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Surface Transportation Earmark Rescission, Savings, and Accountability Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. DUNCAN. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this legislation, H.R. 5730. It rescinds $713.2 million in contract authority for 309 projects from four prior Surface Transportation Authorization Acts. This rescission of contract authority will come from the following authorization bills: $4.5 million for projects designated in the Surface Transportation and Uniform Relocation Assistance Act of 1987; $263.5 million for projects designated in the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991; $441.4 million designated for projects in the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century; and $8.1 million authorized by the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act, SAFETEA.

In total, H.R. 5730 rescinds approximately $713 million in contract authority, which is a type of budget authority. However, this bill, like the bill sponsored by Mr. Perriello last week, unfortunately will not have any impact on outlays or direct spending. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the budget deficit is defined as the amount by which the Federal Government's outlays exceed its total revenues. Because H.R. 5730 will not reduce the Federal Government's outlays, this bill, unfortunately, will not reduce the budget deficit. However, I believe it is smart for Congress to look at the projects it has funded in the past and take the projects that are no longer going to move forward off the books.

While I certainly applaud the gentlewoman from Colorado for this legislation, we need to go much further. Congress needs to do much more to reduce our ballooning national debt and the current budget deficit.

Last week the Office of Management and Budget projected that this year's budget deficit will be $1.5 trillion. If I told somebody 10 years ago or even 5 years ago that we would be facing a $1.5 trillion deficit in 1 year's time, they wouldn't have believed it. By the end of the year, the Federal debt will represent 62 percent of our Nation's economy. Congress needs to step up and take immediate action to ensure our children and grandchildren are not buried under a mountain of debt.

I've also been asked by Ranking Member Mica to point out that none of the five Transportation and Infrastructure Committee bills being considered on the floor today were sponsored by members of the minority. Traditionally, 30 percent of the bills considered under suspension of the rules have been sponsored by members of the minority. However, of the 43 T&I committee suspension bills that have been considered this session, only four have been sponsored by members of the minority, and we certainly encourage the committee to try to work to improve this percentage back to its traditional 30 percent.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.


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