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Public Statements

Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. WATERS. Madam Chair, I move to strike the last word.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentlewoman from California is recognized for 5 minutes.

Ms. WATERS. Madam Chair, I rise to address what I consider very serious problems with this continuing resolution and this defense budget and the lack of attention to jobs.

I am going to talk about something that's quite unpopular. We all know that we have 9 percent unemployment in this country, which is significant. We all know that communities all over America are suffering, not simply rural communities, not simply suburban areas, not simply inner cities. But people are hurting, having lost their jobs, all over America.

In some communities, it's not 9 percent, it's not 10 percent, it's not even 15 or 20 percent. We have communities in America where there is 30 and 40 percent unemployment.

There are those who would like to say, well, that's in those urban areas. No, it is not simply in urban areas. We have poor rural communities that have Representatives who come here every day talking about they are representing them, when in fact they never speak to the needs of those communities. They don't talk about the lack of health care that people have had to endure for so many years, the inability for people in these rural communities to access clinics. Some of us are fighting for all people, not only the cities and the towns, but these rural areas that are being hurt so badly.

[Page: H836]

Now, it is not popular to even use the word ``poor.'' As a matter of fact, you hear over and over again about concerns for the middle class. Of course, we are all concerned for the middle class. But who represents the poor people in America these days? There are some of us who do, and proudly so, and we are referred to as ``big spenders.'' Tax and spend, they say. And they don't talk about the poverty in their own community.

But let me just tell you, with this continuing resolution the CDBG, Community Development Block Grant, money is going to hurt all of these communities across America. Many of these Representatives who support cutting CDBG from $4.45 billion down to $1.5 billion are going to hurt their cities. Their mayors are absolutely going nuts about what is happening with the cutting of CDBG, the last block grant funding that they can depend on to assist with economic development that helps to create jobs in America.

You hear a lot about that we care about jobs. Well, we know what people care about jobs based on where they place their priorities. My friends are cutting in areas where we could be creating jobs and have demonstrated that they have zero bills to create jobs. The mindless cuts that they are proposing means 1 million job cuts: no jobs for nurses, teachers, police, firefighters, manufacturing, small businesses.

We need to put America back to work, and we can do this if we are sensible, if we are targeting the cuts in areas that can take it.

Why are we spending the amount that we are spending on the military budget and defense budget when we have those who are telling us--for example, Secretary Gates announced his intention to terminate the expeditionary fighting vehicle program and the surface launch medium-range air-to-air missile system. Why are we trying to disregard what we have been told by the very people who understand this defense budget better than anybody else?

No, we want to continue to fund a budget that doesn't need any funding, not talking about how we reduce and eliminate the funding for Afghanistan and bring our soldiers home and put that money into our own domestic needs. We are talking about somehow cutting in ways that they would have people believe that they are helping them when in fact they are hurting them.

This continuing resolution does nothing for strengthening the economy. It does nothing for creating jobs. It does nothing for support of those cities who are fighting desperately to hold on to opportunities for people who have nowhere else to turn. Not only do we have the cuts in areas that would create jobs, but also many of these areas are faced with foreclosures.


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