Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:  Marsha Blackburn
Date: June 27, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. I want to begin by thanking the committee for its extraordinarily hard work in identifying ways to cut spending.

All of us hear from our constituents. They want us to reduce what the Federal Government spends, to be wise and proper stewards of the Federal taxpayer dollar. All too often, they look at Washington and they see a monument to waste of the American taxpayer dollar.

Mr. Chairman, for the legislation that is in front of us, the fiscal year 2013 proposed funding level is $51.6 billion, which is $1.9 billion below the President's request. I think it is admirable that we have saved nearly $2 billion below the President's request. However, we know that there is much more work that can be done, that should be done, that must be done. Therefore, my 1 percent across-the-board spending reduction amendment will save taxpayers an additional $516 million.

That is $516 million that our children and our grandchildren will not have to pay back with interest.

I'm fully aware of the strong opposition that many appropriators have for these across-the-board spending cuts. When I've offered these cuts, I have been told that ``the cuts of this magnitude, quite honestly, go too deep.'' I've also heard that these 1 percent spending reductions would be ``very damaging to our national security and to things that are important to life and property.''

However, the taxpayers are demanding that the bureaucracy do what they are doing and save a penny on a dollar. Our Governors are quite active in this arena. Of course, we have heard from former Governor Mitt Romney, Governor Chris Christie, Governor Rick Perry, Governor Mitch Daniels, Governor Brian Schweitzer, Governor Chris Gregoire, just to name a few of our State executives. In the chairman's home State of Iowa, former Democratic Governor Chet Culver issued a 10 percent across-the-board spending reduction.

These across-the-board spending cuts are used around our country in a bipartisan fashion, and the reason they are is because they work. They work. This is how you get results, by actually cutting into the baseline and reducing the outlays of government. They are effective because they cut spending within each agency and force each agency to do a review and find the waste and find ways to preserve those precious dollars that are coming from the taxpayers.

Admiral Mullen made the statement that ``the greatest risk to our Nation's security is our Nation's debt.'' Mr. Chairman, we all know that. The American people know this. They have grown ill and fatigued with what they see as waste of their money here in Washington because this government never satisfies its appetite for the taxpayers' dollar. Because of that, because they think they can go to the well and ask for more, because they think they can go to the presses and print those dollars, they don't do the hard work of prioritizing. That is what we're to do here in this House.

In that spirit of forcing the actions of prioritizing, forcing the actions of the bureaucracy, having to save one penny on a dollar so that our children and grandchildren are not paying that back with interest, that is the reason that I bring these amendments. It's important because right now we're borrowing 40 cents of every dollar that we spend. We cannot afford this. It is incumbent upon us to make certain that we do the hard work, that we cut a little more, that we make the demands on the bureaucracy that our constituents are making on their businesses and on their family budgets. It is time for us to save just a penny on a dollar, make the cut, do it for our children and future generations.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. I thank the chairman for yielding, and as I said at the beginning, I applaud the committee for the good work they have done.

I think when you're broke, though, that what we have to do is say now is the time to make further cuts. And to the ranking member, it's not indiscriminate. This is the way our Governors have found to arrive at balancing a budget. It's looking at every agency and saying get in there, do the heavy lift and find this. The result we want is to preserve the foundation of this great Nation for our children and grandchildren.

Are you saying that salaries and expenses are more important than the future of these children who are going to have to pay this debt back with interest, $16 trillion worth of debt and growing, and you've got to pay it back?

My two grandchildren, my children, is it fair to look at them and say, You're going to spend over half of what you earn? I know that it is tough.

As the gentleman inferred, I'm at it again. Yes, you're right, Mr. Chairman. I am at it again. And let me tell you something. I am going to be at it again and again and again, just as I have every single year that I have been a Member of this House because preserving the firm financial footing of this Nation is work, coming at it again and again and again until we get the job done.

It has worked for our cities. It has worked for our counties. It has worked for our States. It will work for this Nation that is so richly blessed. It means that we have to have titanium backbones to get the job done.

I thank the chairman for yielding.

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