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Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

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Mr. CULBERSON. Mr. Speaker, why are House conservatives so determined to cut the budget and move towards a balanced budget?

Every 5 years, the Joint Chiefs of Staff get together and they do a strategic review of the threats facing this Nation. In the last review, they determined that the greatest threat facing our Nation was the national debt, that it would ultimately consume us and cause its collapse.

Just a few days ago, we celebrated Texas Independence Day. But for the debt the Republic of Texas accumulated, we would have continued as an independent nation. That debt caused a collapse of the Republic of Texas, and House conservatives are deeply concerned that these debts and deficits will ultimately crush the United States of America just as it did the Republic of Texas.

How do we even begin to get our mind around it and understand it? Think in these terms: in your personal lives, you always pay your mortgage and taxes first.

I deduct my mortgage and taxes out of my paycheck. We all do. You have to pay your mortgage and taxes first. America's mortgage and taxes are Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, interest on the national debt and veterans' benefits. Those are things we must pay first. That's our mortgage and taxes.

When we pay our mortgage and taxes first as a Nation, it consumes all of our income. All that's left is about $185 billion. When we pay Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, interest on the national debt, veterans' benefits, that's it. All you're left with is $185 billion, America, to run the government for the entire year. That will only run the Federal Government for about 10 days.

We, as a Nation, are living on a credit card that will be paid for by our children and grandchildren, which is a devastating heritage to leave to our kids. This is why House conservatives are so determined to balance the budget. But we recognize how essential national security is. We recognize how vital it is that our men and women in uniform focus on their mission, focus on defending America around the world. We don't want them to worry about whether or not they've got enough equipment, enough gas, enough ammo, that they've got the best facilities in the world, the best health care in the world.

That's why Chairman Rogers and Chairman Young put together this bill. I'm proud to be a part of it for my piece, the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs portion, to make sure our men and women in uniform can focus on their mission and not look over their shoulder and worry for one moment that they have the full support of the Congress, the full support of the American people to do what they have to do to put their lives on the line to defend this great Nation.

This bill is essential because it funds the military at a level for fiscal year '13, which is a sufficient increase that will allow them to absorb these automatic budget cuts--the sequester. That terminology is confusing to folks, but it is essentially an automatic spending cut across the board.

All of us conservatives want to see those cuts go into place, and we'd like to shift them away from the military and move them into other areas; but we've got a situation in which conservatives only control, basically, one half of one-third of the Federal Government. We are outnumbered. We feel a little bit like the Spartans at Thermopylae. We're doing our best to get moving towards a balanced budget in a way that is prudent, that won't raise taxes, that protects our military and the veterans and the essential needs of this Nation.

Chairman Bill Young has done a superb job in putting together a Defense bill at this level of funding for the Defense Department. In fact, we determined yesterday from the Chief of Staff of the Army, General Odierno, that, by passing this bill today, we will solve at least a third of the problems that the Army would face as a result of the automatic spending cuts. By funding at fiscal year '13, when the cuts kick in, it's a far softer blow to the military than it would be if we were stuck at '12 levels. As well, the Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Greene, said that the difference was night and day. By passing this bill today, it will cushion the blow on the Navy dramatically.

I look forward to working with my colleagues from all over the country to continue to work to soften the blow on the military; but this bill is essential in order to make sure our men and women in uniform have everything they need to do their jobs to protect this country.

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