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No Appropriated Funds

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. CARTER. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

These are interesting times we live in, and as we sit here this evening, we have a lot of things that are kind of up in the air about what's going to happen to our country and about what's going to happen to our ability to fund the government for the rest of our time. Unfortunately, we don't have answers to that question. I wish we did, but we don't. Yet there are some things that are happening that we ought to talk about because the American people are concerned about what's going on. In some ways, they're confused.

As we sit here today, we are looking at the possibility on Friday night, at midnight, of there being no more appropriated funds for the operation of the government. Some people call that shutting down the government, but that's the real term. We have no appropriated funds that are available for the operation of the government.

There's already the blame game going on up here. This blame game is confusing to most Americans, so I think it's kind of important that we start off by trying to explain what's going on up here. I'm going to give you a quick synopsis of what I think has gone on recently.

Let's start off with the fact that the Republicans fully funded the troops and the rest of the Federal Government through FY 2011, which would be the 1st of October of this year, with H.R. 1 in March. The Democrats refused that submission. The Republicans are ready again this week with a submission, that we will do today, to fully fund our troops through FY 2011, and we're ready to come back next week to debate the rest of the budget. It seems we're hearing a message that the Democrats will refuse. The House and Senate Republicans have a bill, H.R. 1297, that simply guarantees that our troops get their pay without any budget agreement. So far, the Democrats have refused. That's a bill that was put together by Congressman Louie Gohmert and Congressman Jack Kingston.

So I guess we can say that--or I would at least offer this as a submission--it seems that the Democrats want to hold our fighting men and women's pay hostage so that they can continue their runaway Federal spending, because, really, the debate here in this House today and in the Senate, which is down the way from us, is:

Are we going to continue to spend like drunken sailors, as usual, or are we going to take a hard look at what this government is doing, and are we going to turn this ship of state to a ship of state that is moving in the direction of saving the American people from this runaway spending?

The President has submitted to us a budget proposal which carries in it almost $1.5 trillion of deficit spending. What this House is trying to do is to change the mood and the attitude of where this Congress sits on the issue of spending, and it's time for us to take a long, hard look. I would argue, if people could have taken the time and watched the debate when we sent our first submission over to the Senate, which was H.R. 1, they would have seen an extensive debate that went on for hours and hours and hours on the floor of this House, with both sides participating, as to what we would and would not submit in the way of cutting certain amounts of spending, and there were multiple, multiple votes.

This was after this same idea had been vetted in other forms, like our committee system. And yet when it was sent to the Senate it was dead on arrival, and the only thing they could offer as an alternative to the submission we gave them was $6 billion worth of cuts, which they even voted down.

They didn't even pass that. They weren't even willing to take their meager little $6 billion versus our $60-plus billion that we proposed to them.

And everybody says, Where is the give-and-take? Why don't you work together, Congress? What's wrong with you people? Well, when one side does a whole bunch of work, sends it over to the other side, they say they don't like it, they reject it, and we wait and we wait and we wait and we wait for them to submit something back so we can discuss it, well, we've been waiting a long time now and we still haven't gotten it back. And we've gone through two short-term CRs to give them the opportunity to go vote on some things in the Senate. I know they're slow. I mean, we all know they're slow, but we don't even see the Democrat majority in the Senate even trying to bring things to the floor for a vote on giving us an idea where they would stand on cutting spending.

Now, they love to do press releases out of smoke-filled rooms and come back from White House meetings with the President and tell us, Oh, we've got this deal--which our side certainly didn't agree to. And actually doing this so-called ``democracy'' inside of the press instead of doing it by sitting down across the table or passing a bill that we can look at and examine and see if we can't work out that bill and maybe get the comfort to do something under normal course of business here has not been available. Senator Reid just says, Dead on arrival. Dead on arrival. Keep trying. Dead on arrival.

And what that requires is for the House Members to--first off, what they're really looking for us to do is to give up our principles because of threats of this government closing down. I want to make it very clear, I have heard this ever since this debate started. The leadership of the Republicans in the House of Representatives has stated consistently, every time John Boehner steps up to the microphone, we do not want to shut down the government. And I will tell you, if people are listening with a tight ear, they will find out that any conversation about shutting down the government has always originated from the other side of the aisle where the Democrats tell us, Watch out, they're going to shut down the government. Watch out, they're going to shut down the government. And we're saying, No, we're not. We're trying to get you to respond to us and let us know what you think is the right thing for us to do to try to do something about this overwhelming debt, this overwhelming deficit, this gigantic leap in the debt that we're going to face in the future.

