EMERGENCY SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT FOR DEFENSE, THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR, AND HURRICANE RECOVERY, 2006 -- (House of Representatives - March 15, 2006)
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Mr. Chairman, I come once again to the floor to raise the issue that I have raised earlier this evening, and that is in this time of spiraling deficits and excess spending by the Federal Government, is now the time to be spending money on an emergency supplemental where the nature of the emergency comes into question? In this case, as I classified in my terminology before, I called it foreign aid, I don't know whether anyone can really say that this is not.
The funding here is $5 million for academic, professional and cultural exchange focused on Iran. As I pointed out before, and it was agreed, Iran is no ally of the United States Government. As we agree, Iran is a part of the Axis of Evil. They are supporting Hamas. They do wish to eliminate and see Israel wiped off the map of the world. They do wish to see the United States wiped off the map of the world. They are continuing with their nuclear program. In this, we are all in agreement. Iran is a threat.
This is not something new. This is not something that just came about in the last few days, weeks, months or what have you. We have known that Iran is a threat to the world community for some time, at least this House did. We have had many debates and discussions on this in the past on this floor as to the threat that Iran poses to this Nation, to its area community and the world in general.
The question then becomes, is this new news to the State Department? Apparently it is, because were it not new news to the State Department, they would have gone through regular order and they would have sought this $5 million or the $10 or $15 million for the other appropriations that we previously spoke about.
They would have gone through regular order, and they would have asked for and put this through the budget process in the current budget cycle year, or they would have included it in the budget proposal that we are currently considering as we go forward for the next fiscal year. They did not. Instead, they come to us now at the last minute and ask for an emergency supplemental appropriation.
I would ask that the State Department pay more attention to these matters. If they were not aware that Iran was such a threat and that these programs are needed, and I am not about to debate right here that they are not needed, but if they were needed, they should have gone through regular order, they should have come through the process earlier.
In addition, all other areas of spending in this House, when it goes through regular order, has to compete against other necessary expenditures. Some foreign threats that we have, Afghanistan, and Iraq and elsewhere, have to be weighed against other competing interests.
Likewise, they must be weighed against domestic interests as well. As in this bill, there is money here for Katrina. They have to assist those people down there. They have an interest as well. Other domestic programs also have to be weighed against other competing domestic interests.
I would simply suggest to this body that while Iran is a threat, it is not a new threat. It is a threat that we have known has been out there for some period of time.
The appropriate manner would have been for this to have gone, as with the other legislation amendments that I discussed previously, through regular order, so that we would have had a complete and full debate on it.
Again, I agree with what the committee said on those other matters, that the committee, as I quote from their report, ``is disappointed in the Department of State's failure to provided adequate and timely justification of the emergency nature of these funds.'' I concur with the committee. The State Department has not provided that justification.
I urge my colleagues to support this amendment to delete this additional $5 million.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT