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Public Statements

Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2010

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, I want to associate my remarks with my ranking member, Mr. Lewis.

Following the time-honored tradition of our Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Chairman DICKS and Mr. Young have put together, in a collegial manner, a solid product. The funding for defense operations and maintenance, for the Afghan and Iraq Security Forces, for Army base operations, M-RAPs, National Guard and Reserve equipment, and the other portions of the defense and of the military construction portion of the bill are worthy of our support.

If that's where the story ended, we would be fine, but as Ronald Reagan famously said, ``There they go again.''

This legislation contains over $72 billion in discretionary and mandatory spending. Less than half of that total, $35 billion, is related to the ongoing fight against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan or our withdrawal from Iraq and the State Department funding related to the war on terror. The rest is earmarked for nondefense programs, new bailouts, and pet projects to benefit the majority's political allies.

I share the views of Mr. Lewis on the extraneous spending in this bill: the $10 billion State bailout fund, the $5 billion Pell Grant infusion, the $500 million to ``forward-fund'' accounts in the fiscal year 2011 appropriations bills, thereby freeing up money to spend on other activities in fiscal year 2011, the $245 million to allow the IRS to ramp up its enforcement activities.

My colleagues in the majority just don't get it. This is Washington ``business as usual'' as this Congress uses funding for our deployed warfighters, many of them in harm's way as we speak, to provide for more unnecessary social spending.

My colleagues, I urge the adoption of a clean supplemental appropriation as quickly as possible so our men and women in uniform can continue to do their important work on our behalf.

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Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. Mr. Speaker, I rise this evening to oppose all amendments to this legislation, especially those dealing with our operations in Afghanistan.

Mr. Speaker, my colleagues, how quickly we forget. As Mr. Lewis mentioned, as did Mr. Pence, with historic speed, the Senate this week unanimously confirmed our new NATO commander in Afghanistan. During his brief confirmation hearing, General David Petraeus urged this Congress to approve the War Funding Bill in an expedited way. Yet this evening, this process guarantees that no funding will be signed into law before mid-July. And if that's not bad enough, we find ourselves here on the floor debating not one, but three amendments that have the effect of defunding our Afghanistan operations, basically tying the hands of our Commander in Chief and micromanaging the military at a time when they need to do their job and to be successful.

Mr. Speaker and my colleagues, we are a nation at war. We have soldiers and Marines deployed halfway around the world. Many of them are in combat at this very hour facing a dangerous enemy. And yet we find ourselves here tonight questioning the very mission we've asked our troops to execute. What message does that send to them if they're watching us? What message does it say to our allies, some of whom may question it in their own governments, their resolution to stay the course? What message does it send to our enemies, people who would launch deadly attacks in our homeland as they've done in their homeland each and every day at an early opportunity.

This is a critical moment in our efforts in Afghanistan. I urge rejection of these amendments and support of our troops.

Let's pass the clean supplemental. Get rid of these amendments that do harm to our mission in Afghanistan and get about the business of supporting our national defense in a proper way.

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