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Public Statements

Energy And Water Development And Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


ENERGY AND WATER DEVELOPMENT AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - June 19, 2007)

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of the Westmoreland amendment and in opposition of the underlying bill.

Let's just review the numbers for a moment. This Energy and Water appropriation bill not only exceeds the President's request; it also increases spending by twice the rate of inflation. Under the Democrat budget resolution, nonemergency spending will increase by $81.4 billion compared to 2007, growing more than 9 percent, or triple the rate of inflation. That is triple the rate of our constituents', the American taxpayers', ability to pay for these bills. This is on top of the $6 billion that was already spent in the current year omnibus, and the $17 billion in non-war emergency spending that was added to the Iraq war supplemental.

But with this particular bill, here are my concerns: number one, it further opens the spigot on new spending. This is $1.1 billion above the President's request and $1.3 billion above the 2007 enacted levels. Again, far in excess of the rate of inflation.

Number two, it adds a lot of green for uncertain returns. The President requested $1.2 billion for renewable and energy efficiency under the Advanced Energy Initiative and the Reducing U.S. Dependence on Imported Energy Sources. This bill increases spending by 50 percent, yet it is extremely unclear whether this enormous boost in spending will actually do anything to achieve energy independence.

This bill also exploits the Democrats' pre-funding maneuver. This was wrong when Republicans did it. It is wrong when Democrats do it. Both parties have been doing these pre-funding maneuvers. This is basically taking from next year's bill.

I think the fact that they have already pre-funded $1.6 billion for FY 2008 Corps of Engineers spending frees up room under the cap so they can spend more money. So you have about a $1.8 billion smoke-and-mirrors pre-funding mechanism that allows them to spend even more money. That brings the total on top of the $1.3 billion to almost $3 billion over last year's enacted levels.

Now, $3 billion in an almost $3 trillion budget, people ask why should it matter. Why should we talk about these things. Here is why, Mr. Chairman, this matters: it starts one step at a time.

If you want to be fiscally conservative, if you want to be fiscally disciplined and watch the way we spend taxpayer dollars, we have to do it at every stage in the process. We will have to watch how we spend our taxpayer dollars.

The big problem I have with this budget resolution that is guiding this process, the current budget resolution leads to the largest tax increase in American history. Why on Earth would we want to pass the largest tax increase in American history at a time when our economy needs more jobs?

The tax cuts that occurred in 2003 created an unprecedented 7.9 million new jobs. It gave us 3 years of double-digit revenue growth, which helped us cut the deficit by more than 50 percent. And the key to reducing the deficit further is not increasing taxes or increasing spending. It is controlling spending.

That is the different vision between our two parties. We believe we need to balance the budget. The Democrat budget, the Democratic Party budget, does that too. They propose a balanced budget as well. They propose a balanced budget at this level of taxing and spending, whereas we propose a balanced budget at this lower level of taxing and spending, because we fundamentally believe that people ought to be able to keep more of their own money in their own pocket.

We don't measure success of a nation by measuring how much more money we spend in Washington. We measure success of a nation by how free people are in their own lives and how they have an ability to prosper and grow and how jobs and opportunities are being created in America. That is what we believe measures success.

So if we pass budgets that simply call for all this new spending, if we pass budgets which call for 23 reserve funds to spend $190 billion, in addition to what this budget right here does, what we are simply doing is saying we are going to tax people more, and then we are going to tax them more again, and we are going to spend that money.

That takes freedom and liberty away from taxpayers, away from individuals. That starves prosperity in America; it doesn't preserve prosperity in America. And that is why at every stage in this appropriations process, at every stage in this budget process we have to be mindful on how much money we are spending.

We are spending more than twice the rate of inflation in this bill. We are spending three times the rate of inflation on all of these appropriations bills. And that is far too much, Mr. Chairman. That is why I urge passage of the Westmoreland amendment and defeat of the underlying bill.

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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

I wish to speak in support of the Westmoreland amendment. I think it does a good job of bringing spending to more reasonable levels.

But I would like to speak about the broader issue. Not only does this particular appropriation bill increase spending by $1.1 billion above the President's request, which is in excess of last year by double the rate of inflation, it is part of a broader appropriations effort to spend $23 billion above the President's request and 9 percent increase from this year versus last year, triple the rate of inflation.

Here is the problem with all these bills that spend all this extra money: This puts the taxpayer on a collision course with higher taxes. Because the budget resolution which we are now operating under leads to the largest tax increase in American history, by passing these large appropriations bills, $23 billion above the President's request, it puts us on a course for higher taxes.

Why is this a bad thing, Mr. Chairman? The reason this is such a bad thing is because these tax cuts, the tax relief gave us the economic prosperity we are enjoying today. It gave us the higher economic revenues that give us the ability to lower the deficit.

When we saw this problem in the economy in 2001 and 2003, consider all those problems America was facing, the Enron scandals, the dot-com bubble had burst, 9/11 happened, and we went into a recession.

What did Congress do at that time? Congress moved aggressively and swiftly to cut taxes, to cut tax rates on entrepreneurs, on small businesses, on corporations investing back in their businesses, on families and on taxpayers and working families.

What happened after that? Well, we created 7.9 million new jobs. Think of the fact that the eight quarters before tax cuts occurred, we had eight quarters of negative business investment. After that, we have had unprecedented business investment.

Think of the fact that we have averaged a job loss of 219,000 jobs per month before those tax cuts and now we are averaging almost 165,000 new jobs per month since those tax cuts.

Think of the fact, Mr. Chairman, that when the Enron bubble came and the dot-com bubble burst, people lost a lot of their savings when the market went down. Well, now the market is at an all-time high, and it is because of these tax cuts.

And so when we bring bills to the floor that promise all of this new spending, when we bring bills to the floor that spend $23 billion above the President's request, when we pass a budget that proposes 23 new slush funds to spend 190 billion more dollars in spending on top of those tax increases, this is a recipe for higher taxes.

So, you see, Mr. Chairman, what is coming through here on the floor, bill after bill, appropriation bill after appropriation bill, is more spending, higher spending, which leads to higher taxes. The fact is in just the month of July, this majority is proposing to bring two reserve funds that will alone promise to spend $70 billion, $20 billion in the farm bill and $50 billion on the SCHIP reauthorization. Where are they going to get that money from? Higher taxes.

So it's important that amendments like the Westmoreland amendment pass so that we can bring restraint to our spending levels. It is important that we don't pass these bloated appropriation bills that spend two to three times the rate of inflation, because that's two to three times the rate of our taxpayers', our constituents', ability to pay for these bills. And when we go on this collision course with all this new spending, $110 billion of more spending this year alone in just discretionary spending versus last year, $190 billion in new spending proposals, in mandatory spending on these reserve funds, that puts the taxpayer on a collision course with higher taxes and that brings true this promise of the largest tax increase in American history which was passed by this majority in their budget resolution.

That is why we should not be passing these overinflated appropriation bills, and that is why we should be voting ``aye'' in favor of this Westmoreland amendment.

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