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Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2008 --Continued --

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. GARRETT of New Jersey. Mr. Chairman, I too join in supporting this amendment, and the gentleman from North Carolina for doing it, for saving so much money for the American taxpayer.

Just prior to this we heard the chairman from the other side of the aisle, in essence, asking us in some ways to trample on our free speech rights in this House. And you know, when you do that, when you ask that we not speak on important issues here in this House for hours, for a period of time, and the other side of the aisle always points out that we're spending more time this year than we did in the past years trying to debate these issues. And I think the American public, quite honestly appreciates that, whether it's 86 hours or 186 hours. I think the American public looks to Congress to make sure that we spend their money appropriately, and looks for us to debate those issues appropriately as well.

We, each Member of Congress, as we stand here, represents a little over 600,000 individuals, men, women and children, across this country in our respective districts. When we come to this floor and speak on this floor, we are representing their voices. We bring their voices from New Jersey to this floor.

And so when the other side of the aisle says, oh, you go on too long over there in the minority, well they're saying that really to my constituents. They are complaining that my constituents' voice should be silenced. And I come to the floor right now and say, no, sir, my constituents voices will not be silenced. I will speak out when I can, where I can on behalf of the constituents of the Fifth District and the State of New Jersey as well.

Now, I know that we're looking at a bill here with $18.6 billion. Right now we're looking at an amendment for $100,000. To us, and my constituents, that's a lot of money. And if it takes us an hour or two hours to debate this one amendment, to get consensus to save $100,000, well, that's a lot of money to my constituents, and they would say that hour or two hours of debate is well worth it.

Now, maybe the other side of the aisle will disagree with me. Maybe the other side of the aisle doesn't care whether we spend 50,000, 100,000 of our hard-earned tax dollars. And maybe they will accept the amendment as they did in the past, and if they do so, the $100,000 amendment, we appreciate that.

But you know, in that regard, this really is a bipartisan effort then. It is really two parties coming together to solve a problem. The one party, the majority party, comes to this floor, raises our taxes, increases our spending.

The minority party, the Republicans, equally come to the floor, and we reach out our hand and work together. While the Democrats raise our taxes and raise the spending, we reach out a hand and say how about trying to bring that spending down just a little bit by $100,000, and by bipartisan effort we're able to get that down. So this is a bipartisan day, and I hope that we will see other amendments to increase that bipartisanship as well, as we try to rein in the spending that the other side has brought us.

And when we talk about what the other side has brought us, and one of the reasons why we need to save this $100,000, just think of what we've gone through in the last few months already and just recently in the last couple weeks. We have seen taxpayers on the American taxpayers go up by over $400 billion in one of the first bills that House passed under the majority party of their budget.

We have seen just recently them raising taxes again through the farm bill. And now with this underlying bill that we'll be looking at in a little bit on the SCHIP bill, another $60 billion in taxes.

And let me add just one more tax increase that maybe Members of both sides of the aisle may be forgetting about. Just a few hours ago, as I look at the clock, I came out of Financial Services Committee, where we, or the majority party, added the last piece to the puzzle with regard to another tax increase on the American public, and that's the MTI. That's the mortgage tax increase. That's a tax increase on every family in America who needs to go out and get a mortgage to buy their first home or their second or an additional home as they move into it.

Every family in America who will want to get out a mortgage in the future will now have to pay an MTI, a mortgage tax increase, thanks to the majority party in the legislation that is just finally put in place. So whether it is an increase in the budget taxes or the farm bill or the SCHIP or now an MTI as far as a tax increase as well, we're working with the other side of the aisle. As they raise taxes on the American family, we work with them here and there, to bring down the spending to a level that our taxpayers in our districts are able to abide by.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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