Just look at this chart. And you've seen it before. It's been here. I've had it here twice. Here's 2010. So 2011 is about right there. Look at 2051. Look, 300 percent plus. And right now we are bouncing around 100 percent here. That was during the Second World War, and this is where we've been ever since the Second World War. But all of a sudden, with the projections that President Obama has given us as to what he perceives is the right path for America, bam, that red line goes up and that red block comes there, and that's what our children and grandchildren are going to have to deal with. And we honestly believe that that takes this country and changes the very nature of what makes America great because it wipes out any opportunity that possibly our children and our grandchildren can look forward to when they are overwhelmed with debt.

Have you ever heard the debate that goes on among college parents and among college students when they graduate from college these days and they're faced with $100,000 or $200,000 worth of debt to pay for these expensive college educations we've got out there; and they've borrowed all the money and how they are overwhelmed with debt to the point where they look at the salaries that are being offered them and they say, Holy cow. If this is what my revenues are going to be, my income is going to be, I will never pay off this student loan. I know that I heard it from hundreds of kids because I used to teach Sunday school at that age. And they came back from college saying, I can't believe I've got this much debt to pay off before I even start making a living. Well, that's meager compared to what this Congress, if we don't change the way we do business, is going to do to our children and our grandchildren. College debt is going to look like a walk in the park compared to that kind of accelerated debt that's going to be placed on every human being that calls themselves an American.

This is frightening. It's more frightening when you think what this Congress really needs to be about--and is about over here on our side, and I would hope on the other side, too--is finding jobs for the American people.

Now, what do the job creators think when they see this? People who run businesses, small businesses or large, they look at the projected future of the economy and they make decisions as to why they hire people for very simple reasons. You hire someone to advance your business. You don't hire them because you're a nice guy. You don't hire them because somebody gives you an incentive to hire them. You hire them because ultimately they are going to improve your productivity or your bottom line. That's why labor is infused into anything that people do. Most people who start out with their small business, it's all them and maybe their family. And then when they hire that first employee, they don't hire them just because they like that kid across the street. They hire them because that first employee is going to make their business do better.

Now, if they're looking at the accumulated debt being put upon them by this government and they look at what projected debt they have to deal with, what they have to handle, where they think their revenues are going to be, what solutions there are going to be for this debt in the way of tax increases, they have to say, Whoa. Until somebody gets a handle on this stuff, we're looking at a world that I'm not sure I want to hire anybody else in.

This is not rocket science, this is very simple. You hire to prosper. If you're afraid prosperity is not going to be a result of the hiring, you don't hire.

I would argue--and I think it's an argument that's made by many, many economists and many, many editorial writers--that the fear of the unknown and the known that you think you see by the way the government is proceeding keeps a lot of people from hiring other folks. I think that's common sense. I think anybody that knows anything about business can realize that. So this looms over everybody.

I saw a cartoon up here in Washington. Many of you may have seen it. It was a gigantic elephant's behind sitting on a scale, and it had written across the back of it, ``National Debt.'' And then on the very top of the backside of that elephant was a Band-Aid about the size that would wrap around my little finger stuck on there, and it had an arrow right there that said, ``Spending Cuts.''

The reality is what the Republicans have proposed in terms of spending cuts as they relate to the gigantic mess that we're in is just that teeny, weensy little Band-Aid. And yet, this very meager proposal of changing the way we spend money has been rejected out of hand by the Harry Reid Democrats over in the Senate and by our colleagues in the House. And it is on every submission that we've made, on every attempt we've made to negotiate, on every time we have said, so and so, how about you all getting together and come up with an alternative? And it's just, no, you're dead on arrival. We'll talk at the White House behind closed doors or we'll talk in smoke-filled rooms or whatever--smoke-filled rooms probably dates me a little bit, but there are still some smokers around here.

Okay. Now, where are we tonight? I think where we are tonight, I am optimistic about where we are tonight. And the world may be sitting out there pessimistic, but I'm optimistic because, first and foremost, I honestly believe that we're going to do everything at least in our power to try to get us to come up with a solution for this small spending cut bill of $60-plus billion that we put forward, which, compared to that elephant's behind, is nothing. And we're going to get it done before we run out of time and we run out of appropriations and the government starts to wind down.

But I'm more optimistic than that, because I am very optimistic that the fact that Paul Ryan and the Budget Committee of this House have put forward a proposal that is like you ought to have the Hallelujah Chorus in the background when they introduced it, singing ``Hallelujah.'' Because it was finally a budget that wasn't the same old budget--how can we jack every spending level up, and how can we figure out a way to raise some taxes to make that work? No. It's a budget that says this budget is going to be about prosperity and preserving the America we love for our generations to come.

If that's not something as we come up on this deadline--which should make us nervous, and it makes me nervous. But the big picture is our Budget Committee has put a revolutionary budget out for discussion. And that budget is worth joy on behalf of the American people, because what it does is it says to the people around us that there are some good ideas we ought to try.

I'm joined with many of my colleagues here today, and I want to give them all an opportunity to talk. So let me finish up at least this short part of talking here and let some other folks talk.

