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Public Statements

Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. BALDWIN. Mr. Chairman, I rise today in support of my amendment and in opposition to H.R. 1, the Republican bill to slash services to the American people--a measure that I believe threatens jobs and our fragile economic recovery.

I agree with my Republican colleagues that we must reduce the deficit and bring our budget into balance, but we must be smart about it. This bill harms the people who tend to our health, those who educate our children, and those who patrol our neighborhoods and protect our safety. This bill frustrates our economic recovery by making job training and career training unattainable for many Americans. Meanwhile, it does little to restrain excessive military spending or eliminate government handouts to Big Oil or eliminate tax breaks for multimillionaires.

Today, we spend millions of dollars each day in Afghanistan and Iraq, spending that is protected in the bill that is before us. At the same time, this Republican bill to slash services cuts Community Health Centers to the core. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the work of Community Health Centers, they provide essential health services to children and families who lack insurance and have extremely limited incomes. Community Health Centers provide a big bang for the buck. They tend to the health care needs of more than 17 million uninsured or underinsured men, women, and children in America each year.

The cut in the Republican bill before us is so deep that it will result in the elimination of services to more than half of the current capacity of Community Health Centers today to serve our neighbors. An estimated 127 new health centers in underserved areas will close across the United States. In some communities, patients with diabetes, heart disease, HIV and AIDS, pregnant women, and sick children will have nowhere to turn except perhaps emergency rooms ill-suited to their needs.

Thousands of health care workers in rural and urban underserved communities will lose their jobs. I've already heard from the Director of Community Health Centers in both Beloit and Janesville, Wisconsin. He let me know about the serious impact this slash of funding will have on thousands in just one Wisconsin county.

Mr. Chairman, my amendment restores Community Health Center funding, but I pay for it with a commensurate cut in wasteful defense spending. I said at the outset we need to be smart if we are to cut spending without compromising our jobs, our economic recovery, and our future.

I agree with our President when he said, if we are to ``win the future,'' we must out-educate, out-innovate, and out-build the rest of the world. But we can't do that by cutting Pell Grants for students and slashing the research budgets of the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy.

This unwise bill jeopardizes our Nation's recovery and future. And it's particularly troublesome to me this week because it falls on top of efforts by Wisconsin's Governor to cut health, education, and public safety services and to diminish the rights of the public servants who provide them.

Mr. Chairman, I stand here today in solidarity with my fellow Wisconsinites as I fight for a better future for all Wisconsinites and all Americans. I urge an ``aye'' vote on my amendment and a ``no'' vote on H.R. 1.

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Ms. BALDWIN. Mr. Chairman, I do rise to be heard on the point of order.

Mr. Chairman, here are the rules of the House for the 112th Congress. Accompanying it, we also have something called H. Res. 92. Oftentimes when we get to the floor, we talk in inside-the-Beltway language that's really hard, I think, for the American public to follow. But I just want to make clear that H. Res. 92 is a document drafted by the Republicans to govern debate on this bill, and this bill only. But our House rules specifically allow an amendment such as the one that I have presented to this body and was just debating a moment ago on the House floor. And I think it's a wise rule because it really helps us pay as we go.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman's remarks must be confined to the point of order.

Ms. BALDWIN. The underlying House rules specifically permit an amendment such as the one I've offered and earlier debated in front of this body because it allows us to cut spending in one area in order to restore services or programs of greater priority in another. In other words, it aids us in our job to pay as we go.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman's remarks must be confined to the point of order.

Ms. BALDWIN. Under the rules of this House, my amendment would be fine. In the House Resolution 92, to which the gentleman referred, which governs simply the debate that we're engaged in this evening, it waives the rule of the House. It waives the rule of the House, the people's House. So I just want to make it clear--I think I know how the Chairman will end up ruling--but that this is the Republicans' will that I cannot advance this amendment and not because of the underlying rules of this House.

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