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Public Statements

Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2008

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

SUPPLEMENTAL APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - May 15, 2008)


Mr. Speaker, this is an important bill that we're debating today. In fact, it's a bill that has been kind of in the hopper, if you will, for months, and maybe even a year's time right now. This is a bill that the troops very badly need. And that's why it's odd to me that there are so many unrelated amendments to it.

I understand that when the Democrats took over, their promise to the fringe of their party was that we are going to get the troops out of Iraq. They have not delivered on that. And so what we have here is a little fig leaf debate on getting out of Iraq so that their Get Out of Iraq Caucus can have a political cover story so that when they go home over the Memorial Day recess, they can tell people, yeah, I voted to get out Iraq. But the truth is, there is no delivery here.

That debate alone should be something that we do all day long. It should be at least a week's worth of our time, if not more, the debate on getting out of Iraq and imperiling troops in the way. But no, the Democrat Party will not give that to their group that wants the Get Out of Iraq Caucus. What they want is a little fig leaf amendment to a bill, which they know is going to pass and they're hoping that this is going to cover their politics. That is a sham, and that is a shame. I respect somebody who wants to get out of Iraq now, but they should have a debate on that on a freestanding bill. It should not be an amendment.

Secondly, I want to point out the stuff which Mr. Culberson referred to as pork. Mr. Obey took exception to that. And I'd say this stuff isn't pork, but it isn't an emergency. It isn't stuff you put on the backs of our troops in the field.

I don't know how much money we spent in New Orleans, I would like to know. I think we, as Republicans, spent too much. I think you guys, as Democrats, are spending too much. I understand there is $5.8 billion for levees in New Orleans. Now, Mr. Speaker, as I recall, that did not happen recently.

There is money in here for the census. And I learned in eighth grade geography we do a census every 10 years. Why should that be put on an emergency bill? We know that the end of the decade comes. That funding should be done on an appropriate freestanding manner.

The Bureau of Prisons? Why are we passing that on the backs of soldiers? Contractor language. And I'm a former member of military construction and I represent four military installations. MILCON is very important to me. But why is it put on the back of a supplemental emergency bill? That is not what we do here. It should go through the regular appropriations process. It should go through a subcommittee. It should through a full committee before it comes to the House floor. It should not be an amendment that is put on a troop's bill.

I think that if we look back in history at the way that we were sticking it to, if you will, the minority party when we were in the majority, I think you guys have a very good case for that. In fact, I respect Mr. Obey. I have a page full of quotes from him.


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