or Login to see your representatives.

Access Candidates' and Representatives' Biographies, Voting Records, Interest Group Ratings, Issue Positions, Public Statements, and Campaign Finances

Simply enter your zip code above to get to all of your candidates and representatives, or enter a name. Then, just click on the person you are interested in, and you can navigate to the categories of information we track for them.

Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. COHEN. Mr. Chairman, this is an amendment we should be able to come together on. The administration requested $101 million for the operation and upgrading cruiser ships used by the United States Navy. That's what the Pentagon and the administration requested, $101 million.

However, what's been recommended is $607 million. That $607 million is an increase of over $500 million from what the Pentagon asked for, five times what the Pentagon asked for. At a time when so many of my colleagues are calling for a decrease in the spending on the Federal Government side, it seems that they should heed the requests of their constituents, the budget, and the advice of Congress and will refrain from throwing $500 million at this program that the Department of Defense is trying to phase out.

Now, my amendment would allocate $235 million of that 506 excess to defense health programs. The rest would be toward deficit reduction.

Americans would be better served if that $235 million didn't go to a program of buying cruiser ships that the Department of Defense doesn't want, and rather have this money go to health care research, which the Department of Defense does in the area of cancer research, breast cancer research, prostate cancer research, and other cancer research.

The Department of Defense has a strong cancer research program and can always use more money to save lives. I have been a strong supporter all my life of putting money into research in the National Institutes of Health and joining with Senator Specter in getting an additional $10 billion in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the National Institutes of Health.

One day, through research dollars, we will have a cure for cancer, a headline we want to see, a headline that cancer scientists find the cure for cancer. It may come because of an appropriation like this and not Congress passes five times the amount of money the Department of Defense wants for cruiser ships.

My goal in offering this amendment is to see that the cancer research programs are benefited, that they are doubled; and this investment in health care research is an investment in our Nation's future and an investment in every human being here as a potential victim of cancer. There are other diseases which the National Institutes of Health look at. Whether it's Alzheimer's, diabetes, heart disease and others, cures need to be found and government should be investing monies in those places.

This is one place where the Department of Defense emphasizes cancer research. Even with the doubling of investment of cancer research, this amendment does reduce the overall cost of the appropriations bill. At a time when we have seen cuts to other research programs like the National Institutes of Health, it's important to identify every single dollar that can be used to further research efforts.

A vote for this amendment is a vote in favor of furthering our country's cancer research and protecting all citizens out there who are potential victims of this awful disease and reduce the overall cost of this legislation as well.

I urge you to vote ``yes'' on this amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. COHEN. I'm not going to repeat some of the arguments that were made by my colleague from Rhode Island, but I understand them.

There is, indeed, a large need for infrastructure in our country. We're falling far behind, and we've invested a lot of money in Afghanistan that has been wasted; a tremendous amount of money has been wasted. The most recent report I saw said that we cannot even begin to approximate how much money has been stolen and wasted in Afghanistan.

We're not providing infrastructure for the people. We're providing a ruling class, a limited--we talk about the 2 percent here--we're talking about the one-tenth of 1 percent in Afghanistan, if that, and giving them the opportunity to put money in their pocket that should be going to the people.

I ask the gentleman on the other side of the aisle who opposed the last amendment to consider this one, which almost passed last year, same basic amendment. This takes 175 million out, leaves 200 million in the fund, but it says they have got to prioritize, pick their projects and pick what they do.

It doesn't decimate the fund; it just prioritizes and takes 175 million out of the Afghan infrastructure fund. We rebuilt Iraq. They're partners with Iran now. Didn't do us a lot of good.

Most of us have been to Afghanistan or, at least, better yet, many of us have. We could do all the infrastructure in the world. It will go to waste. They can't even maintain it.

They don't have vehicles to use the roads. It's crazy to build them roads to go from point A to point B when they don't have cars. They have got oxen and carts.

So I would say that we reduce it by 175 million, we leave 200 million. Certainly I want our troops out. I went and visited with 124 soldiers, Guardsmen in Memphis, who were going down to Camp Shelby before they go to Afghanistan. I went down to visit with them yesterday when they went off, all police people.

I suspect that one of those people may not come back. I hated the idea that those people were leaving Memphis to go to Afghanistan. It will be the last troops going over.

