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Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would eliminate one of the 20 different conservation programs USDA currently operates, the water rehabilitation program. The chairman of the subcommittee, my good friend from Georgia, has stated during debate on funding for agriculture programs that he hopes to see a reduction in the number of Federal programs included in this bill.

I understand that some of my colleagues have a vested interest in this program, but when we have a program that is funding projects in only a handful of States, we must take a long, hard look at our priorities.

Mr. Chairman, even the President did not request funding for this program. It cannot be understated that we are facing unprecedented fiscal challenges in our Nation. We just simply have to stop spending money that we don't have, and we have to start creating jobs out in the private sector. My amendment, by cutting this program, will help to stop the bleeding economically that we're having. The consequences of failing to reduce spending and the deficit jeopardize the current and future stability of our Nation.

I urge my colleagues to support my amendment.

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. I rise to offer my amendment, which would reduce the budget for the Rural Housing Assistance Grants Program by over $20 million. My amendment would drop the allocation for this program from $32 million to just around $12 million. This is a modest request, particularly considering the President initially asked for a funding level of just $12 million, and we would simply be dropping the levels back down to what the administration, itself, requested.

It is absolutely critical that this Congress cut spending wherever possible; and if the President could do without that extra $20 million, so can we. I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, this Nation has almost a $14.5 trillion debt. Forty cents of every dollar the Federal Government spends, we're borrowing. We've just got to stop the outrageous spending that's going on here in Washington. And both parties have been guilty over the years.

This amendment would simply cut 10 percent out of a program--10 percent. Some people say, well, it's just a small amount of money. But as I was doing a town hall meeting back, during last week, in Georgia, in Hoschton, Georgia, one lady got up and said, $1 million makes a lot of difference. It is a lot of money.

This does cut a great deal of money out of this program. But, Mr. Chairman, we just have to stop spending money that we don't have. It's just absolutely critical. The economy depends upon it. Creating jobs in the private sector depends upon it. The future of our Nation depends upon it.

We're in an economic emergency, Mr. Chairman, and if we don't stop spending money that we don't have, we're going to have an economic collapse of this Nation.

I'm a physician. I've worked in emergency rooms. I've seen a doctor open up a man's chest and do open-heart massage in the emergency room trying to keep a patient alive.

It's time for open-heart massage of our economy. We've got to stop spending money that we don't have. We've got to put this country back on the right financial course and start creating jobs out in the private sector. And my amendment will be just one small step towards that.

So, Mr. Chairman, I hope that my colleagues will support this amendment so that we can put this country back on the right course, so that we can create jobs in the private sector and can have a strong economy again.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

In answer to your question, I want to do both. I think every dollar that the Federal Government spends needs to be looked at, and we're spending money that we don't have, even in DOD. I think we would cut a lot of funding there, particularly with the wasteful spending that the Department of Defense does that we all recognize.

So I want to do it all. The thing is, if we continue down this road that we're on economically, everybody's going to be poor. Nobody's going to have money for any groceries. Nobody's going to be able to get any health care. We're just going to be in a financial quagmire as a nation. And so it's absolutely critical, in my opinion, that we do emergent procedures to try to get this country back on the right course economically.

So, to answer to your question that you asked me very graciously, I answer, yes, we need to do all of the above, and I am eager to do both.

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I rise to offer my amendment which would cut $175 million in FY 2012 by eliminating the Foreign Agricultural Service. This is a corporate welfare program that essentially gives handouts to private businesses that don't need taxpayer dollars in order to grow their profits. It is essential that we make significant cuts to our budget this year and focus on reducing our deficit and tackle our debt. This is an unnecessary program and a waste of money that we could use to reduce this fiscal burden.

I understand the position that my dear friend from Georgia is in. It is true that the Ryan budget is the only budget to pass either House. I supported the Ryan budget, and I supported the Republican Study Committee budget, which would have reduced even more money from this bill.

Regardless of how one voted on a particular budget, we all have an obligation to move the debate in a direction that calls for more serious spending cuts. It is critical for the economic future of our Nation. It is critical for our children and our grandchildren. It is critical in creating new jobs and having a stronger economy here in America.

