For the first hour of the House of Representatives' day, representatives make floor speeches of anywhere from one to five minutes. The speeches are a way of getting specific objections into the record outside of debate, or memorializing someone (like Geraldine Ferraro this week), or discussing issues. Mostly, they go unnoticed by the public and the press.
It's really too bad they're ignored, because some of the best, most passionate, most fiery moments are made during these speeches, framing arguments and messages for both parties and moving forward agendas.
Today's winner of the best floor speech is Rep. Pete DeFazio (D-OR) for his ridicule of stupid GOP cuts to important and small programs in favor of defense spending and oil and farm subsidies.
DeFazio zooms in on the YouthBuild America program, which takes kids who have problems, have dropped out of high school and trains them to build homes for underprivileged, low-income families. They get counseling, job training, and spend a year honing those skills. Here's an excerpt from their fact sheet:
YouthBuild addresses several core needs of low-income neighborhoods including: housing, education, employment, crime prevention, and leadership development. The ultimate goal of the YouthBuild program is to help young Americans transform their own lives and their roles in society by contributing to better outcomes for their communities.
Now, we know why Republicans don't like this program. They don't like it because those now-trained, skilled young people will be able to have productive jobs and even (gasp!) join a trade union as they continue to hone their skills in the workplace. And of course, they really don't like any low-income folks receiving government assistance with housing and the like when it doesn't come as a selective gift from Those Who Have Money To Bestow As They Please.
Remember the Republican maxim. Memorize it: Love the fetus; abandon the child.
Full transcript follows: