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Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

The House in Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union had under consideration the bill (H.R. 1) making appropriations for the Department of Defense and the other departments and agencies of the Government for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2011, and for other purposes:

* Mr. CUMMINGS. Mr. Chair, I oppose the continuing resolution put before us by the Republican leadership, which proposes to cut $100 billion in spending below the funding levels President Obama requested in his budget for fiscal year 2011.

* According to a summary developed by the House Appropriations Committee, these cuts are ``a massive down payment on the new Republican majority's commitment to drastically decrease discretionary funding in order to help our economy thrive and spur job creation.''

* Sadly, there does not appear to be any accompanying material that specifies exactly how cutting funds from programs that make essential investments in our communities and in our Nation's infrastructure will spur economic growth. Specifically, I would like to know how many jobs will be created by cutting $581 million from state and local law enforcement assistance or by cutting billions in funding for the high speed rail program.

* I would also like to know how cutting hundreds of millions of dollars from each of the HUD community development fund, the clean water and drinking water state revolving funds, or from transit capital investment grants will support job creation.

* Frankly, I don't believe these cuts will create any jobs--nor do I believe they will support the economic growth that will move our country out of the recession created by an appalling combination of regulatory failure and corporate recklessness.

* Mr. Chair, while I agree that the current deficit is not sustainable, we are also not going to create jobs by cutting aid programs for the poor.

* According to an October 2010 report released by the Congressional Research Service, 3.7 million more persons fell below the poverty line in 2009 compared to the number below the poverty line in 2008. These 3.7 million people were pushed into poverty by a recession they did not create.

* As a result, in 2009, a total of 43.6 million persons had incomes below the poverty line--more than at any time since we began tracking this measure in 1959.

* Within that figure, 1 in every 5 children in this country lived in poverty in this Nation in 2009.

* These figures can only be described as appalling.

* And yet we are told that cutting billions from job training programs, cutting a billion dollars from community health centers, cutting a billion from Head Start, and cutting $747 million from nutritional programs for mothers and infants will help eliminate our $14 trillion dollar national debt and will also ``help our economy thrive and spur job creation.''

* Mr. Chair, these cuts will not contribute to a thriving economy or create a single job--but they will take essential aid from the millions in our Nation who have the least.

* If we are serious about cutting our debt, we must understand what has created that debt.

* Poor people did not create this debt.

* However, an analysis developed by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities in mid-2010 found that ``just two policies dating from the Bush Administration--tax cuts and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan--accounted for over $500 billion of the deficit in 2009 and will account for almost $7 trillion in deficits in 2009 through 2019, including the associated debt-service costs.''

* Despite the central role that tax cuts for the wealthy have had in increasing national debt, Congress voted just a few months ago to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, adding billions more to the national debt, including more than $80 billion for the tax cuts provided to the highest 2 percent of earners.

* Given this choice, it should not come as a surprise that our national debt is continuing to grow.

* Since we appear to be unable to consider serious proposals that will cut the deficit while truly supporting economic recovery, I urge my colleagues to vote against this amendment and to vote no on the continuing resolution.

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