U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) took to the House floor last week in opposition to the House budget proposal that guts support of Planned Parenthood and environmental conservation, while increasing the budget of the Department of Defense.
"If we are serious about reducing our deficit, defense spending must be on the table," said Quigley. "Our priorities are woefully out of whack when we cut off support for vital programs like family planning, but fully fund weapons systems the Pentagon doesn't even want. We need a budget that makes tough decisions, not ideologically driven cuts dressed up as fiscal responsibility."
Quigley introduced several amendments and spoke out repeatedly before voting against the budget. Highlights of Quigley's efforts during the week of floor debate include:
* Co-sponsored and helped pass an amendment that stripped a $450 million provision to fund a second engine for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates called the second engine "an unnecessary and extravagant expense."
* Introduced an amendment to cut Research and Development at the Pentagon by 10 percent. Currently, the United States spends more than $10 billion more on Research and Development than China spends on its entire military.
* Co-sponsored an amendment to end procurement of the V-22 Osprey, a helicopter that costs $100 million per unit, is not suited to fly safely in extreme heat or under enemy fire, and has killed 30 Marines in accidents.
* Introduced an amendment to allow the President to appoint an adviser on energy and climate change.
* Spoke out against the Sterns Amendment to strip the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate coal ash, a dangerous byproduct of coal combustion.
* Spoke on the House floor in support of Title X funding, which provides basic health care for millions of low-income woman across the country.
* Spoke out in favor of the Davis-Bacon Act's wage requirements for construction workers completing public contracts.
H.R. 1, the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act 2011 will fund the government through the end of 2011. It passed the House early Saturday morning and will now be considered by the Senate.