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Mr. ISAKSON. I thank Senator Alexander for the recognition and for joining with Senator Blunt in this colloquy. As I was listening to you talk, I thought back to what happened in my family Sunday night. I want to start my remarks with that.
My wife Dianne and I went to my son Kevin and his wife Katherine's house to cook out hamburgers on Sunday night. Three of my nine grandchildren were there: Elizabeth, Sarah Katherine, and William. Elizabeth had arrived late, by the way, because she had been at a birthday party, the theme of which was dressing their American Girl dolls.
When Elizabeth finally got home, she sat down by me and she said: Grandpa, I want to talk to you. She calls me ``Pops.'' I want to talk to you about my American Girl doll and some accessories that I want to buy. So she went over with me how much money it would take to buy the accessories and how much money she made for her chores. We sat down and kind of budgeted how many chores it is going to take to make the amount of money she needs to buy the American Girl doll accessories. Riding home that night I commented to my wife: You know, I just spent more time talking about budgeting and appropriating with my granddaughter than I have spent the entire year in the Senate.
This morning I was with Bud Peterson, the president of the Georgia Institute of Technology, and you can identify with this as a former president of the University of Tennessee, and Senator Blunt, the former president of Southwest Baptist University. He was talking about how tuition has not gone up that much, but the amount of State support to subsidize tuition has gone down because the States are having to live within their means, having to have balanced budgets. They are having to cut.
I thought to myself, here we are in Washington, the leaders of the country, the people who should be setting the example. Yet my State and my granddaughter are doing a better job than we are. That is an indictment of the system.
I joined the Senator when he commended Senator Reid on saying he was going to bring appropriations bills to the floor. I will come to the floor and cheer him again if he will bring them to the floor. We are running out of time, but we are also running out of the patience of the American people.
Senator Alexander's remarks about jobs--appropriations are all about jobs. Right now we are operating for the third year in a row under what is known as continuing resolutions. Do you know what that means? That means we are continuing to do things just as badly as we did the year before, because we are not facing the music. We are not prioritizing our expenditures. We are talking about the appropriations of the American people and their tax dollars.
Senator Murray was talking about taxes as one part of the equation. It is only one part. Spending is the other part of the equation. You only address spending by taking up appropriations bills, by having debate and by moving forward.
By way of example, my State is having a referendum in 2 weeks, a referendum on a $7.4 billion increase in sales tax dedicated for 10 years to roads and improvements in infrastructure. Our State needs it. The taxpayers are going to vote on it.
President Obama announced a couple of weeks ago a prioritization of the Port of Savannah in Georgia in terms of finishing the deepening and the widening of that project so the Panamax ships can come in. But if we are not doing appropriations bills on WRDA, we are not doing appropriations bills on the Corps of Engineers, we are not doing appropriations bills on highways, those jobs are not going to come, or we are not going to have jobs and the velocity of investment we need to have.
It is a real indictment of the greatest democracy on the face of this Earth, the leader of the entire free world, that in a time when we are in difficulties, we are in a time with increased debt, we are in a time of great challenges, we are talking more with our grandchildren about spending and saving than we are talking to each other about the money of the taxpayers of the United States of America.
I commend the Senator from Tennessee and the Senator from Missouri on their dedication to this subject and the leadership they have shown on appropriations in subcommittee work, and Senator Cochran, all of the members of the Appropriations Committee. The bills are ready. All it takes is for someone to drop the flag and say: Bring them to the floor. I hope Senator Reid will reconsider not bringing them to the floor and instead bring them to the floor. Let us talk about the American people's money. Let us talk about jobs. Let's talk about investment in the greatest country on the face of this Earth.
I yield back to the Senator from Tennessee.
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