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Mrs. KIRKPATRICK of Arizona. Mr. Chairman, I rise in support of my amendment to cut by 5 percent all of the discretionary spending in the Fiscal Year 2011 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act. I offer this amendment because it is imperative that Washington finally take notice and start acting to combat this year's record budget deficit and fast-growing national debt, which at last count amounted to an astounding $13.2 trillion.
Just 2 weeks ago, the cochairs of the nonpartisan Debt and Deficit Commission, former Republican Senator Alan Simpson and former Chief of Staff to President Bill Clinton, Erskine Bowles, said that if the government fails to take action, our debilitating Federal debt will destroy the country from within. Bowles further described the debt as a cancer on our Nation.
There are plenty of folks in my district and all across the country who are finding ways to raise families, run small businesses, and pay their bills despite having lost their jobs or taking deep pay cuts in this economic downturn. If the families in my district have been able to tighten their belts, then surely the Federal Government can do the same.
Congress should be leading by example when facing tough economic decisions. My proposed 5 percent congressional pay cut is just one way Members can show they are serious about tackling the looming fiscal crisis. That is why I have previously supported budget cuts to Federal programs and will continue to support such cuts as our economy recovers, and that is why I am offering this amendment.
I strongly support building our national infrastructure--roads and bridges, affordable housing, quality education, and expanding broadband--but our long-term fiscal health depends on Congress making hard choices today to protect our ability to provide critical infrastructure tomorrow.
This amendment makes a 5 percent cut to the programs funded in this bill, but ordinary families are seeing much bigger cuts to their income. I have to believe that if those families can continue to make ends meet in these tough times, the Transportation and Housing Departments can keep the important programs going with 95 cents out of each dollar.
We are here to represent the folks back home, the folks who understand that the old ways of Washington no longer work for the American people. Please join me in supporting this cut.
Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.
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