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Resolution to Cut Congress' Budget

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WALDEN. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the chairman of the House Administration Committee for his help and assistance as we worked through the transition. I also want to thank the ranking member the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Brady) and the gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Andrews) as well who were designated by then-Speaker Pelosi to be a formal conduit for us on the transition. They were most helpful and gave us good insights. And I want to thank all the Members who participated and the staff whom we reached out to in a survey across this campus to say, How can we do this better? How can we be more efficient with our time and the taxpayers' money? Where can we cut costs?

Today is that first installment. There is an old saying that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Ladies and gentlemen, this is a single step forward, but it is a $35 million first step. We think we can at least save that in this effort today, and leadership really starts at the top.

The American people have spoken loudly and clearly. They are very concerned about the economy and their jobs and their communities and they are equally and deeply concerned about the deficits that have been racked up by both parties over time. We have to turn that around, or we end up looking like some of these countries elsewhere around the globe that are facing financial ruin if they don't change. We have to change, too, and we are asking ourselves to take the first step here and save at least $35 million.

As the gentleman from Pennsylvania has pointed out and the gentleman from California has pointed out, this is the first installment. Our management team in this organization is looking at each department on how they can achieve additional savings.

As you know, we have an Inspector General that looks at everything on Capitol Hill and identifies ways we can improve safety and security and cut costs and be more efficient, so we are letting them do their management piece.

Now, I was a small business owner for 22 years with my wife out in Oregon. I understand that if you don't watch the pennies and the nickels, you will never get to the dollars. You have to look at everything you do in real time to try and squeeze out efficiency, and I think we have done that.

As Republicans, our pledge to America was to do exactly that across the government, and you will see oversight hearings about policy, oversight hearings about job-killing regulations because we want to get America working again. And I know my colleagues on the other side of the aisle share that view, that it is the private sector jobs that we have to get restored in this country. We have to grow the economy and create jobs and put Washington's fiscal house back in order, and we will take the first steps today with this legislation and this resolution.

So, specifically, we cut we believe $35 million out of our own budgets. It is a 5-percent reduction, except, I should point out, the Appropriations Committee will actually suffer a 9-percent reduction, and they came forward with that level. I applaud them for that.

This is firm, but flexible. Members will still determine within their budgets how they are spent. We don't micromanage here. We treat you as adults, and we are going to treat government agencies as adults. But we will expect results because the American people spoke clearly in November and said, we want transparency, we want openness, we want accountability, we want you to cut deficit spending, and we want you to create private sector jobs.

So, Mr. Chairman, I think we have begun that process today. I thank my colleagues on the other side of the aisle for supporting this bipartisan effort.

Mr. BRADY of Pennsylvania. I also would like to thank Mr. Walden for allowing us to participate, myself and Mr. Andrews from New Jersey.

I certainly do not want to get you in any kind of trouble here today, but we did have some ideas that happened to fall into and come into implementation of your plan. I know that was just great minds thinking alike. It wasn't that it was our idea that did that. But I am talking especially toward the schedule. I do appreciate that. I appreciate you allowing us to participate in what you have done there and look forward again to working with you in the future.

I reserve the balance of my time.


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