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Public Statements

Tax Extenders Act of 2009--Continued

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BURRIS. Madam President, I rise to speak on H.R. 4213. One amendment has already been dropped. I do plan to submit a second amendment. This amendment is dealing with the Recovery Act funds.

During my three terms as State comptroller of Illinois, I worked very hard to maintain accountability for the money we spent from our State. I have been contacted by my State officials, the various auditors, comptrollers, and treasurers, to say the stimulus money that is coming into the States is coming in and they have no funds to do all this transparency and accountability. I put an amendment on this bill to say that we should. I filed amendment No. 3388 which addresses currently underfunding the costs of tracking and reporting the stimulus money.

This measure would set aside up to one half of 1 percent of all existing stimulus funds and allow States and local governments to use this administrative expense reserve to distribute and track this money as it is received and spent. It would allow the American people to hold their representatives accountable and it would help ensure that every dollar is targeted effectively and spent wisely, without waste, fraud, or abuse.

Agreeing to this amendment will restore oversight to this process and will keep Americans on the road to economic recovery without incurring a dime of new spending.

In addition to restoring accountability, I believe we need to take an active role--as my second amendment would do, which I have not dropped yet; it is coming, though. It would deal with small businesses. I believe we should take an active role in supporting small and minority businesses because Main Street will be the engine of the American economic recovery. That is where jobs will be created. That is where the rubber meets the road--where we can turn this crisis around. That is why I am proud to offer another amendment which will require the Transportation Security Administration, the TSA, to award contracts to small businesses and disadvantaged businesses wherever and whenever possible. This amendment would ensure compliance with existing standards of government contracts and subcontracts and would keep dollars flowing into real communities rather than to the corporate treasuries.

By strengthening reporting standards and forcing participation goals for TSA projects, we can target Federal spending to the capable worker who has always been at the center of the American economic prosperity.

We are also saying we need these two amendments. They will strengthen and improve upon the key provisions of our jobs bill as well. I ask my friends in this Chamber to join me in renewing our commitment to transparency, honesty, and accountability. I ask them to stand for small businesses and minority subcontractors so we can make sure Main Street has a major share of our ongoing economic recovery.

The issue is the amendment to H.R. 4213 which would be the amendment No. 3388, and also the other amendment I am getting ready to drop which will deal with small and minority businesses.

I yield the floor.

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