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Public Statements

Education Funding

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. DeFAZIO. Mr. Speaker, there are many in this chamber who say, and I am among them, that we must be careful with running up the deficit and the debt because we are borrowing from the future. Dollars we borrow today will be paid back by our kids and our grandkids over the next 30 years. In fact, that is why I voted against the so-called stimulus bill. I felt it borrowed too much and invested too little in the future. It cut way back on the transportation infrastructure investments in favor of tax cuts. Borrowing money for tax cuts doesn't make sense. There is no benefit to be passed on to the future generation, and it certainly didn't put people back to work.

So as we approach the bill today, we have to keep that in mind: Are we borrowing from the future? And, will this provide benefits to people in the future?

The bill before us today would fund education. In my State, we are headed toward having the shortest school year in America. We are stealing from our future. We are stealing from our kids. If they don't get those school days this year, they can't make them up next year or after they have graduated. We are shorting them for the rest of their lives on a good education. We are going to have some of the largest class sizes in America. You can't teach a class of 38 or 40 kids in middle school. It isn't a good educational experience. We are stealing from their future.

I am hoping today that the funds we will vote for will be used by my State to plug the holes this year. I don't want to see them sitting on that money and saying, ``Oh, well, maybe things will be worse next year and we will avoid future cuts.'' No. The cuts are today. They are hurting kids today. They need to plug those holes today, put teachers back to work, lower the class size, get the school years back up to a reasonable length.

There are other cuts that can be taken care of by this vote again today. In my State, we are cutting back on State police even though we have one of the lowest ratios of policing in the United States of America. We have an epidemic of people in our rural areas who do not have adequate law enforcement and are being plagued by crime and drug dealing and other things. We need more State police on the roads.

Our seniors need to be maintained in their homes,

Oregon Project Independence. Our community colleges are cutting back at the same time when they are seeing record enrollment from people who are trying to get a job in a bad economy. Those holes can be plugged today. But are we borrowing from the future with this legislation? Well, no. Actually, for once, we are paying for it.

Now, we are going to hear a lot of whining on the Republican side of the aisle about, oh, this is bad and this is more just borrow and spend. No. What they are really going to be whining about is the fact that we are closing some very juicy foreign tax loopholes for U.S. corporations. We have little things that are called the hopscotch of deemed dividends. We have the Cayman Islands, Bermuda. Sound familiar? And we have daisy chain investment overseas so they can avoid U.S. taxes. When we built the greatest Nation on earth, corporations paid 40 percent of the taxes in this country; today, they pay 7 percent because of loopholes like this. This bill will close the loopholes.

Now, the Republicans will gnash their teeth over that because there has never been a loophole too good for them. They want more loopholes. And they should like this part, and I have some doubts about this, but it is going to reduce food stamp benefits in the future by $12 billion. Now, they always carry on about welfare and welfare cheats. I have got a lot of people dependent upon food stamps who were formerly hard working in my district and my State. But the balance here of essential public services, of a decent education for the future, and those cuts, I can accept. And getting rid of the corporate loopholes, I am with that every day of the week. The Republicans are for loopholes. We are against them. We are for education, we are for kids, we are for vital public services. They are not.


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