CONSOLIDATED SECURITY, DISASTER ASSISTANCE, AND CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2009 -- (Extensions of Remarks - September 26, 2008)
* Mr. PAUL. Mr. Speaker, this is a bad week for those of us concerned over Congress' refusal to reign in federal spending. Not only are we preparing to deal with at least a multi-billion dollar bailout of the financial services sector, Congress today stands ready to add billions to the national debt by passing H.R. 2638.
* I would not object to many of the items in this bill if they were offset by reductions on other, lower priority, programs. For example, I would support the disaster relief package if the package were offset by reductions in other spending, particularly reductions in our overseas commitments. Unfortunately, H.R. 2638 not only fails to reduce spending to finance disaster aid; it attaches money for the country of Georgia onto the disaster aid package. Georgia is not receiving this money because it was affected by a natural disaster but because it was involved in a military conflict with Russia--which was started by Georgia! It is an insult to the American people to divert money that could have gone to help the victims of Hurricane Ike to promote interference in a conflict that in no way threatens the security of the American people.
* Another particularly objectionable part of H.R. 2638 is the section providing $7.5 billion in loan guarantees for the auto industry. In exchange for the loans, the industry must agree to produce the type of automobiles favored by federal bureaucrats. Thus, this bill not only increases corporate welfare, it empowers federal bureaucrats to displace the judgment of consumers as to where the auto industry should concentrate its resources. As the failure of every centrally planed economy throughout history shows, when government officials usurp the decisions of consumers, workers, and entrepreneurs the result is economic stagnation.
* Mr. Speaker, H.R. 2638 represents another missed opportunity for Congress to exercise fiscal discipline by funding the American people's priorities, such as disaster relief, by reducing spending on non-priority items, such as overseas spending. Therefore, I must oppose this bill. I hope that in the future Congress will fund items such as disaster relief by reducing spending in other areas instead of burdening future generations with more debt.