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Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. CHU. Madam Chair, I move to strike the last word.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from California is recognized for 5 minutes.

Ms. CHU. Madam Chair, I rise in support of Ms. Bordallo's amendment and to protest the gutting and slashing of more than $6 million for the insular areas. This will hurt American families and communities all across the country, from the Northern Mariana Islands to the northern border of Maine.

It hits our outlying territories particularly hard and the American citizens and families who live and work there. This bill takes more than 7 percent out of the Assistance to Territories Account which funds critical programs at the local level in Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. These communities have unique needs and this account helps them address those. It helps fund disaster mitigation programs, particularly important in low-lying islands susceptible to tropical storms. It helps ensure a strong and robust judiciary in American Samoa, a crucial program to ensure that the American Constitution and U.S. laws are upheld in every corner of our Nation. It helps these areas make needed infrastructure repairs, which creates jobs that are critical during this tough economic time.

This amendment would restore this funding; and just because these communities may be farther away does not mean that they are any less American and in any less need of the services this funding provides. Just because these communities are farther away does not mean that the slashing of programs will go unnoticed.

As chairwoman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, I want to express my strong support for the amendment offered by Ms. Bordallo and oppose the cuts to the Assistance to Territories Account offered by the Republican majority in H.R. 1.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Ms. CHU. I move to strike the last word.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from California is recognized for 5 minutes.

Ms. CHU. Madam Chair, I rise to support Mrs. Lowey's amendment to restore title X funding.

At a time when we need to come together around jobs and the economy,

the Republicans are, instead, focusing on bills attacking women's health. The Republican gutting and slashing spending plan isn't about Federal funding; it's about undermining women.

This bill is an unprecedented display of disrespect for American women and shows no concern for their health. And all this raises the key question: Isn't the Republicans' real goal here just to end women's access to birth control?

Preventing unintended pregnancies and thus the need for abortion should be a goal on which both pro-choice and anti-choice lawmakers should agree. But the Republicans' anti-women continuing resolution includes language that dismantles Federal funding for family planning, attacks successful organizations that provide critical women's health care, and jeopardizes women's access to affordable birth control.

Now, this is a program that affects real people, and these drastic cuts will only hurt American women when they need help paying for these basic services the most.

Title X funding helped Shania, a woman who received care at Planned Parenthood in Los Angeles. She learned a terrible lesson when her mother broke her hip, was brought to the hospital, and then was discovered to have stage 5 cervical cancer, too late for a cure. But thanks to Planned Parenthood, her daughter is with us today, because after learning about her mother's illness, doctors urged Shania to get checked for the same diseases. Unemployed and without health insurance, she couldn't afford to go to a regular doctor. Instead, she walked into that clinic, which indeed did the testing and found her cervical cancer early enough to save her life.

Title X funding helped Beth, a volunteer soldier in our military who put her life on the line for our country. But in the military, they do not provide family planning services for our hardworking servicewomen, forcing them to look elsewhere for the care they need and deserve. When Beth needed help, Planned Parenthood and the title X fund was there for her even when the military wasn't, and she was able to get the help she needed for birth control.

This Federal money is a critical health care safety net for women around the country. It has helped improve the quality of women's health, given women free choice, and saved lives. What will Republicans tell Shania when she can no longer get the lifesaving checkups she needs? What will they tell Beth when she no longer has access to her reproductive choices despite serving her country?

It is clear that the real Republican agenda is to roll over women's health and steal away their rights. This Congress and this bill should be about creating jobs, not attacking American women.

Instead of working on the economy, Republicans are working to limit women's choices. Instead of doing the bidding of ideological extremists, let's address the true needs of the American people.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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AMENDMENT NO. 490 OFFERED BY MS. CHU

Ms. CHU. Mr. Chair, I have an amendment at the desk.

The Acting CHAIR. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Page 301, line 16, strike ``$4,015'' and insert ``$4,860''.

Mr. REHBERG. Mr. Chairman, I reserve a point of order on the gentlelady's amendment.

The Acting CHAIR. A point of order is reserved by the gentleman from Montana.

The gentlewoman from California is recognized for 5 minutes.

Ms. CHU. Mr. Chair, I rise today to strongly support investing in America's future. I rise to present the Chu-Moore-Jackson Lee amendment to restore full funding to the Pell Grant program.

With this CR, the Republicans slashed the very funding that ensures every American has the opportunity to go to college. H.R. 1 does something that is shocking, especially in these tough economic times. It deprives millions of students of the financial support that they need to go to college. At a time when people are losing jobs, when people can't find jobs, when people are scared about whether they have a future, Republicans are cutting Pell Grant financial aid by 15 percent for students across the board. This is an astounding number.

If the Republicans gut this program, there will be 9 million students who will have cuts in their financial aid, endangering their ability to go to college. It is the largest cut in student financial aid in history. This will hit the neediest students hardest. In California, my home State, one-third of undergraduates--nearly 65,000 students--get this money for college. And most come from families making less than $30,000 a year.

But this is about more than just numbers and statistics. This is about real people and real students, whose real futures are at stake. Students like Chris Hamm who attends the University of Cincinnati. Chris' Pell Grant pays for a quarter of his college tuition. Without this money, Chris doesn't think he will be able to afford school and will be forced to drop out, leaving him few options in this tough economy.

Today, we know we are no longer in an arms race. Today, we are in a brains race. Every year, we are falling further and further behind other countries. Fewer Americans are getting a college degree compared to those from other countries. We don't have all the science, math, and talent we need to compete. America's ability to remain competitive in a global modern economy hinges on our ability to encourage and grow a highly educated workforce.

Gutting Pell Grants in this bill will only compound our future economic challenges and undermine the dream that we have for our young people to join the middle class. Pell Grants aren't just an investment in an individual student but an investment in the future of our Nation.

We need a comprehensive approach that makes strategic cuts in investments with an eye to the future. Instead, the Republicans are taking a meat ax to programs that are crucial to American competitiveness. This strategy is senseless and it is tragic. It is tantamount to telling our young people, You will not have a future.

Instead, we must win the future by out-innovating, out-building, and out-educating the world. We must train all Americans from every class and background to succeed in the economy of tomorrow. We must give them the financial aid that they need. So I ask Members to support this amendment and restore Pell Grant funding to our students.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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