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Public Statements

The Concern Of America's Future Direction

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. AUSTRIA. I thank the gentleman from Utah. I thank you for the great work you are doing for the State of Utah and our country as a freshman. Thank you for putting this on today.

I want to thank my other colleague from California. Thank you for your service to our country. Thank you for putting things in perspective for our military.

And I want to add one thing. We had an opportunity to change some of this budget, and another freshman--it seems like the freshmen now are taking the lead role on some of this stuff, which is good--Congressman Harper from Mississippi and myself cosponsored an amendment in the budget that would put the troops' increase, their pay increase where it should be at 3.4 percent where it has been lowered and marked down in this budget to 2.9, which is the minimal amount required by statute.

When we have troops that are now fighting in two wars, we're increasing the number of troops in Afghanistan--I have had an opportunity, I represent the largest single site employer in the State of Ohio Wright Patterson Air Force Base. I have four military facilities in my district. I have had an opportunity to attend a number of deployments for men and women in the military. And I have to say, they are the greatest people I have had an opportunity to meet, and I would go so far as to say it's the next greatest generation that's serving our country today.

And when these--we're asking these men and women to serve and the deployments are lengthier than what was expected, more often than what was expected. There are tremendous sacrifices that are being made by their families, by our troops. I think that the least we can do in this budget is not cut what was expected as far as their pay but give them the increase that they deserve, and in my opinion earned. They are doing a spectacular job in protecting us, and we thank them for their sacrifices to protect our freedom.

But unfortunately, that amendment was shot down and was voted down in Budget by the other side of the aisle. And so we had an opportunity to try to fix some of that, and we didn't do that in the Budget Committee, and I hope that we can get our priorities straight on that.

Let me build off of my colleague from Utah. Let me talk about Ohio because you two are out west and some of the things that you talked about--the difficult times that small businesses are going through, families are going through out west--we are experiencing these things in the midwest.

I represent the State of Ohio, the heart of the midwest. And I can tell you we have over 900,000 small businesses in the State of Ohio. And within the last few weeks, in particular, our phones in the district offices have been ringing. Business have been calling us, families have been calling us. They are going through very difficult times right now. They are making sacrifices for our country. Small businesses are calling us, and they are having difficulty getting the financing, the credit that they need to be able to meet their payroll, to be able to save the jobs that are out there, much less create new jobs and sustain those jobs in the long term.

The Bob Johnsons that you just talked about. We have a lot of Bob Johnsons, those types of businesses in Ohio, and they are the economic engine of our State and this country. As you mentioned, they create 60 to 80 percent of the jobs across this country. And I think here in Congress we can do better.

As freshmen, we've been in Congress now for less than 100 days, and we have been faced with a $700 billion TARP financial market bailout that has not worked, in my opinion. It has been a disaster because there's been no--there hasn't been the accountability needed, there hasn't been the transparency as to how that money has been in place. There is no plan in place.

The Treasury Department did not have a plan in place. We had Secretary Geithner come into the Budget Committee, and we asked him about the financial bailout, the market bailout. And he could not give us specific answers as to how the money that has been spent has been spent and how their plans on the future dollars on how they were going to be spent.

And then we had the stimulus package, $791 billion spending package, I call it, $1.1 trillion over the next 10 years of taxpayers' dollars. In that stimulus package was a paragraph in there on a bill that not one Member of Congress had an opportunity to read completely before we voted on that, said, You know what? We can now take your tax dollars, we can use it as a bailout, give it to a company like AIG, and they can pay out $165 million in bonuses, 73 of those being over $1-million bonuses. One lucky guy got a $1.64 million bonus, and twelve of them don't even work for the company.

These are hardworking American taxpayers' dollars that are paying out these bonuses. As the public begins to understand what is happening here in D.C., they are outraged. They are outraged by this stuff, and it shouldn't be happening. We can do better than that.

Now we have a $3.9 trillion budget before us. And guess what is in this budget? We're now going to tell you how we're going to pay for the historical amount of debt that we just built up. We're going to start taxing the American people.

In this bill, there is nearly a $2 trillion tax hike over the next decade: $2 trillion of taxes. That's going to further weaken America's prospects with sustained economic growth and job creation well into the future. And let me tell you who's going to be paying for this. It is going to be many of our small business owners that are struggling to make paycheck to paycheck, that are struggling to not just save jobs but create jobs and be able to sustain those jobs. Now they know they have a tax increase coming at them. I mean, is that how we're going to expand and create new jobs?

American families, 95 to 100 percent of the American families across this country, we're now going to hit you with higher costs on energy, taxes. This little thing that's stuck in the budget--and I appreciate your chart up there because I think it helps put things in perspective as to how we're paying for this debt. We're going to stick this proposal in there that's cap-and-trade. It sounds harmless. It is not harmless. We're talking about $629 billion of tax increases on families, families that are making sacrifices right now that are struggling to make it paycheck to paycheck.

Anyone who uses natural gas, who turns on your light switch, who uses electricity, heats their home, fills up their gasoline tank, you know what we're going to do now in this budget we're going to raise the cost of energy on you for the average American family of about $1,600 per household.

So everybody's electricity rates--anybody that uses any type of CO2 or carbon, your energy costs are now going up.

And then this tax is also--this is what worries me in Ohio because we have a lot of manufacturing in Ohio. It's the number one industry with agriculture. It's going to further erode the job growth in the U.S. manufacturing sector. It's going to put American companies at an even greater competitive disadvantage with China and other companies--or other countries. I apologize. It's late tonight.

And this is what is supposed to be turning our economy around creating jobs, this cap-and-trade proposal, which should be called a cap-and-tax proposal. We can do better. We should be doing better. And let me tell you, the reality is that all of this infusion of spending in government and expanding government, the

reality is we are serving our constituents in our district, and we have constituents that are out there that are asking for our help right now. They don't know where to go. This is not good for them. They can't get the financing, they can't get the credit to help save and create new jobs. And we can do better. We should be targeted on our small businesses, on those families that are struggling.

And I know both in your States, Utah and California, and across this country, they are going through the same thing.

So I thank the gentleman for yielding. I will yield back. I know you've been wanting to jump in on this.

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Mr. AUSTRIA. If the gentleman would yield for just a moment, because I think what these tax hikes are doing, they're giving the illusion that they're not really increasing the deficit or the debt as much as they really are. And the fact is, without any spending restraints--and you have got your chart up there--that this illusion is only going to last so long, because even with all these tax increases, the budget's spending growth is so explosive that it outpaces the revenue for the entire budget. I mean, the entire budget period, you know, the spending outpaces the revenue that even these huge tax hikes can bring in.

And I think it's a feel-good thing. I think it's one of those where the Federal Government right now thinks that they can just spend all they want for as long as they want, just continue to borrow, and now they're going to start taxing families and all so that they can keep this feel-good spending going on. And I think the Americans, as they begin to realize what's going on here in D.C., are becoming more and more outraged, and businesses are already very concerned on how they're going to be able to continue to survive.

I thank you for yielding.

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