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Cutting Federal Unnecessary and Expensive Leasing Act of 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. CHAFFETZ. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

H.R. 6324, the Cutting Federal Unnecessary and Expensive Leasing Act, or Cutting FUEL Act, of 2012 is a bipartisan piece of legislation introduced by Mr. Hanna of New York and Mr. Barrow of Georgia.

With a $16 trillion debt, Congress and the Federal Government need to spend taxpayer dollars more efficiently and help reduce costs. Federal agencies currently own or lease roughly 660,000 cars, vans, sport utility vehicles, trucks, buses, and ambulances; and I'm sure there are a host of other items as well. During fiscal year 2011, the Federal Government spent roughly $4.4 billion to maintain and operate these vehicles, including $1.3 billion in fuel costs alone. During the last 5 years, Federal agencies purchased an average of approximately 68,000 new vehicles annually at a cost of roughly $1.5 billion per year.

The Bowles-Simpson National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform recommended reducing the number of nonessential vehicles owned or leased by Federal agencies, other than the Department of Defense or the postal service, by 20 percent. According to some estimates, this proposal could save up to $500 million over the next 10 years.

The Cutting FUEL Act would reduce the government's spending on civilian vehicle purchases and leases by 20 percent and would maintain that reduced level of spending for 5 years. This reduction would not apply to military or postal vehicles, and there is an exception provided for national security vehicles as well.

Mr. Speaker, I think this is a good, commonsense piece of legislation, and we want to encourage Members to support this bill.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. CHAFFETZ. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I would hope we would be very bipartisan, at least here in the House of Representatives, in criticizing the United States Senate for not acting on what has passed in this House of Representatives.

It is crystal clear from the record that it has been more than 1,200 days since the United States Senate has addressed and passed a budget. We have passed more than 30 bills that are directly related to jobs and the economy out of the House of Representatives, sit directly in the United States Senate and continue to not be addressed.

I would hope that my colleague would join me in this bipartisan chorus to say this is ridiculous. We can't do the work of the people if the United States Senate doesn't actually do their job. I think I would agree in concept that, yes, there is work to do. Unfortunately, I don't see much of that happening over in the United States Senate.

This bill, H.R. 6324, happens to be a good, bipartisan piece of legislation that reduces spending, something called for in Simpson-Bowles. It is a responsible thing to do. It sets the goal in the framework the agencies would need to comply with. It would save hundreds of millions of dollars, and yet we hear that, well, it's not a time to do this because we need to think about it more.

We're paying more than $600 million a day in interest on our national debt. If you spent a million dollars a day every day, it would take you almost 3,000 years to get to 1 trillion. Since this President took office when we had $10 trillion in debt, we're now at $16 trillion in debt, and all they're concerned about is, well, you know, we've got to talk.

We don't have time. We've got to act now. We've got to pass bills like this. It's irresponsible not to. We need to continue to call upon the Senate to actually do their job and engage in the people's work. The country will be better off.

I encourage my colleagues to join in support of Representative Hanna's bill. It's a good, commonsense, bipartisan piece of legislation with broad support. It's H.R. 6324, and I urge my colleagues to vote ``yea.''

I yield back the balance of my time.

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