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Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would reduce funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities by a mere 10 percent.

I have stood up here and offered amendment after amendment trying to highlight areas of our budget that we can afford reasonable cuts. If you add up all of those modest cuts, the Federal Government could end up saving a significant amount of money. We are facing a fiscal crisis in this Nation, a financial fiasco; and if we can't make the cuts that need to be made, this country is going to go into a total economic collapse.

Now, if someone's broke, they sell their luxury car and get a more efficient one; they stop eating steak and lobster and eat more hamburger and hot dogs. They turn in their membership to the country club. All those things are beautiful things, nice things, luxury things. We have a lot of luxuries that we've been funding through the Federal Government for a long period of time. But, Mr. Chairman, we can't afford to continue doing so because we are in an economic emergency as a Nation. We are broke. We have unsustainable debt. We have unsustainable debt that's going to cause our children and our grandchildren to live at a lower standard than we live today if we keep this up.

Mr. Chairman, in a race a number of years ago, I said Congress was sick; we need a doctor in the House. I'm a medical doctor, and I do addiction medicine. Government needs an intervention for its spending addiction. In addiction medicine we say, if there's no denial, there's no addiction. We've got a tremendous amount of denial about the economic crisis we face in this Nation. We've just simply got to stop the spending.

When a business goes under water, it's overextended as the Federal Government is, what does it do? It lowers its borrowing level--if the lender doesn't do that--it starts trying to figure out how to reduce the debt, and then it goes through every aspect of its expenditures and tries to cut expenses all across the board in every area. The Federal Government needs to do the same.

And then the business will look at how to raise more revenue. Our Democratic colleagues say that we need to raise revenue by raising taxes, but that will just tax away jobs. We must create jobs here in America. We create jobs in America by getting the tax burden and the regulatory burden off the job creators, the small businesses here in America that are suffering and are suffocating with the burden of over-regulation and taxes. We could create more revenue for the Federal Government, not by raising taxes but by raising taxpayers, and we do that by putting people to work and creating a stronger economy. It's absolutely critical for the future of this Nation. We can't keep going down this road.

The National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities, I've heard all the arguments, and for the Smithsonian Institute and other things that a lot of people think are very beautiful and nice, just like that luxury automobile, but we need to stop it. The future of our Nation depends upon it. I'm fighting for America. I'm fighting for the future of our children and my grandchildren. Funding for the National Endowment for the Arts does not need to be a priority in the midst of these trying times, and I urge my colleagues to support a very simple request to reduce its funding by 10 percent.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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