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Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BOEHNER. Let me thank the chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Mr. Rogers, and his staff, and all the staff for the sacrifices and hard work that they have put forward over the last several months in order to get us to this point.

For years now, our economy has been stalled and stumbling. In the private sector, jobs are not being created. Something's clogging the engine of our economy. That ``something'' is uncertainty, uncertainty being caused by the actions that are being taken in this town.

One of the prime causes of uncertainty is spending. Our failure to deal with the spending binge has been chipping away at the economic confidence that Americans want to have in their country.

Washington's spending addiction is a bipartisan problem. It didn't start under the current administration, but the current administration clearly made it worse.

This problem is not going to be fixed overnight, and this bill does not fix it. The budget proposed by the chairman of the Budget Committee, Mr. Ryan, the Path to Prosperity, does deal with the long-term problem.

What this bill does is stop the bleeding. It halts the spending binge and starts us moving back in the right direction.

Does it cut enough? No. Do I wish it cut more? Absolutely. And do we need to cut more? Absolutely.

There are some who claim that the spending cuts in this bill aren't real, that they are gimmicks. I just think that's total nonsense. A cut is a cut, and this bill will cut an estimated $315 billion over the next 10 years, the largest non-defense discretionary cut in the history of our country.

You want discretionary cuts? This bill has billions of them.

You want mandatory cuts? They are in here too, clearing out some of the underbrush in the Federal budget while we get ready to debate the Path to Prosperity.

Every dime in this bill that is cut is a dime that Washington will spend if we leave it on the table. And if you vote ``no'' on this bill, you are voting to do exactly that, leaving this money on the table to be spent by unelected bureaucrats.

There are some who say that the spending cuts in this bill aren't real, that they were ``already scheduled.''

Let me show you what was ``already scheduled.'' This chart is based on a chart produced last week by an economist at Stanford University, John Taylor. What it shows is the difference between what President Obama wanted to spend this year and what we will actually spend this year when this bill passes.

The difference? It is $78.5 billion less than what the President requested.

Now, there are some who want to say that this bill is just more of the same. Well, if you believe that it's more of the same, this chart will show you the direction of Federal spending over the last couple of years, on that one-third of the budget that we call discretionary spending that we fight over all year.

It couldn't be more stark. It's like driving down the highway and throwing your car into reverse. Instead of spending more and more and more, guess what? We are actually going to spend less in the discretionary budget this year.

Now, there are some press articles that have picked up on some spin from our colleagues across the aisle, suggesting that the bill will result in smaller savings than advertised between now and September, and it's just not the case.

It comes down to the fact that there is a difference between budget authority and budget outlays. Budget authority is how much an agency is allowed to spend on a given program; it's the license to spend taxpayer dollars.

Outlays show how much an agency will spend over time based on current and prior budget authority. These are the results of how quickly taxpayer dollars are spent.

The final agreement cuts nearly $40 billion in budget authority, taking away the license to spend the money, which will result in deficit savings of an estimated $315 billion over next decade. When we pass this bill, Washington will spend $315 billion less than it is currently on track to spend over the next 10 years, and it is just that simple.

The Path to Prosperity is the plan that will take us where we truly need to go. This bill doesn't do that, but this bill starts us moving in the right direction.

It eliminates one program from the President's health care law and cuts another program in his health care law nearly in half.

It eliminates funding for some of the administration's czars, bureaucrats that were charged with implementing the bailouts and takeovers, and guarantees that they won't be coming back.

It bans taxpayer funding of abortion in the District of Columbia, ensuring that taxpayer funds won't be used to fund the destruction of human life.

It saves the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, giving thousands of children here in this city a chance at a decent education. Is it perfect? No. I would be the first one to admit that it's flawed. Welcome to divided government.

The negotiations that went on over the last 4 or 5 weeks weren't easy, especially when you've got another body on the other side of this Capitol that doesn't want to cut spending and clearly an administration that doesn't want to cut spending. But I will tell you that this is the best we could get out of divided government.

The gentleman referred to it earlier as a compromise. Well, I would say it was a hard fight to get the kinds of spending cuts that we got, but these are real spending cuts.

I think this bill sets the stage for us to begin making the fundamental changes that need to be made to put our Nation back on a path to prosperity, and I would urge all of you to join me in supporting this bill.


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