CHANGE OF VOTE -- (Senate - October 16, 2007)
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Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I was listening to Senator Byrd, the distinguished chairman of the Appropriations Committee, and he asked who would stand up. I will stand up. I think we ought to cut a lot of things, but the first thing we ought to do is cut out claiming something that isn't true.
What we need to claim is that we can live within the same parameters that every family in this country has to live within. We are not doing it on this bill. It is not about whether the FBI is funded. It is not about the ATF or the Drug Enforcement Agency--it is about priorities. There is just $640 million worth of earmark nonpriority things in this bill. So we could get $640 million tomorrow out of the earmarks that are not priorities, and I will be happy to list for anybody the total for every State, for every Senator who has a priority they think is more important than families having to live within a budget that they have to live with every day.
This isn't a debate about the President. This is a debate about the future of our country starting to live within the means of which we have.
The very things we claim we want to do for all the States that they don't have money to do--by the way, there are cumulative budget surpluses over $40 billion right now. Ours is, if you take Washington speak, $160 billion; if you take true accounting, it is $330 billion. But the States have a surplus. The Justice Department had the highest unexpended balances they have ever had this last year--almost $1.6 billion. Yet we think they need more money. Does anybody in this country think every agency of this Government couldn't run 5 percent more efficiently? Nobody outside of Washington believes they couldn't. They know they can because they know they have to make those same choices every day in everything they do because they can't run with a credit card and charge it to their grandchildren.
Now, 10 percent growth in this bill is too much. This motion to commit doesn't have anything to do with the President. It has to do with whether we will stand up and do what every other American has to do, and that is live within the realities of the money available to them. We can claim that we are doing everything. Since when is fire prevention the total responsibility of the Federal Government? Since when is police protection the total responsibility of the Federal Government? It is not going to go away. If it is a higher priority, then let's make it a higher priority, but let's get rid of some things that aren't. There are no choices to get rid of things that are low priority. We can't have it both ways. Those who want to grow the Government can't have it both ways. Either you want to live within the means, you want to be honest with the American people and say: You are right; we can do a better job.
This bill does not do a better job. We ought to relook at it, reformulate priorities. That doesn't undermine what the committee has done. We added $1 billion on the floor. The committee didn't do that, we did. What we ought to say is let's add 2 or 3 percent, live with less than inflation, do what every American has to do, and if we do that all the way across the board, then we will start solving the fiscal problems that are in front of us.
I yield the floor.