I want them out. If Mr. Young understands, I guess, there is some magic to this money, there would be $200 million left. If it's roads to get them out and airports to get them out, fine. But I can't believe they need all 375; and I have to submit that I think that a lot of that money is for roads, infrastructure, hospitals, grids, whatever that has nothing to do with our troops getting out. It has something to do with some people who continue a policy that has failed to really build up goodwill toward America or to see that the monies go where they belong.

I ask that we think of America first, we get our troops out, we leave $200 million in the fund. I ask you to approve this amendment and reduce the Afghanistan Infrastructure Fund by $175 million. I urge my colleagues to support the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. I would say to the sponsor of the amendment that this is a more reasonable approach--yes, it is--but this actually cuts the fund in half. Now, that is a major cut on something that our military commanders in the field say that they really need to have.

Now, the committee took a $25 million cut, but that was in agreement with the commanders. They felt that they could absorb that cut and still do the program, but I don't think I can support cutting this program in half.

Mr. COHEN. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. I yield to the gentleman.

Mr. COHEN. I didn't know, in your statement to the gentleman from Rhode Island, why are these funds needed to get our troops out? Do we not have airplanes, roads, boats and whatever to get our folks out?

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. We are having a little trouble hearing at the table here.

Mr. COHEN. I said, in response to the gentleman from Rhode Island, you have said these funds, all $375 million, were needed to get our troops out of Afghanistan. Are we building, like, runways to get all our troops out, roads to get them out?

Mr. YOUNG of Florida. Reclaiming my time, I want the troops out of Afghanistan as soon as our military commanders advise us and the President that we can do so and we can do it safely.

I have seen on my weekly visits to the Walter Reed/Bethesda Hospital, I have seen the terrible, terrible tragic cost of this war, and that doesn't even talk about those who have lost their lives.

I don't want to walk through that hospital and see any more quadruple or triple amputees. I don't want to see that, and our military commanders must make that decision. We are not in a position to make that decision of how, when, where do we accomplish this departure from Afghanistan with victory.

And so I still have to express my objection to this amendment because it cuts the fund that our military commanders tell us that they need--cuts it in half. And so I just have to oppose the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. COHEN. Mr. Chairman, this is an amendment we should be able to come together on. The administration requested $101 million for the operation and upgrading cruiser ships used by the United States Navy. That's what the Pentagon and the administration requested, $101 million.

However, what's been recommended is $607 million. That $607 million is an increase of over $500 million from what the Pentagon asked for, five times what the Pentagon asked for. At a time when so many of my colleagues are calling for a decrease in the spending on the Federal Government side, it seems that they should heed the requests of their constituents, the budget, and the advice of Congress and will refrain from throwing $500 million at this program that the Department of Defense is trying to phase out.

Now, my amendment would allocate $235 million of that 506 excess to defense health programs. The rest would be toward deficit reduction.

Americans would be better served if that $235 million didn't go to a program of buying cruiser ships that the Department of Defense doesn't want, and rather have this money go to health care research, which the Department of Defense does in the area of cancer research, breast cancer research, prostate cancer research, and other cancer research.

The Department of Defense has a strong cancer research program and can always use more money to save lives. I have been a strong supporter all my life of putting money into research in the National Institutes of Health and joining with Senator Specter in getting an additional $10 billion in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the National Institutes of Health.

One day, through research dollars, we will have a cure for cancer, a headline we want to see, a headline that cancer scientists find the cure for cancer. It may come because of an appropriation like this and not Congress passes five times the amount of money the Department of Defense wants for cruiser ships.

My goal in offering this amendment is to see that the cancer research programs are benefited, that they are doubled; and this investment in health care research is an investment in our Nation's future and an investment in every human being here as a potential victim of cancer. There are other diseases which the National Institutes of Health look at. Whether it's Alzheimer's, diabetes, heart disease and others, cures need to be found and government should be investing monies in those places.

This is one place where the Department of Defense emphasizes cancer research. Even with the doubling of investment of cancer research, this amendment does reduce the overall cost of the appropriations bill. At a time when we have seen cuts to other research programs like the National Institutes of Health, it's important to identify every single dollar that can be used to further research efforts.

A vote for this amendment is a vote in favor of furthering our country's cancer research and protecting all citizens out there who are potential victims of this awful disease and reduce the overall cost of this legislation as well.

I urge you to vote ``yes'' on this amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT


Source:
Back to top