BEACH PROTECTION ACT OF 2007 -- (House of Representatives - April 10, 2008)
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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Madam Chairman, I thank the gentleman.
As we come to the floor now and the Democrats talk about beaches, my constituents in the great State of New Jersey suffer. They are suffering from unrelenting increases in the price of gas, up almost a dollar now since the Democrats took control of this House. So as my constituents suffer from higher food costs, all related energy costs; as my constituents suffer from higher heating costs, all related to energy costs; as my constituents suffer from the higher cost of living in general, again, related to energy costs, all of them should be asking what is it that the Democrat Congress is doing to address this problem?
Well, the short answer is nothing really helpful. And the long answer is really potentially driving up the costs even higher.
Let me give you two quick points. First, the Democrats have voted four times now, four times, to raise taxes so to make sure the discovering and making sure that America's energy independence is that much harder. Secondly, they have voted now to lock up almost 85 percent of known specific energy resources in this country. What does that mean? What does that translate to the consumer? Again, the Democrats are making it harder for America to become energy independent from foreign oil.
Now is the time for all Americans everywhere across this country to ask what is its Democrat Congress doing. The short answer is nothing much. The long answer is potentially driving up the cost for fuel for all of them. Now is, therefore, the time for all of us to come to the floor to work together for a change and to make sure that America can, in fact, become energy independent. Now is the time for Democrats to be working not against the American consumer, but for him instead.
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Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Madam Chairman, I come to the floor also to speak in support of the Flake amendment. I was in my office almost a half-hour ago now when I saw the debate on the floor and my friend and colleague Mr. Flake was here speaking about his amendment, and I thought I would come down to hear his closing remarks and hear the other side then say that they agreed to the amendment, because I thought, in essence, this was an amendment that both sides of the aisle could reach across and find unanimity and agreement with, if we believed the rhetoric that we heard last year and if we believe the rhetoric we hear oftentimes from the other side of the aisle about their desires to rein in spending, to address the earmark situation problem and to work with Republicans to try to deal with it, as we heard during their campaign to come to the majority, as they have, and now on the floor as well.
To my surprise, and perhaps I should not be surprised to find that as of this time, a half-hour later into the debate on a simple amendment to say that we should not be having earmarks in this bill, a bill that never had earmarks before, the other side of the aisle, the Democrat side of the aisle, cannot agree to it.
Earlier, when the general debate on this bill was on the floor, I came to the floor and said that in light of all the issues that we are discussing right now, it is amazing we are about to go into the weekend break discussing beaches as opposed to some other fundamentally important issue striking at the hearts and the wallets of the American taxpayers and the citizens of the State of New Jersey as well, one principally which was the high cost of oil.
The Democrats have been in charge of this House now for almost a year and a quarter, and during that time we have seen the price of gas at the local gasoline stations go up by almost a buck. You would think that would be something first and foremost that they would be addressing. But, no, they are addressing a spending bill and beaches, as we have before us. Again, maybe I should not be surprised, because wasn't it Hillary Clinton who said that she has more ideas on spending than there are dollars in D.C.?
Well, in light of the fact that the other side of the aisle, the Democrat majority, will not even consider to support the Flake amendment, which would try to rein in some of that wasteful, wanton abuse that we see in earmarks here, apparently the Democrat House leadership is taking a page from Hillary Clinton's playbook. They too have more ideas on spending than there are dollars in D.C. to spend.
It was just indicated a moment ago, well, this is not the purpose of the bill, to do earmarks. Well, if it is not the purpose of the bill, then it should be an easy lift to support this amendment to eliminate earmarks from the bill.
Secondly, someone suggested from the other side, well, if we are going to do it in this one, we should do it in all other bills like this. I agree, and I am sure Mr. Flake would come to the floor as well and say he would put this in any bill coming to the floor, to say we should not have earmarks, and I think he just rose to that point.
Finally, the point was made, I think from this side of the aisle, well, it hasn't been done in bills like this before. What a better time than right now? And I commend the gentleman, Mr. Flake for bringing it to the floor. If not now, then when? If both sides of the aisle are as adamantly opposed to abuses of earmarks as both sides of the aisle say they are, why shouldn't they support the amendment by Mr. Flake?
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