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Transportation, Housing And Urban Development, And Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Mr. Chairman, I recall last term in the 109th Congress in the Budget Committee where I served the gentleman from Minnesota who's no longer with us, Mr. Gutknecht, who made a point with regard to spending by this House and Washington, D.C. You know, in that committee you could always put up charts on the wall with regard to spending, chart A on mandatory spending or B on discretionary spending or health care or other spending. You would put them all up there. And Gil one time went through all the charts and he said, now, can you put up the chart of all the people and lobbyists that come down to Washington to ask for a reduction in their program and spending? And of course they put up a blank screen. Of course, Gil's point was, no one ever comes to Washington, no lobbyist ever comes before the House or committee and says that their program should see a flatlining or a reduction in their programs. And that's really the point here tonight, and it has been all last week.

We are here to set the priorities because everyone that comes to every Member of Congress looks for us to spend more on them, and so we must set priorities because they won't do it for us. So just as the American family has to set priorities, we do. Just as the American family says, we're not going to buy a cable TV system and a Dish TV system and a satellite TV system, we're going to set priorities, pick one if we can afford it. Maybe we can't afford it at all. And when it comes to heating our house, we're not going to have electric heat and hot water heat and coal heat and gas heat. We're going to pick one, hopefully the most efficient. That's what families do. And we would hope that Congress does the exact same thing with the money. Set priorities.

And this amendment really just calls us on doing that, looking to see, not a 6.7 percent increase but a 6.2 percent increase and try to set priorities.

Now, the other side of the aisle says, well, we are being stingy with all these programs if we are not able to go up by a 6.7 percent increase.

I would suggest to the other side of the aisle maybe they are not looking at the right side of the ledger, the right side of the equation. Look at the families who have to pay for all these inefficient, duplicative, and unnecessary programs that they want to spend taxpayer dollars on. Look instead at the American family when it comes to education.

When it comes to education, well, if they do successfully pass the largest tax increase in U.S. history, which they are about to do, the American family is going to have to see their educational spending cut. The American family is going to have to decide whether they can send all of their children to college or not.

The other side should look at the issue of health care for the American family because what they want to do is tell the American taxpayer, you have to cut your spending on health care. Maybe you have a child that needs new braces or glasses or something like that. Well, with their tax increases, the American family is asked to cut their spending.

How about housing? The other side of the aisle would say the same thing. Maybe it is a young family trying to start off to save enough money to buy their first house. Well, the other side of the aisle would like to raise their taxes on them so that they can put these duplicative programs through, and they will not be able to afford their housing.

Finally, most importantly, after the other side puts on all these burdens when it comes to cutting the taxpayer with regard to education or health care or housing, the biggest burden is on time. When the Democrats raise the largest tax increase in American history on the American family, what they are also doing is taking away time from the American family because now families which weren't working two jobs now have to work two jobs. Families that weren't working overtime before now have to work overtime just to pay for the extra burden that this government in Washington, under Democrat leadership, is imposing on them.

So the most basic thing we could all look for, time with our family, is being robbed, is being taxed, is being taken away from the American family just so we can implement what the Democrats see as necessary, but truthfully we have shown are not priorities, truthfully are unnecessary, duplicative, hugely increased, inefficient programs.

Let's focus again back on the American family. Let's focus again back on allowing them to have time with their family and put the burden where it should be.

I support this amendment and encourage my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to do so as well.


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