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Public Statements

Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. LEWIS of California. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

States across America have as their number one responsibility the education of our young. If the States cannot allocate their own spending in order to carry out that top responsibility, we will never solve the problem with a bailout from Uncle Sam. A multibillion-dollar bailout today will set the stage for nationalized education tomorrow. That will surely push our economy over the cliff of bankruptcy.

Why are we talking with each other here today? We should be meeting with our constituents, holding town hall meetings, and listening to what's on the hearts and minds of our voters. The folks in my district have made their concerns very clear. They're saying, ``Jerry, tell those big spending politicians in Washington to stop spending our money.'' But the Democrat majority is so addicted to spending that they have called Congress back just to vote on yet another multibillion-dollar bailout.

I'm left scratching my head, because in the past few months this Congress has done virtually none of the work that the voters sent us here to do. We haven't passed a budget, we haven't funded defense and homeland security. We made our troops wait months before passing funds to support their fight against international terrorism.

The majority leadership calls the bill before us a major accomplishment. They hope it will please teachers' unions and inspire the Democratic base 2 months before the November election. I believe most voters will see it for what it is, further evidence that this Congress has a spending problem. To the voters, the 111th Congress will go down in history as the bailout Congress. The Congress has already spent $75 billion in stimulus dollars to help States with education. That was supposed to be a one-time, temporary bailout, approved by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act.

I am very proud of the fact that three of my four children are teachers. They work very hard to provide quality education in the classroom. They know that schools should be run by parents, teachers, and local communities. The more we approve these bailouts, the more the Federal Government takes over that role.

Mr. Speaker, I know that my Democrat colleagues say that this legislation is quote, ``fully paid for.'' On the other hand, the bill spends the entire $26 billion in just 2 years, while the offsets take place over 10 years. The so-called offsets in this legislation are produced by almost a $10 billion increase in taxes, $13.4 billion in reductions in two programs that are popular with Democrat leaders. That is the food stamp program and renewable energy projects. Some Democrat leaders have already pledged to restore funding to these programs. Some of these so-called cuts could be eliminated as soon as November in a lame duck session.

Mr. Speaker, beware of a lame duck session called by this Congress. I want to emphasize this again to my colleagues. The voters do not want us to throw more money at our Nation's problems, yet that is exactly what this bill does. It's time, Mr. Speaker, to put Uncle Sam on a diet and put an end to the congressional spending spree.

I urge a ``no'' vote on this legislation, and reserve the balance of my time.

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