So I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I had an amendment following this one that would have totally eliminated funding for this program and, thus, would have presented a problem to the House. So I am going to withdraw my amendment since Dr. Gosar has introduced his.

It is absolutely critical that we stop spending money we simply do not have. Frankly, I don't like transferring money from account to account, because I think the only transfer that we should do is the transfer into the debt reduction program so that we can reduce the Federal debt. It is absolutely critical for the economic future of this Nation.

Since I am going to withdraw my amendment following this, I wanted to get up and speak about this particular amendment and just say that I really appreciate what my good friend from California (Mr. Farr) was saying about poor people. I am a medical doctor, and I deal with problems of nutrition for my patients. I appreciate what Dr. Foxx did with her amendment about eliminating this breastfeeding program.

But you see, we are constrained by the Constitution--or should be--and Congress has gotten way, way away from the original intent of the Constitution. We cannot try to feed everybody in the world. We cannot continue to try to be a nanny state for everybody, even in this country. In the private sector, if we mobilized them, there would be plenty of dollars to take care of the needs of American citizens as well as those of the people around the world by leaving dollars in the hands of the private sector--in people's hands, in churches, in synagogues, in mosques, and in different areas--with the Salvation Army, et cetera.

So I think we need to as a Congress start being fiscally responsible, but we have been fiscally irresponsible for many years during Democrat as well as Republican administrations, as well as under Democrat- and Republican-controlled Congresses. We just have to stop spending money.

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Reclaiming my time, I appreciate your comments.

But, you see, when I was sworn into the Marine Corps and when I was sworn into Congress--now three times--I swore to uphold the Constitution. I believe in this document as our Founding Fathers meant it, which means very limited government. In fact, we are destroying the very thing that has made this country so great, so powerful, so rich as a Nation, which is constitutionally limited government, the free enterprise system, private property rights, personal responsibility, the rule of law, and morality.

It is absolutely critical, if we are going to have a bright, shining star of liberty over the heads of America, that we rebuild those foundational principles. That's what I'm fighting for and will continue to do.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Again, as I spoke on the previous amendment, we just don't have the money. It's very altruistic of my friends on both sides to want to feed people all over the world. I very much would like to be able to do so, but we can't feed our people here at home. We've got a high jobless rate. We just have to simply stop spending money that we don't have. And this would just zero out the balance of the funds if my friend from Arizona's amendment is indeed passed into this bill.

Mr. Chairman, as we look at where we're going as a Nation, we've got to be focusing on jobs and the economy. We have to leave dollars in the hands of businesses, particularly small businesses. Leave the dollars in the hands of individuals so that they can take care of their own needs and their own communities instead of building a bigger and bigger Federal program to try to take care of everybody's needs all over the world.

We just simply do not have the money. And it just has to stop. And it's time to stop right now. We're headed toward an economic cliff in this Nation. And it may be very soon where we're going to be off that cliff, where everybody in this country except for the extremely wealthy are going to be forced into just tremendous poverty.

We have a potential of having riots in the streets and bloodletting in this country because of the great debt and spending that's going on. We're destroying jobs. We're destroying our economy. And it just must stop. The sooner, the better. My amendment would simply zero out the rest of the funds in this program. I think it's critical for us just to stop spending money.

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I rise to offer my amendment, which would reduce the fleet of passenger vehicles that the USDA is able to purchase by half. Cutting the size of their fleet from 461 to 231 is a simple way to save our taxpayers some of their hard-earned money.

Mr. Chairman, I know many of my amendments cut programs that are near and dear to my colleagues' and their districts' hearts. We have heard clearly from our friends on both sides regarding that. But together, my amendments cut over $2 billion, and we accrue more than twice that amount of debt every single day.

It's time to make the hard choices for the greater good of our economy. We have to cut wherever we can, and cutting about 230 vehicles out of the USDA's fleet is another way to save taxpayers money.

I encourage people to vote for my amendment.

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