EMERGENCY SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT FOR DEFENSE, THE GLOBAL WAR ON TERROR, AND HURRICANE RECOVERY, 2006 -- (House of Representatives - March 16, 2006)
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Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
(Mr. PAUL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)
Mr. PAUL. Mr. Chairman, my amendment is offered in an attempt to save some money. If my amendment were to pass, we would cut $500 million from this appropriation. Everybody knows that this is a huge appropriations bill and that it is a supplemental. It does not fall under the category of the budget rules. It is $92 billion. It involves the finances of our military approach to our foreign policy around the world, which is two-thirds of this funding. The other third, 19 or $20 billion is for domestic use. It is a huge sum of money. And we are doing this at a time when we are running a deficit, our national debt at least is going up over $600 billion a year, and we are concerned this week about raising the national debt limit to over $9 trillion.
It is unfortunate that's the way the system works around here. It is very difficult to cut anything. My amendment is an attempt to seriously consider the problems that we have in reining in the spending and living within our means.
The major point I make here is by cutting $1 billion from the military portion of the bill it makes the point that we spend way too much on military operations. We spend more on military operations around the world than all the other countries of the world put together. And we do not have a lot to show for it. When you think about what has happened in Afghanistan, the problems there, what is happening in Iraq and the potential problems that are coming in Iran; yet the money is continuing to be spent in this reckless manner.
So I propose we cut a billion dollars out of that which would be easily done, because it should be cut a lot more. I would then take $500 million of this and I would put it into some areas of the country that have been neglected from some of the hurricane damage that has existed in the south, in particular, in Texas.
So to me, this is an approach to emphasize the importance of foreign policy, that this notion that we are in the business of nation-building, and that we are the policemen of the world, and that we should reconsider that and save money. At the same time, we could reduce our deficit while actually increasing funding for some of the serious problems that we have in this country. So to me, it sounds rather logical to do this. To cut things from, say, building roads in Liberia. Yes, Liberia needs money, but what about the people that have been hit by the hurricanes? They need some money, too. And the way we do it always involves deficit financing.
My approach emphasizes the need to cut in the places less important than any other places, spend the money here at home, and end up actually cutting back on the deficit financing. Otherwise we are going to continue with this process. I see no serious attempt whatsoever, when we bring up supplemental appropriations bills like this, to rein in the spending and even to pretend that we are cutting. This whole idea of putting domestic spending together with military spending is not a ploy to maybe reduce spending. It is the ploy to make sure that people are trapped into voting for both and nobody can vote against the domestic spending, and nobody can vote against the military spending. And yet, of course, spending is excessive in both areas.
But my amendment, the way it works, emphasizes mostly cutting the militarism and the type of foreign policy that we finance around the world that has so many ramifications and unintended consequences and so much blow-back, that it literally hurts our national defense and ends up costing us so much more money.
Long term, to come up with a solution, it will not occur with tinkering with the budget. It will not happen today, nor tomorrow. The only way that we can make any sense out of our spending in this country and on this floor will be to reassess our policies. We must ask: Do we want to continue to be the policemen of the world? Do we really believe we can nation-build around the world and that we can spread democracy by force? The result is then, if we do not like the results of the democratic elections then we say, well, it did not work. We cannot support that democratically elected leader.
So it is a change in policy, at least a reconsideration of what we think we should be doing around the world. At the same time, we have to reconsider the domestic spending.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
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