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Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011: House of Representatives

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PALLONE. Madam Chairman, as we continue to work our way out of the recession towards the thriving economy that offers economic opportunity to all Americans, we must out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the rest of the world; but the House Republican continuing resolution will do none of that. What it accomplishes is nothing but irresponsible slashing of necessary programs just so they can go back home and say that they cut government spending.

Now, I'm not sure if our Republican colleagues realize that actions have consequences. House Republicans are going too far, and they're sacrificing Americans' health, safety and future in the process, all in order to protect special interests. And what makes it worse is they are offering no real plan to deal with the deficit or create jobs.

Madam Chairman, American competitiveness depends on our ability to innovate and keep America number one. But, instead, this bill holds $2.5 billion in cuts to the National Institutes of Health, representing a significant setback in cancer and other disease research. We have to properly fund the key agencies like NIH that are essential to disseminating medical research and assisting in the development of new drugs and devices. Declining or stagnant Federal funding for research and development has an impact on all sectors of our workforce. And I want to use my home State of New Jersey as an example.

A report that was released last year showed that the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries are the leaders in private sector capital construction in New Jersey. In fact, in 2008, that meant $1.4 billion to the State and almost 6,000 jobs for construction alone.

In addition, there's a new report, ``Research America,'' that notes that New Jersey is the third largest R&D employer in the United States with more than 211,000 jobs supported by health R&D, including 50,000 direct jobs in health R&D. The same report shows the economic impact in New Jersey is $60 billion.

And that's why I believe that we must provide R&D incentives, additional research grants and more technology funding. These investments will provide new jobs, not only in the research sector, but in the construction and maintenance of labs and research facilities.

So, Madam Chairman, the government must be responsible for facilitating an environment where Americans can continue to innovate. This is what President Obama talked about in his State of the Union speech. That is the key to creating new thriving industries that will produce millions of good jobs here at home and a better future for the next generation.

If government abandons its role in R&D, we run the real risk of squandering many, many opportunities. Oftentimes, government can support and advance initial research that is then developed by the private sector. Government can plant the seeds, often with modest investments relative to the long-term payoffs in new products, new discoveries, new jobs, and economic growth.

Government has limited resources in these tough times, but that doesn't mean we abandon our role. In fact, we have a responsibility to the future to make wise investments that can lead to so many innovative discoveries and so much in economic benefits.

Now, last Thursday, Speaker Boehner said, ``Everything's on the table. We're broke. Let's be honest with ourselves.''

But the Pentagon, in this CR, gets 99 percent of what they ask for. Now, defense spending makes up more than half of our discretionary budget. The non-defense discretionary spending in this CR is enduring brutal cuts. Why should defense spending remain so high when all this non-discretionary spending, including R&D, is cut so severely? It simply makes no sense.

And I would say, Madam Chairman, really this is all about priorities. The Republicans clearly have the wrong priorities. They're not making investments in the future. They're not creating jobs. They're not creating an environment where people can be educated for new jobs and be trained for new jobs. They simply have the wrong priorities here with their spending cuts.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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