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Department Of The Interior, Environment, And Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 - Conference Report

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I am going to spend a few minutes talking about the bill we just passed. I decided to save my remarks so my colleagues wouldn't miss their planes and trains and could get out of here and not delay them prior to the vote.

I listened intently to Senator Sessions and his discussion prior to the vote, and I wish to raise a word of caution for the American public. What we just did in the Senate was to set the government on a course to double in 5 years. The size of the Federal Government will double in 5 years if we keep doing what we have been doing on appropriations bills. There is a 16.9-percent increase in this bill, with a truly negative inflation rate as far as the basket for American people and how we look at that.

I had several amendments in the bill. All but one of them became compromised after it came out. That is not necessarily the problem of Senator Alexander or Senator Feinstein. But what we have done in this bill is prioritize the environment over the violation of our borders. We have hamstrung our Border Patrol, and the consequence of that is we are going to continue to see drugs, we are going to continue to see these ``rape trees,'' through the bringing in illegally of people and then the people being brought in illegally to the country being raped.

This bill had 540 earmarks--71 pages of earmarks. We had an amendment in the bill for competitive bidding. The language came out of the conference report that competitive bids would be applied to everybody except people with earmarks. The American people need to understand what that means. That means the well-heeled in this country who have a connection to a Member of this body get a benefit, and so it doesn't even have to be competitively bid. That doesn't even address the question of whether it is a priority for the country. It addresses the question of whether we may be paying two or three times what we should be paying, even if it is a good project.

So I raise the question, for the people who are listening, and I say that what we are doing is wrapping a cord around ourselves and then tying the knot so we get to a point where we cannot fix what ails us. If you look at the U.S. dollar and the lack of confidence, and you look at the meetings that have been going on by people who purchase our debt, they are trying to create a new reserve currency. That is ongoing. They do not deny it. What will happen to us is, we will be on an unsustainable course, where we can't pay the $800 billion of interest in 10 years. That interest is based on an interest rate of 4 percent, not at zero percent today.

It could very well be that in 2019, the largest portion of the expenditures of the Federal Government--well over 45 percent--will be interest. What does that mean?

What does that mean to the average family in this country? What does that mean to your children, Mr. President? What does that mean to my grandchildren? What are the consequences?

Let me explain the conservative consequences and then I will finish. If you take everybody alive in this country today who is under 20 and you add everybody who is going to be born over the next 20 years--so we have everybody who is under 40, 20 years from now--here is what they are going to owe. These are not my numbers. These are actuarial numbers that have been certified. Every one of them is going to owe $1.119 million. They are either going to be responsible for that portion of the real debt or that portion of the unfunded liabilities for which they will never gain any benefit.

So ask yourself: If we keep doing what we just did in this body, what are we doing to our kids and our grandkids?

We are absolutely abandoning the heritage of this country, and we do it cavalierly. I mean, there were 28 votes against this 16-percent increase on one bill. Only 28 votes. Only 28 Senators said a 16.9-percent increase in spending is too much, when most families' income has declined by 3.7 percent this year.

We don't get it. I don't understand why we continue to do it. I am as frustrated as the people outside this body. But I can tell you, there is a day of reckoning coming and not just for our country financially but for the Members of this body. The American people are going to wake up, they are going to see we have mortgaged their future, their children's future, and their grandchildren's future, and they are going to say: Enough. The hope would be it will not be too late.

With that, I yield to the Senator from Pennsylvania.

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