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Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - June 13, 2007)

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Mr. HARE. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.

Mr. Chairman, I'm a new Member of this institution. I sat here last night, along with a lot of Members of this body; and on my way, walking to my apartment, I was walking with another freshman Member, and we were talking about what did we just do.

It was what we didn't do. We listened to procedure after procedure, stall after stall, finger-pointing after finger-pointing; and here we were talking about, I thought, an appropriation for something that is incredibly important to this entire Nation. Our national security is at stake.

I'm going to say something also as a new Member. I will comment on the bill in a moment.

I want to commend the chairman of the Appropriations Committee. Quite frankly, he has a much longer fuse than I have. So much finger-pointing going on. I know how much work that he and Representative Price and other people have put into these bills.

I'm not an appropriator. I'm a clothing worker, but I'm a freshman Member of this body, and I know finger-pointing when I see it. I know coming to the floor and getting your picture on TV and making sure the cameras hear every word that you say, but I also know the difference between right and wrong. And I will tell you this, Mr. Chairman, last night this was absolutely one of the worst dog-and-pony shows I've seen, and hopefully we will never have to revisit this again.

To the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, let me say, I understand how much work went into this, and to the appropriators, how many hearings went on. I heard about the 3 1/2 -month delay that we were blamed about, but the very same chairman of the Appropriations Committee was verbally blasted in this Chamber because he had the unmitigated gall to try to put things in that would give hurricane relief to people affected on the gulf coast, give an opportunity for people to be able to have better lives, a farm disaster, wildfires that we don't have any money for to put out.

How quick we can be to criticize. It's easy, very easy to do.

I'm here tonight to say to this chairman of the committee and to the appropriators, I thank you for the hard work that you have done. We'll get these passed. We have agreed to a rule that opened this Chamber up to allow people to be able to do it, to be able to offer amendments and to come to the floor. I didn't think we offered it so that we could just have a 2 o'clock in the morning marathon, but I was elected to do the work of the people of the 17th Congressional District.

This bill fulfills the commitment to the 9/11 Commission's recommendations. How many years have we been waiting for that, Mr. Chairman?

It provides significant increased support to our first responders, to Customs and border agents and the Transportation and Security Administration. It appropriates $44 million above 2007 to infrastructure protection so communities can identify and assess critical security vulnerabilities. It funds disaster relief to the tune of $1.7 billion so our State and local governments can respond to declared disasters or emergencies.

My congressional district runs almost from the Wisconsin border to St. Louis. I've seen what floods can do to my district. I see what it could do to our farmers and how it can displace people. This bill provides $230 million to modernize and digitize over 100,000 flood maps used to determine rates for the National Flood Insurance program.

And the bill assures the consistent application of Davis-Bacon prevailing wage standards to construction projects funded with Federal grants. By guaranteeing payments of the prevailing local wage rate, this legislation facilitates a better standard of living and economic security for workers, particularly in rural communities and small towns in my district.

I want to close, Mr. Chairman, by again thanking the chairman of the Appropriations Committee. I thank my friend Congressman Price for the hard work that he's put in. As I said, these bills will pass, and we will let the people of our district and the people of this Nation be the ones to decide which one of us, which Member of this body, really came here to do the work of the people. I did and so did many, many of my colleagues in this Chamber. But I will tell you what I won't do: I will not go back to my congressional district and apologize for putting in for projects.

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Mr. HARE. Mr. Chairman, I'm not going to apologize for trying to keep my arsenal, the 7,500 jobs there that produce armor to keep our troops safe in Iraq. I'm not apologizing for trying to save the community of Galesburg that lost a plant because of unfair trade policies to Sonora, Mexico. I don't apologize for writing things and asking for money. It's the taxpayers' money.

I don't apologize for anything I came here to work on. I will continue to work. But let me tell you, I'm not going to go through another night like I had last night. I'm going to be very vocal, and I'm going to stand up and I'm going to defend the people of this district.

I'm going to defend our leadership because I don't think they need defense, but I think they need to know there are a lot of us that really believe in what they have been doing.

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