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Public Statements

Omnibus Appropriations Act, 2009--Continued

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

OMNIBUS APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2009--CONTINUED -- (Senate - March 10, 2009)


Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I opposed the amendment offered by Senator Vitter to the Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus appropriations bill that would repeal the automatic cost of living adjustment, COLA, for Members of Congress starting in fiscal year 2010. The Omnibus appropriations bill already eliminates the Members of Congress COLA for fiscal year 2010. I choose to give my COLA to worthy charities because I know that many families in Massachusetts and across the Nation are struggling to make ends meet and need help.

I opposed the Vitter amendment because it could have jeopardized the enactment of the omnibus legislation which includes critical investments in America's future. Given the process of the bill winding its way through Congress, the Vitter amendment would have essentially stopped the omnibus in its tracks. We can't afford to have this bill delayed. The bill increases our energy security by prioritizing research and development of renewable energy and energy efficiency including solar power, biofuels, vehicle technologies, energy-efficient buildings, and advanced energy research. It also includes strong investments into cutting-edge science so that our Nation will maintain its preeminence in the global economy and create new jobs. The bill also keeps Americans safe by supporting the Community Oriented Policing Services, or COPS program, and the Byrne justice assistance grants, which help State and local law enforcement fight and prevent crime in communities across America.

The Vitter amendment should be considered on another legislative vehicle that would not jeopardize our national priorities.


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