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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. TOOMEY. Mr. President, I have a different plea for my colleagues; that is, to sustain this budget point of order, acknowledging that it does not cut one dime of spending from this supplemental. If my budget point of order is sustained, every single dime, if it were eventually passed--every dime that is allocated for future mitigation would, in fact, be spent for future mitigation.

The question before us is, when we are running trillion-dollar deficits, must we add another $60 billion on top of that deficit?

So what I have done is I have looked at this bill, and there are many parts that are not directly in aid of any of the victims of Sandy.

Look, my State was hit by that storm, not nearly as bad as New York and New Jersey and Connecticut and some others. But there are real victims of this storm, there are genuine needs, and we need to fund those needs. I am in favor of making sure we do fund the needs that we have. But we have a category of spending that is going for construction for years to come to mitigate against dangers of future storms in future years and future decades. That might be very wise, that might be very appropriate spending, but it is not an emergency.

This is not sandbags around someone's house who is in danger of a storm. That kind of infrastructure spending is the kind of spending we do routinely, but we plan for it and we budget it. If it is, indeed, the priority that many people--probably, including myself--believe it is, then it ought to be weighed in competition with the other pressing needs, and we ought to plan for it and budget for it. That is all I am asking.

So this budget point of order does not cut one dime of spending from this bill. It simply says the $3.4 billion that is identified for the construction of future mitigation projects would count toward the discretionary spending caps we have in place. Unfortunately, our deficit would grow if all else stays the same, but at least not by that $3.4 billion. That part would eventually have to be offset with some modest restraint on discretionary spending at some point.

But I would stress that there is not a dime that will be cut from this bill by virtue of this point of order, and it would establish that going forward, hopefully, when we are doing long-term construction projects for future mitigation, we would consider them in the context of the infrastructure spending that they are.

So for that reason, Mr. President, pursuant to section 314(e)(1) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, I raise a point of order against the emergency designation in the appropriation for the Army Corps of Engineers, ``Construction,'' contained in title 4 of the substitute amendment. And I yield the remainder of my time.

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