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Mr. Chairman, I want to begin first by thanking Chairman Wolf for his patience. Every single year, as he has shepherded this appropriations bill, I have come to this floor and offered an amendment that would include a 1 percent across-the-board spending cut. He has been very gracious and very kind, even though he opposes. And even though I appreciate the good work that the committees have done to reduce spending and to get these levels down, I believe that we can do more--and that we should be doing more.
I think it is admirable that the committee is showing us a 0.8 percent reduction. But if we would pass my amendment, we would save another $400 million. And that is a step that we need to take.
I think it is important to realize that this amendment exempts the $8.5 billion budget that is for the FBI. We think it is important that they get that for their vital mission that they conduct every single day in protecting American citizens at home and abroad and in conducting the activities that do help to keep the homeland and our people safe.
My amendment will not affect the efforts that are combating terrorism, cyber crime, human trafficking or violent gangs. It is a targeted spending cut that will result in a savings to the taxpayers of over $400 million.
Given the $51 billion price tag of this bill, I do not feel that it is asking too much to cut a little bit more.
I think it is important to note also that across-the-board spending cuts have worked at the State level. There is no reason not to utilize them here in Washington.
We have heard from so many of our Governors and our mayors that have trumpeted the use of across-the-board spending cuts. We have heard Chris Christie, a 9 percent across-the-board spending cut; Rick Perry in Texas, a 5 percent savings.
We have Governor Cuomo, who was looking at reducing 10 percent across the board; Schweitzer in Montana, 5 percent across the board.
They work, and there is a reason they do--because it is an equitable cut.
Mr. Chairman, we are $17 trillion in debt. This is something we can do for our children and our grandchildren and begin to responsibly roll back the amount that the Federal Government spends.
At this point in time, we are spending the money that our children have not made for programs that they do not want and will never, ever use. What we need to do is be wise stewards of the taxpayer dollar, now and in the future.
I also think this is an idea that the American people are beginning to support. I noted a recent poll--Washington Post-ABC News poll. This was March 6, 2013. Sixty-one percent of the American public actually supports not a 1 percent or a 2 percent, but a 5 percent across-the-board cut in all Federal spending.
It is time for us to do a little more to save a little more, to make a few more spending reductions, and to think about what the addition of debt--piling on more debt does to our children and our grandchildren and to their futures.
It is, indeed, capping and trading our children's futures to the people that hold our publicly-traded debt.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
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