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Department Of Labor, Health And Human Services, And Education, And Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Ms. FALLIN. Mr. Chairman, let me just say I appreciate the good work of the committee. And I know it takes a lot of effort to bring people together for setting the spending priorities and the policies of our Nation, and I know there have been a lot of hearings and testimony on this particular piece of legislation. And I want to commend the committee for their hard work, both Democrats and Republicans.

But I do rise to support this amendment. I think it's a reasonable amendment, to look at how we can, in this Congress, be more fiscally conservative, how we can control our spending.

I've had so many people come up to me since I've been elected as a newly elected freshman saying, we have to do a better job in Congress of controlling our spending.

This particular amendment cuts the budget by 1 percent. The budget that has been recommended is $10 billion over last year's. $10 billion is more than we spend in the State of Oklahoma's whole State budget. $10 billion is more than that. So I think it's reasonable to say that we would like to cut this amount by 1 percent. I don't know how people can argue with that.

Now, I've heard a lot of discussion here today about how this piece of legislation invests in education, health care, social systems, it's for the future of our children; and I don't think you'll find anyone up here who will argue against those things.

I've also heard some people stand up and say today that the Republicans like to spend money when it's their turn, but when we're spending money, then we're against it.

Well, when you look at the spending amounts that have occurred over the last many years in this Congress I, frankly, don't approve of that. I think we have been spending too much money in this Congress, and I'm not going to lay blame on either side, other than just to say that a 1 percent cut in this budget, to me, seems reasonable. There is an increase in spending for the important things, social programs, education, health care.

I've also heard some of the people who have spoken today talk about the future and about stupid political blunders, spending on policy like the Iraq war. Well, I guess we can have that debate, which we have had, for many, many months. But what I can say is that the money that has been spent by this Congress, and some people have asked, you know, has the money gone to wise things? I personally think that protecting our Nation, protecting our national security and spending that money is a well worth cause.

We're talking about the priorities that we're going to be having here in Congress. Some people have said well, look at the various appropriations bills that we've already had that we've been voting on. Some were $10 billion more, some were $7 billion more, $12 billion more. You didn't object to all the different spending levels that there were. When you add all those things up, that adds up to a lot of money.

And I guess all that is to say that no one in my State has called me and said, please tell Congress to spend a little bit more money. Please tell them that I'm not paying enough, and I have some more.

But what I do hear my people back home say is, set the priorities. Determine what's reasonable. Be fiscally responsible in how we're spending our money.

People are concerned about the rising cost of gas, the rising cost of health care. They're concerned about education, they're concerned about taking care of those who can't take care of themselves.

I think it is reasonable for us to look at a 1 percent cut in this budget, but yet still meet the priorities of this Nation in taking care of the people that need to be taken care of in this appropriations bill.


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