the TPA and TPP as they gave far too much power to the President to negotiate away our sovereign rights.
Proposed we end the monopoly on scoring potential bills by the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Tax Committee, by making it competitive and scoring the scorers. Dr. Arthur Laffer, Ronald Reagan’s economic advisor called me recently to say he had gotten a private grant to come up with a system like I suggested and would be announcing his proposal very soon.
- PROTECTING & ARMING MILITARY
Having been a leader in pushing bills for a number of years that would allow our military members to carry weapons at their U.S. duty station under certain situations, we finally got language included in the NDAA this year that will allow such.
- PROTECTING STATES NATURAL RESOURCES RIGHTS
Have also led efforts to pass bills that will allow states to govern certain activity including oil and gas production if the state has an agency that governs it.
In addition to this, top conservative and policy groups have ranked my strong voting record in the highest percentiles: Heritage (93%), FreedomWorks (100%), NumbersUSA (96%).
It is my commitment to you, as your humble representative from the First Congressional District of Texas, to stand firmly on the principles that formed this nation and continue to push forward legislation that empowers ‘we the people.’ We must keep fighting the good fight for the generations that will follow us. It is my hope and prayer that 2016 will truly be a year of restoration for this country.
Many blessings to you and your family,