FISCAL IRRESPONSIBILITY -- (House of Representatives - December 17, 2007)
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Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I thank the gentlelady for yielding, and I thank her for her leadership on this.
As we take a look at this bill that just passed the House not 20 minutes ago, I think it is important to know what is in this piece of legislation. This piece of legislation weighs about the same amount of weight as my 4-year-old son does. This piece of legislation is 3,565 pages. It is 9,200-plus earmarks, 300 of which we just found out about today.
This bill costs $515 billion. This bill does a lot for a lot of Federal workers in the holiday season. It makes sure that all those Federal workers working at all the different government agencies have their budget for the year.
But what this bill does not do going into this holiday season, it does not give those soldiers in Iraq fighting for our freedom on the frontline of the war on terror, it does not give them one penny. It does not give them 1 minute's worth of comfort so that they have the resources, the tools, the body armor, the bullets, the gasoline, the rations, the support that they need to keep us safe and to fulfill our mission in fighting the war on terror where the epicenter is in Iraq.
It is a shame that we spend all of this time putting all of this money, all of this pork for all of these government agencies, making sure that bureaucrats here in Washington are comforted during this Christmas season, but not a penny to support our troops in harm's way in Iraq. That is a shame.
What is also a shame is this bill was dropped on the table today and passed today. Not a single Member of Congress read this entire bill; yet it passed and is on its way to becoming law.
It is also a shame that it is putting our Nation on a dangerous fiscal path. It is the beginning of the week, and we are going to put 10,000 earmarks into law. At the end of the week, we will pass more legislation that will cost billions more. I am worried we may not actually patch the AMT because the majority here is insisting on having permanent tax increases to pay for that.
So while we have already seen the delay in Congress is costing people a 2-month delay in their refund checks from the IRS, if this Congress keeps on the track they are on, they will raise taxes on millions of Americans and businesses just to try to provide for a temporary prevention of a tax increase on 19 million additional taxpayers, 19 million taxpayers who already, because of this delay, will see a delay in their refunds.
Mr. Speaker, this is not a good moment for the fiscal policy of our country. This is not a proud day for the House of Representatives to thump a 34-pound, 3,565-page bill on the desk and vote it out. But worst of all, it is not a good day for our soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who are in the fight, who are on the front lines, who want our support, who deserve our support. That should have been taken care of before any single Member of Congress got their pork. Unfortunately, it wasn't, and that is what passed the House here this evening.
I see we are joined by several other colleagues who want to make comments on this. We have leaders here in the House of Representatives on fiscal conservatism, on fiscal responsibility, and I thank the gentlewoman who is controlling the time and thank her for her tireless leadership.
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