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Public Statements

Setting Priorities

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I am simply amazed that, when we are borrowing $4.2 billion a day from our grandkids--that is what we are borrowing, $4.2 billion a day--we are going to run a $1.4 trillion deficit, and we have a unanimous consent request to move to things that spend more money, money we do not have that we are going to borrow from the Chinese or Russians to be able to pay for it, and we are going to spend the money overseas. There is no question that we should try to develop consensus in our body, but the first consensus we should have is the priorities of the problems that are facing this country. The problems that are facing this country are so big and so massive that our attention ought to be focused on those large problems, not on five separate bills that have been proffered for special interest groups. I don't understand the motivations. What I do understand is that the American people get it, even if we do not.

The fact that we are going to make attempts for political purposes to put bills that are not paid for and that will add to the $4.2 billion a day that we borrow on the floor when our economy is languishing because we continue to grow the Federal Government, continue to build regulations that affect and diminish the desire for people with capital to invest it in our economy--and we force people out of this country to build their plants and manufacturing facilities because of our regulations and tax codes, I do not understand.

My objections--I will not spend the time exactly outlining my objections to all these bills, but my overall objection is the priorities we are setting in the Senate. We ought to be about creating confidence so people will invest in this country rather than continuing to undermine that confidence with superfluous, well-meaning bills that are put up for political purposes instead of addressing the real problems that are facing our country.

Out of a courtesy to Senator Reid and the agreement I just made with him, I will not offer my unanimous consent request at this time, but I will later today after he has had a chance to read them, on the following five bills:

The Veterans Second Amendment Protection Act. Mr. President, 140,000 veterans in this country have lost their second amendment rights. It has never been adjudicated that they were a danger to themselves or anybody else. Yet a bureaucrat somewhere has taken away their second amendment rights. This bill has come out of committee twice. Senator Burr is the lead sponsor on it. We treat veterans as second-class citizens when it comes to their second amendment rights. We ought to pass that. I will ask that later.

The Firearms Fairness and Affordability Act. We make firearms manufacturers pay their taxes every 2 weeks instead of quarterly like every other manufacturer in this country. But we penalize them. We ought to treat them the same as everybody else.

The earmark transparency bill gives one Web site so everybody in America can see where the earmarks are, who offered them, what the basis for them is, whether they were competitively bid. That is something America would like to see.

Then there are two tax cheat bills, for us as Members of Congress and our employees and then other Federal employees.

So I will not offer those unanimous consent requests at this time, but I will later in the day. Again, there are important, big problems in front of this country. We need to be about addressing those rather than special interest favors at this time.

I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.


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