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Transportation, Housing And Urban Development, And Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


Transportation, Housing And Urban Development, And Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Chairman, as I have said so often this year, I rise in defense of the American taxpayer. And once again, we find ourselves on the floor considering still more Federal spending. That spending hasn't brought back the millions of lost jobs. Our constituents are still asking, Where are the jobs? And as my colleagues have promised me, they're going to continue to ask that question.

It hasn't promoted the economic growth that is so desperately needed. What it has done, it has produced a deficit that will likely top $2 trillion this year. It has contributed to the largest Federal debt this Nation has ever known. That is the debt that my grandchildren will have to pay in missed opportunities and needless sacrifices.

Mr. Chairman, my amendment applies a 5 percent cut to this appropriations bill. That is a 5 percent cut to programs whose spending has increased by 146 percent over the last 3 years. That is 146 percent over the last 3 years. That is a 5 percent cut to programs that have already gotten $62 billion this year from the stimulus.

Mr. Chairman, I will shortly yield my time, but before I do, let me preview what I am sure my distinguished colleague will say in objecting to my amendment. He is likely to suggest that across-the-board cuts are bad because they do all the careful bipartisan work that is necessary to produce a good bill. And we know that everyone works hard on this legislation. We appreciate that. But we know there is more work that can be done in perfecting these bills.

He'll tell us that this bill has made tough choices already this year, and respectfully, I disagree. How many hard choices have we really made as a body when we have seen spending more than $14 billion than was spent last year?

My esteemed colleagues may go through a litany of vital programs that would be destroyed by a 5 percent across-the-board cut. What my colleagues don't many times mention is that a 5 percent cut would allow each of the programs to still grow by 11 percent from last year's funding. And probably what we will hear is that this committee isn't really spending that much more, if you don't count the stimulus spending.

Now, all of these are things that we have heard this year during these 5 percent debates, but, Mr. Chairman, I will say I do count that stimulus spending. I count every penny we're spending because, indeed, it is my grandchildren who are some day going to have to pay this money back.

And with that, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Chairman, I will simply point out that we have to realize that this is taxpayer money, not government money, and what we are hearing from the taxpayers of this great Nation is that spending is out of control. A $1 trillion deficit is too much. A Federal debt that is at record levels is too much spending. And taxpayers are telling us they are tired of us spending money on programs they don't want. And it's, as one of my constituents has said, that we are spending money she hasn't made on programs that she doesn't want. And they are right to speak out to us about this.

I will also point out that our States, which function under balanced budget amendments, are great labs of experimentation in State budgeting. Our States make across-the-board cuts. In making an across-the-board cut in this appropriations bill, you would still have 11 percent growth in these programs. And that is significant because in the last 3 years, as I said, this funding has increased 146 percent.

You have programs in this bill that received 62 billion additional dollars through the stimulus, and a 5 percent cut would save the American taxpayer $3.44 billion. That would be the savings that is there.

We all know as we budget at the Federal level we use baseline budgeting, and a good thing about making across-the-board cuts is that it helps reset that baseline. And what we have seen with our Federal budget, as we have had the additional spending with our stimulus, with these additional appropriations, is those numbers are rising. And yes, indeed, the taxpayers are reminding us they are going through the roof and they are tired of that. They want the spending, the out-of-control spending to stop.

Every year, taxpayers sit down and they write out their check to Uncle Sam, and when they send that check in, they know they're delaying their priorities.

I urge support of the amendment.

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