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Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2006

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Speaker, I want to say back during the spring we went through our annual budget process. The Budget Committee has testimony from all sectors of society and the government who are affected by the budget. It is a good debate.

In the final analysis, that budget came to the floor and after weeks and months of discussion and arm twisting, it passed by a vote of 214-212. I may be wrong on this, I do not think any of the Democrats voted for it. Most of the Democrats, I would say, are very consistent saying we should be spending more money and, therefore, they voted against it. But there are other Democrats who are saying look at the deficit, look at this, look at that. Boy, these Republicans are spending too much. There is clearly a mixed signal here, and clearly some dissension in the Democratic ranks.

But when you pass a budget in the spring and it is passed by this body and the other body, then the subcommittees of Appropriations have to follow that budget. That is what this does. Sometimes making these decisions is very, very tough.

This bill actually eliminates 29 lower-priority programs. One of the programs I am a supporter of, the National Youth Sports Program, I like that program. They operated in Savannah. But when you look at the context of some of the other programs and you realize this is run by the NCAA, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and they are the same people who put on the Rose Bowl, the Rose Bowl alone generates $30 million in revenue. Perhaps they can replace the $18 million that Congress is putting into it right now. There are ways to keep these programs alive even though the Federal Government is not picking up the tab for them.

It is my hope on these 29 programs that are terminated, that the local, the State level will step in, the private sector will step in; and a lot of what they are doing are duplicated in other programs. I have to say that these are very important.

I have to say also, Mr. Speaker, that I had a lot of local programs that were eliminated. These are programs which I have worked very hard on over the years to try to get into this budget. Those were the earmarks: Memorial Hospital in Savannah, Georgia; St. Joseph's Hospital in Savannah, Georgia; a project for the city of Moultrie; the Warner Robbins Aviation Museum; the Civil Rights Museum in Savannah, Georgia; and Brunswick Hospital. These were a lot of good programs that I personally hoped to get in, things that were within the budget that were doable. And yet in the end because of the legislative process, all earmarks had to be eliminated.

I was not happy about that, but I understand. In the bigger picture of things, you have to do what the body can pass, what there are votes for.

In this case, where did the money go? It went to community health clinics. It goes to Medicare modernization and medical research.

Incidentally, we talk about the NIH. The funding for the NIH has doubled under Republican leadership under a commitment made by the former Speaker, Mr. Gingrich. I have to say, I am a little disappointed in what we have gotten for our money. I have not seen a plethora of medical solutions and new devices and vaccines and all kinds of other research that I had hoped doubling the NIH budget would give us. Nonetheless, NIH still gets an increase under this bill.

The bill also restores community service block grants. Lots of things like the Job Corps program are funded in this bill. Despite its tightness in some areas, Mr. Regula has worked with the committee to put on what I think is a solidly balanced bill and face the economic realities of today with today's budget.


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