Today where we are is a very simple place. Are we going to fund our Department of Defense and make sure our troops get paid or are we going to be so--with miniscule cuts and then continue this debate so we could probably try to get a resolution next week, or are we going to reject out of hand--as now Harry Reid is making public statements to say and the President, in Atlanta, supposedly said he would veto this proposal--reject out of hand to say we want our troops to suffer and we don't care whether they're getting shot at. We don't care. We're ready to let them get shot at and do without pay, men and women who have been risking their lives for over 10 years so that we can stand in this Chamber and talk. We ought to be ashamed of ourselves to even consider not doing something.

All of us ought to be wanting to do something to make sure that those folks get their paychecks so their spouses and children back home don't suffer while they suffer the possibility of being killed or maimed on our behalf. And that's what this vote, this day and tomorrow, is all about.

The deadline is Friday night at midnight. We're asking our Senators to reconsider rejecting out of hand what we are sending over and consider it in light of that momma back home with a child on her hip, telling the creditors, We have no money to pay you. And I'm sorry my husband can't talk to you. He's over in Afghanistan, in the mountains, trying to stay alive. Or he's flying missions into Libya, trying to stay alive. So I think we really need to know that's where we are in time, and the other is stuff we're going to be talking about.

Whoever would like to step up, grab the microphone, and let's talk.

My friend from Virginia, step up. Tell us what you've got to say.


Mr. CARTER. Thank you, Congresswoman.

I want to say that I agree with everything you have to say. As you were speaking, I was thinking our soldiers are not asking for somebody to excuse their mortgage, not asking for somebody to come bail them out. They are just asking to be paid for the dangerous blood, sweat and tears work that they are doing right as we speak today.

Right now, somebody is being fired on somewhere in the world in an American uniform. It's a frightening thing to think about, but it's true, and they just want to have the paycheck they earned. And their families back home want to be able to stay current on their bills, and they are not asking for these grandiose bailouts that this body has become famous for. They are just saying, give me my paycheck.

Now, this is not hard stuff. I want to recognize my good friend from Texas, Congressman Gohmert. He was the author of this bill. I think we got it done well.

Soldiers, might even be some of mine, Fort Hood.

You started the ball rolling. We have been talking about this for a long time. If we are getting close to this deadline, we have got to get the soldiers paid.

I want to recognize Louie Gohmert, who introduced this, along with Jack Kingston. I joined with them on this.

Now our leadership is offering an alternative submission, which would fund the entire DOD, which is an even better idea because of all the contract authority and all the things that go on that get hurt by not having an appropriations finished up with. And we are hopeful, although we are hearing signals, that it's going to be dead on arrival, and they are not going to tell us what they want us to do.

I will submit this to you, and then I will let you comment, Louie, and that is, I would submit, if anybody is shutting down the government, it's the Democrats in the Senate, not the Republicans in the House.

I yield to the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Gohmert).


Mr. CARTER. Reclaiming my time. Let me point out, as Mr. Gohmert said, those of us who sat in a courtroom for years, in my case almost 21 years, you want to look at the evidence to see what the evidence shows. And just very quickly, the evidence shows first: How do we get to a shutdown for failing to fund the government? Well, you start with last year when the Democrats were in charge of the House, the Senate, and the Presidency. They passed no budget and not one single appropriations bill, although I'm on the Appropriations Committee. They certainly could have. They just chose not to. They chose not to.

They chose the date that they would have a CR go into the next term of Congress when it had already lost and knew how many of these wonderful people were going to be here replacing them the next time they showed up in the House, so they put this thing all the way to March, which they knew was going to put us under a tremendous amount of pressure to get something to do to fund the government. And we made diligent attempts to fund the government. And it didn't even last long enough for Harry Reid to say ``dead on arrival'' when it got to the Senate.

So let's see. They didn't do their job. They didn't do their budget. They set up the CR deadline. We met the CR deadline with a way to fund the government for the rest of the year for all departments. They rejected it out of hand without even coming back with any alternative of any substance. They offered a $6 billion cut and spending as usual under the Obama budget. And then now we've given two extensions to try to talk, and each time dead silence. No comment. If there's a comment, it's to the press. But to us, they're treating us like a stepchild. And then they're wanting to shut down the government when we say, at least let's protect our soldiers. Let's take care of our troops.

Before we've even got it over there tomorrow, Harry Reid and the President have both made a statement tonight. ``Dead on arrival,'' Harry Reid says. The President says, ``I will veto it.'' He would veto funds--that's what he supposedly said in Georgia. Now I may be out of school, I didn't hear it, but I was told he did, that he said, I won't accept what Mr. Boehner is going to send to us. I will reject it.

That's the bill that funds our troops. I think we've got other great people.


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