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Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, today I voted for H. Res. 22, to cut the House operating budget by 5%. It is important for the government to lead by example, especially during these tough economic times.
I would hope that having demonstrated that even the legislature itself is not exempt from budget cuts, that the Republican leadership would reconsider its decision to declare off limits major areas of government spending and savings.
Repealing the Affordable Care Act would be inconsistent with these efforts to reduce costs. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office said that repealing health care would cost the American taxpayers $240 billion over the next 10 years. This is in addition to raising the average cost of health care for most Americans and leaving 32 million uninsured, and is something our economy cannot afford.
This is especially important when looking at defense spending. The Pentagon budget, growing at a rate far above inflation, is also the source of the greatest waste and inefficiency. GAO studies have documented tens of billions of dollars of waste, inefficiency, and in some cases, money that can't be accounted for at all.
Even the Pentagon itself is making commitments for budget reduction and efficiency. Just today, Secretary Gates reached out to members of Congress to outline how he intends to trim $100 billion from within the Pentagon over the next five years. I hope these conversations don't fall on deaf ears.
Every part of the budget deserves careful attention. I'm pleased that we're starting with the legislative budget; I hope it will serve as a symbol that no part of the budget should be off limits, making the Defense Department the next source of inquiry, and not the last.
I look forward to working with all members, on both sides of the aisle, to help the government lead by example, improve efficiency and improve our fiscal standing.
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