MILITARY CONSTRUCTION AND VETERANS AFFAIRS AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2007 -- (Senate - November 14, 2006)
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. SANTORUM. My understanding is that this amendment, as the Senator from North Dakota just talked about, is an amendment dealing with agriculture. This is a military construction bill that is before us. The Senator from North Dakota said we might want to raise a germaneness question, which is rule XVI, and that would be treating the Senator from North Dakota and others who support this legislation improperly. I would make the point that the reason rule XVI is there is to make sure we don't have amendments that are offered to appropriations bills that are not germane. I think it is a great stretch to suggest an emergency supplemental for agriculture is germane to military construction. That is not treating my colleague any way other than how every other colleague is treated here on a whole variety of different issues.
There are lots of opportunities we all would love to have to offer amendments to appropriations bills we don't take because it is not germane, and we don't do it as a result of that. That is the way in which the Senate operates under some semblance of order. It doesn't necessarily operate as seamlessly as we would like, but this is one of the rules we have kept intact and used because we want to try to keep to the subject at hand, particularly on the issue of appropriations.
So throw on top of that what I can tell you in my State and in lots of other States and in lots of other races around the country is the cry of deficit spending, which was heard loudly and clearly and echoed, by the way, by both sides of the aisle, of how we were going to have much more fiscal responsibility, and here we are with the first amendment with nearly $5 billion in emergency spending on a military construction bill having nothing to do with military construction. It may be bipartisan but, as far as I am concerned, that is no excuse. This is not what I think the message from the electorate was, that we need to have a whole bunch of new spending nongermane to the matter at hand.
So while I understand the need--and we have farmers in my State who have suffered through floods earlier this year and I am sure will be impacted by this, but it is absolutely essential that we take this issue seriously, and I intend to do that.
So at this point I am going to suspend and ask for a quorum call and I will be back in a minute. I suggest the absence of a quorum.