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Public Statements

Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would reduce funding for the Joint Economic Committee by 25 percent and transfer more than $1 million to the deficit reduction account.

The Joint Economic Committee is tasked with many of the duties of other congressional committees. Those other congressional committees already perform these duties, such as holding hearings, performing research, and studying the U.S. economy.

We here in America are facing a tremendous financial crisis. The legislative branch should not be excluded during budget cut debates.

The Joint Economic Committee performs overlapping duties that could easily be maintained by the Ways and Means Committee or the Budget Committee, or even the respective leadership policy committees. A 25 percent cut is very modest considering the gravity of the enormous debt that we are accumulating each and every day, and we must begin paying down that debt.

Our debt level is unsustainable, totally unsustainable. We are broke as a Nation. We have to start cutting in every aspect of the government's expenditures, and I believe the Joint Economic Committee can afford it, and I urge my colleagues to support my amendment.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would simply reduce funding for the Office of Compliance to the fiscal year 2008 level and would transfer almost half a million dollars into the spending reduction account.

At a time when we are facing such pressing fiscal crisis, we have a financial fiasco here in America because of the outrageous spending Congress has been doing by both parties. Scaling back the spending for the Office of Compliance to the 2008 level is a modest and reasonable request. We have to continue to make cuts in every corner of the budget that we can, and we have to prioritize paying down our massive Federal debt that is totally unsustainable.

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

My amendment would reasonably reduce funding for the Botanic Garden to the fiscal year 2008 level and transfer more than $3 million to the spending reduction account. This bill funds the garden at $12 million. I'm only asking that the Botanic Garden be funded at $9 million.

Our Nation is broke. We are broke. There's no question about that. We need to face the fact that we are broke. Yet we continue to add to our enormous debt by borrowing more than $4 billion each day.

I believe, and I think that the American people would agree, that it is more reasonable to ask the Botanic Garden to stop trimming their hedges and to start trimming their budgets, like many of the other offices have done within the Federal Government and like many families and businesses have done all across this Nation.

We cannot afford to continue down this same path of fiscal irresponsibility that we have been heading down. I urge my colleagues to help me put America back on a different course and to support this amendment.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself the balance of my time.

I appreciate my good friend Ander Crenshaw's remarks about this. When families face hard economic times, they look at extraneous expenses. I love plants. My wife and I work in our yard. We have plants that we baby, and she waters every day, so we certainly have a great appreciation of botanic gardens, plants, and the things that plants bring in the way of enjoyment. But when faced with hard economic times, people don't go out to Home Depot and buy more plants when they can't pay their bills, and that's the situation we're in as a Nation. Though the Botanic Garden is a very beautiful place, with a lot of very beautiful plants in it, I think it's not the responsible thing to continue to try to grow more things that are going to continue to grow the debt and spend money we just simply do not have.

As we've gone through the authorization process in the three committees I'm in, and as we've gone through these appropriation bills, I'm reminded of a saying that was utilized during our founding periods, but with a new twist, and the new twist is this: Don't cut me, don't cut thee, cut that fellow behind the tree. I hear that in the authorization committees over and over again:

"We have to cut our spending but don't cut me. Cut somebody else.''

"We have to get our debt under control, but don't cut me. Cut somebody behind the tree.''

There's nobody behind the tree. America deserves better. This is a simple cut. The Botanic Garden, as lush and pretty as it is, is not a necessary expenditure of the Federal Government, and I think the American people, if they had a choice, would support this amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I appreciate my good friend Ander Crenshaw's comments and the comments from the other side, but we just simply have to stop spending money that we do not have. It's irresponsible to do so, and so I urge the adoption of my amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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