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Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment.

This amendment is contrary to the interests of taxpayers and our military. It is not a cost-saving amendment. It is an anti-competition amendment. Therefore, it will cost us more money in the long run.

It is recognized that the Department of Defense suffers from a lack of competition and acquisition process. Sole-source contracts already account for $140 billion, or 38 percent, of the $366 billion that DOD spent on contracts in fiscal year 2010.

We know from experience that competing the engine on the F-35 is likely to both save money and improve the performance on both engines. It's not me saying that; the GAO and DOD's own internal studies have said it.

DOD says it will cost $2.9 billion to develop an alternative engine, although GAO says it may be much less. The F-35 will cost about $100 billion. GAO's analysis suggests a savings of about 20 percent in procurement, with an additional savings over the life cycle of the programs. The alternative engine would more than pay for itself in future savings, even putting aside the potential benefits in performance.

The power of our tactical Air Force is utterly dependent on the success of the F-35 program. The total cost is approaching $400 billion. The air frame and the engine portions of the program have been riddled with cost growth throughout the development effort.

Are we to say that it is unreasonable to spend $450 million to ensure that our fighter pilots have the best aircraft and the best engine possible? I'm convinced that competition will make both engine variants of the F-35 better.

And why do we think DOD can stand on a principle that has been proven over and over again in the marketplace? Competition leads to lower cost and better performance. Our fighters deserve this.

The DOD's position against this engine has been shown to be faulty on analysis and driven only by short-term budget considerations. The independent QDR review panel last year stated: ``History has shown that the only reliable source of price reduction throughout the life of a program is competition between dual sources.''

This amendment ignores that history. It will not save money and risks the combat effectiveness of our Air Force. Mr. Speaker, I oppose the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Chairman, I rise to oppose the amendment, although I know the two authors of this amendment are very sincere about it, and I think that they are underscoring something that we want to encourage people to be organic farmers.

But if you consider that organic farming is a $25 to $27 billion industry--in fact, my friend Mr. DeFazio just used the number $27 billion--it is a successful ongoing and growing industry already, and I do not believe that we need to continue the transition subsidy program to get more farmers in it. American farmers know where the profit is. They follow the commodity. The commodity follows the profit. They get into an area where it is going to be most profitable already.

But I'm also concerned that the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has already been cut $38 million, and this is a service that enforces animal welfare, pest, and diseases. It is very important to all farmers. It is cut at this point 4.3 percent, and I hate to see an additional $5 million taken out of it.

So while I have sympathy for what the gentlemen are trying to do--and I know that they are great advocates for organic farmers--I oppose the amendment at this time.

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Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Chairman, the amendment proposes to amend portions of the bill not yet read. The amendment may not be considered en bloc under clause 2(f) of rule XXI because the amendment proposes a transfer of funds between the subcommittees.

Here's what's going on: You are mixing your operating and your capital funds on this particular account, and this committee does not have jurisdiction over those accounts. And I want to point out that the subcommittee has worked very hard to balance all these very difficult cuts. We're trying to work within our 302(b) allocations. We're in a situation right now, for every dollar that we spend as a U.S. Government, 40 cents is borrowed.

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