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Public Statements

The National Debt and the War in Iraq

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


THE NATIONAL DEBT AND THE WAR IN IRAQ -- (House of Representatives - September 04, 2007)

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. DONNELLY. Thank you, Mr. Ross.

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honor to have the chance to speak here again in the House.

[Page: H10056]

Almost $9 trillion in debt. I just came back from a month in my district, as Mr. Ross had indicated, going to see constituent after constituent, talking about issues of critical importance to them. And I met a good friend of mine named Jim Fleming from LaPorte, Indiana. And Jim's company makes defense aerospace products. And he said, JOE, we try everything we can. We employ hundreds of people. We work extraordinarily hard. And, JOE, we get beat out by China on bid after bid. Not even competitive with our prices but below our cost of production. And, JOE, what saddens me so much, Mr. Fleming said, is that we have over $1 trillion in debt to China. So I know when it is time for you to stand up, it is only made more difficult because of the debt that we have, a debt that we assumed because it was easier to do than to make the hard choices like the PAYGO system that we put in.

We look at Iraq now. We have lost $12 billion that came in in currency in a plane, shrink wrapped, Mr. Davis, on pallets, never to be seen again once it came off of that plane. Think of what $12 billion could have done in help creating the Hoosier Heartland Highway in my district.

We paid a gentleman Ahmed Chalabi and his group, the Iraqi National Congress, $300,000 every month for information that they basically made up in the back room over a Coca-Cola.

[Time: 21:30]

Just one more example: instead of probing and finding the answers, we just threw money away. And, Mr. Ross, think of what $300,000 could do in your district every month, or to my good friend, who you will see, Mr. Michael Arcuri, in his district in Utica. $300,000 could provide health care for an incredible amount of Americans.

So we have come to this Congress to try to make sure, through our PAYGO system, that the debt goes no higher, that we start to reduce it, that in Iraq we get answers, answers that, instead of letting $12 billion disappear, that those funds be used either in our district, or to provide up-armored Humvees and MRAP vehicles that will save our soldiers lives. Appropriate armored vests, the kind of things that will protect our soldiers, not feather someone else's nest.

Mr. Ross, I'm proud to stand here with you tonight and have this opportunity.

Mr. ROSS. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. DONNELLY. Absolutely, sir.

Mr. ROSS. You mentioned something that really piqued my interest, and that is making sure that we are providing our soldiers with the best technology in armored vests. And I want to thank you for raising that this evening.

I've got a constituent in my district whose son is getting ready to go back for the second time, Arkansas National Guard, 39th Brigade, being asked to go back for a second time. And when you sign up for the National Guard, you're supposed to spend 1 year out of 5, and now they were there in 2003 and 2004, they're being asked to go back again by Christmas of this year or early next year. And he raises a very important issue. This is a constituent from Garland County in Pearcy, Arkansas, near Hot Springs, and that is, he wants to ensure that our men and women in uniform, his son, has the best armored body gear and protection available. There are a lot of tests going on right now; there is a lot of debate going on. There have been hearings on this in the Congress. But 5 years into this war you would think, if our government, if this administration is sending $16 million an hour of your tax money to Iraq, the very least they could do is ensure that our brave men and women, our soldiers that do everything that is asked of them, have the very best in body gear and protection.

Mr. DONNELLY. There is no question, Mr. Ross, that when we look at our soldiers, nothing but the best is acceptable.

As you mentioned the soldiers in your district, we just had, about three weeks ago, our South Bend, Indiana, National Guard unit head over to some of the most dangerous duty in Iraq. And, again, they went with their pride and with a determination to do well. And our job, my job, your job is to make sure they have the very, very best. And it's not appropriate to see money disappear, to see it wasted at the tune of $300,000 a month it was. To some gentleman who is making up stories in the back room when we think he's providing information. Our job is to make sure that the young men and women of Arkansas, New York, Indiana, Delaware, Pennsylvania and all our States have the very, very best armored equipment, armored vehicles. Their safety and their return home to their loved ones is the utmost importance.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. DONNELLY. Thank you, Mr. Ross.

