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Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

FULL-YEAR CONTINUING APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2011

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. WEINER. Mr. Chairman, I would like to be heard on the point of order.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from New York is recognized.

Mr. WEINER. The intention of the rule that the chairman is referring to is to make sure we're not adding any additional spending. But in fact, by cutting the COPS program, you're actually adding an enormous amount of expenditure in the long run. And what the gentlelady is going to being doing by preserving COPS on the street, you have less crime, lower insurance rates, less costs for prevention. You wind up--COPS on the beat wind up saving money. They save money in another way. They save money because localities don't need to raise taxes to keep these cops on the street.

So I think the gentlelady's amendment is a net budget reducer, net budget saver. Sometimes we invest in things here that save money, and the gentlelady's amendment does that. So it's in compliance with the rule.

The Acting CHAIR. The Chair is prepared to rule on the point of order.

The gentleman from Virginia makes a point of order that the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from Texas violates section 3(j)(3) of House Resolution 5.

Section 3(j)(3) establishes a point of order against an amendment proposing a net increase in budget authority in the pending bill.

The Chair has been persuasively guided by an estimate from the chair of the Committee on the Budget that the amendment proposes a net increase in budget authority in the bill. Therefore, the point of order is sustained and the amendment is not in order.

AMENDMENT NO. 125 OFFERED BY MR. WEINER , AS MODIFIED

Mr. WEINER. Mr. Chairman, I have an amendment at the desk.

The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment, as modified, is as follows:

Page 203, line 23, after the dollar amount, insert ``(increased by $298,000,000)''.

Page 204, line 8, after the first dollar amount, insert ``(increased by $298,000,000)''.

Page 206, line 10, after the dollar amount, insert ``(reduced by $298,000,000)''.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from New York is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. WEINER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Before I proceed, I would make a unanimous consent request. There's a typographical error that should say $298 million, and it has only 5 zeros. So in the two places that that is stated, I ask unanimous consent to add the extra zero so it makes sense.

The Acting CHAIR. Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from New York?

There was no objection.

The Acting CHAIR. The amendment is so modified.

Mr. WEINER. Mr. Chairman, my colleagues, this is to restore the COPS program and take money out of space. But before I do that, I really have to say I don't think this process is on the level. What are we doing here? We're figuring out which diminished amount we're going to take from to restore another diminished amount. This bill isn't going to become law. The President today said that he is going to veto this bill, as he should. It slashes funding on so many important things to our communities. I bet you most of the authors of the bill are praying that he vetoes this bill. But the fact is we're kind of in here playing this game. We're trying to take from one slashed account and move funds to another slashed account, but in the clear case of how the Republicans are swinging a meat ax rather than a scalpel--the COPS program, police officers, cops on the beat.

The COPS program has been a success not just because it's been a big-city program. You've got COPS over the first 10 years of the program in every single State. Every single community has had an increase because of police officers. And I thought being tough on crime was a Republican ideal. You slash this funding and what's going to wind up happening is your localities are going to have one of two choices: Lay off police officers or raise taxes some other way. It's going to be a net zero effect because they're going to want to keep these cops on the beat.

So where do we take the money to replace just the hiring component? We're not going to replace the whole program, just the hiring component. We're going to take it out of space exploration. I want to go see Mars, too, but I'd much rather have cops on the streets of Brooklyn and Queens. I want it for all of your districts as well.

But let's face a little something about this budget. It's an irresponsible budget you've put on the floor. I'm sure Mr. Dicks would agree it's irresponsible to slash air traffic controllers 20 percent. Who thinks that's a good idea? It's irresponsible to cut 1,500 cops on the street. Who thinks that's a great idea? It's irresponsible to say to middle class parents who are getting Pell Grants, Sorry, your kid can't go to college next year. Who thinks that's a good idea?

The President has said that he's going to veto this bill. Why don't we stop right now, roll it up, fold it up, go back and try to get this right? Let's try to come up with a commonsense budget. We know there are going to be cuts that are necessary. But to the COPS program?

We've got to understand here that these are going to require some tough choices. And I had a joking exchange with Mr. Dicks earlier, I think we can get more from Defense, I think we can get more from Agriculture. I get it. But, frankly speaking, I believe that there are some values that should transcend politics and transcend communities--and one of them is how many police officers.

And not only are there a lot of cops going to these communities; let's look at what's happening. In Jackson, Mississippi, 347 cops, they had a 12 percent reduction in crime; Detroit, Michigan, 500 cops, a 7 percent reduction; Boston, Massachusetts, almost a 29 percent reduction in crime. This is a good law enforcement program.

So I will say on behalf of all my colleagues, and Congressman Grimm is supportive of this; Congressman DeFazio I think is here; Congressman Cohen is here; Congressman Pallone I know is interested in this; and we know Congresswoman Jackson Lee. Congressman Reichert on your side is interested. I can tell you this: If we asked every person to stand up who had

COPS hired in their district, every one of you would have to stand up. It's going to all 435 districts. So let's keep that program going.

Now, do I like the idea we have to take it from NASA space exploration? I don't know any of the crime statistics on Mars, and I'm interested, but it's a bad choice. If any of you like space exploration, so do I. In a way, I'm playing the game too. I'm taking from one place to give to another. But I do believe it's in the interest of all of us to try to set these priorities straight.

One of the things we can do is vote ``yes'' on the Weiner amendment and then do something else.

It's late. We've gone through this exercise for a while. Since it's really a Kabuki dance and since we know that this document isn't going to become law--the President has already said he's going to veto it, and we already know the American people are not going to sit back for a 20 percent reduction in air traffic controllers--how is it a Republican ideal to make the air traffic less safe? How is that a value that somehow drove this Congress?

That shouldn't be nor should it be that we reduce the number of police officers on the streets. That's not who we are as a country. It's not who we should be as a Congress. So I hope you support the Weiner amendment by taking from Mars and putting it in the streets of your district.

I think it's late. Let's fold up the rest of the bill. Let's go back. Let's have some bipartisan discussion, and let's try to figure out how to do this in a way that the President won't veto it.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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