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Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. LATTA. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would reduce spending for the Department of Commerce under the National Institute of Standards and Technology construction of research facilities account by $10 million and transfer those funds to the spending reduction account. This program provides government money for construction of research science buildings. Currently, H.R. 1 funds the technology construction of research facilities account at $58 million and this amendment would reduce it to $48 million. While scientific research is important, when our nation is experiencing massive deficits, we have to make these difficult cuts.

With a forecasted deficit of $1.6 trillion this year and the national debt scheduled to triple in 10 years, I am simply proposing cutting spending from a program that received over $123 million in increased funding in the stimulus. The President released his budget proposal this week which reflects a pattern of record spending, and even higher taxes. This continued spending is funds that the U.S. Government does not have, as we continue to borrow from other countries. During the last session of Congress alone, the President signed into law over $1.8 trillion in new government spending and over $670 billion in new job damaging tax hikes. My $10 million cut is an example of a difficult cut that has to be made in our Federal budget.

Furthermore, the Department of Commerce has established a national program office under the National Institute of Standards and Technology to begin development and implementation of the national strategy for trusted identities in cyberspace. The general goal of this strategy is to secure and protect transactions in cyberspace through use of a special ID, or digital identity, so that people can prove who they say they are. Let me say that cybersecurity and privacy are extremely important issues to all Americans. However, I have very strong concerns that this government-directed effort could destroy online anonymity, become the equivalent of a national Internet ID, and crowd out current private-sector efforts. That this project could potentially lead to issuance of a unique Internet ID that would serve as a single identifier for access to password-protected Web sites is frightening. It is equally concerning to think that if this single digital identity were to be hacked, the hacker would have access to a wide range of a user's personal information and accounts. Security of the cyber domain is serious, but a government-run or government-directed Internet ID system is a risk to liberty and this strategy is not the way to go about achieving this goal. The elected representatives of Congress should address these issues, not a government bureaucracy. I will be offering a limitation amendment to block any funding towards the development of this strategy, and that is why I am offering this amendment, No. 260, to cut funding from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. LATTA. Mr. Chairman, amendment 259 will cut $70 million from the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which I intend to be removed from the FreedomCAR initiative. Currently, H.R. 1 funds the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at $1,467,400,000 for the remainder of fiscal year 2011.

This amendment would reduce that amount to $1,397,400,000. This office already received $16.8 billion in stimulus funds, and $2.24 billion was appropriated in fiscal year 2010.

While citizens across the country are struggling to pay their bills, it would be very difficult to justify not being able to cut $70 million from this office. With Americans also struggling with higher gasoline prices and other fuel costs rising, Congress should focus on legislation that allows us to utilize resources we have available to drive prices down.

The free market is the best place for technological innovation. Reducing taxes and eliminating burdensome regulations will allow private companies to bring new, more fuel-efficient technologies to market when it becomes cost effective.

With a forecasted deficit of $1.6 trillion this year and the national debt scheduled to triple in 10 years, I have serious concerns with spending more funds on programs that have received massive increases from stimulus spending. The President released his budget proposal this week which reflects a pattern of record spending and even higher taxes, this continued spending of funds that the United States Government does not have as we continue to borrow from other nations.

During the last session of Congress alone, the President signed into law over $1.8 trillion in new government spending and over $670 billion in new job-damaging tax hikes. My $70 million cut will be a small reduction in an overbloated Federal budget.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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