Mr. Speaker, it is a great honor to have the chance to speak here again in the House.

[Page: H10056]

Almost $9 trillion in debt. I just came back from a month in my district, as Mr. Ross had indicated, going to see constituent after constituent, talking about issues of critical importance to them. And I met a good friend of mine named Jim Fleming from LaPorte, Indiana. And Jim's company makes defense aerospace products. And he said, JOE, we try everything we can. We employ hundreds of people. We work extraordinarily hard. And, JOE, we get beat out by China on bid after bid. Not even competitive with our prices but below our cost of production. And, JOE, what saddens me so much, Mr. Fleming said, is that we have over $1 trillion in debt to China. So I know when it is time for you to stand up, it is only made more difficult because of the debt that we have, a debt that we assumed because it was easier to do than to make the hard choices like the PAYGO system that we put in.

We look at Iraq now. We have lost $12 billion that came in in currency in a plane, shrink wrapped, Mr. Davis, on pallets, never to be seen again once it came off of that plane. Think of what $12 billion could have done in help creating the Hoosier Heartland Highway in my district.

We paid a gentleman Ahmed Chalabi and his group, the Iraqi National Congress, $300,000 every month for information that they basically made up in the back room over a Coca-Cola.

[Time: 21:30]

Just one more example: instead of probing and finding the answers, we just threw money away. And, Mr. Ross, think of what $300,000 could do in your district every month, or to my good friend, who you will see, Mr. Michael Arcuri, in his district in Utica. $300,000 could provide health care for an incredible amount of Americans.

So we have come to this Congress to try to make sure, through our PAYGO system, that the debt goes no higher, that we start to reduce it, that in Iraq we get answers, answers that, instead of letting $12 billion disappear, that those funds be used either in our district, or to provide up-armored Humvees and MRAP vehicles that will save our soldiers lives. Appropriate armored vests, the kind of things that will protect our soldiers, not feather someone else's nest.

Mr. Ross, I'm proud to stand here with you tonight and have this opportunity.

Mr. ROSS. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. DONNELLY. Absolutely, sir.

Mr. ROSS. You mentioned something that really piqued my interest, and that is making sure that we are providing our soldiers with the best technology in armored vests. And I want to thank you for raising that this evening.

I've got a constituent in my district whose son is getting ready to go back for the second time, Arkansas National Guard, 39th Brigade, being asked to go back for a second time. And when you sign up for the National Guard, you're supposed to spend 1 year out of 5, and now they were there in 2003 and 2004, they're being asked to go back again by Christmas of this year or early next year. And he raises a very important issue. This is a constituent from Garland County in Pearcy, Arkansas, near Hot Springs, and that is, he wants to ensure that our men and women in uniform, his son, has the best armored body gear and protection available. There are a lot of tests going on right now; there is a lot of debate going on. There have been hearings on this in the Congress. But 5 years into this war you would think, if our government, if this administration is sending $16 million an hour of your tax money to Iraq, the very least they could do is ensure that our brave men and women, our soldiers that do everything that is asked of them, have the very best in body gear and protection.

Mr. DONNELLY. There is no question, Mr. Ross, that when we look at our soldiers, nothing but the best is acceptable.

As you mentioned the soldiers in your district, we just had, about three weeks ago, our South Bend, Indiana, National Guard unit head over to some of the most dangerous duty in Iraq. And, again, they went with their pride and with a determination to do well. And our job, my job, your job is to make sure they have the very, very best. And it's not appropriate to see money disappear, to see it wasted at the tune of $300,000 a month it was. To some gentleman who is making up stories in the back room when we think he's providing information. Our job is to make sure that the young men and women of Arkansas, New York, Indiana, Delaware, Pennsylvania and all our States have the very, very best armored equipment, armored vehicles. Their safety and their return home to their loved ones is the utmost importance.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


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