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Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I rise today to offer my amendment to H.R. 2017. My amendment simply cuts $600,000 from the Office of the Under Secretary in the Department of Homeland Security and places those funds in the deficit reduction account.

During this economic emergency, we must find cuts wherever we can, especially when a Department is not being a good steward of the funding that Congress provides it.

If you look at this bill, the Secretary is being allocated nearly $127 million, of which $6 million goes to the Office of Legislative Affairs. I think the American people would agree with me that $6 million is a lot of money for political appointees who refuse to do their job and participate in the oversight process.

On several occasions this year, Mr. Chairman, the Department has either refused to sit on the same panel as other witnesses or has outright refused to appear before various House committees and subcommittees. In fact, as chairman of the House Science Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight, I held a hearing on behavioral science and security with the goal of understanding how science informed the development of TSA's SPOT program.

The Department refused my request for a witness from TSA for their own program, and I'm not the only chairman who has received such shabby and unacceptable treatment. This pattern of arrogance makes fulfilling our oversight responsibilities of the executive branch very difficult, if not impossible.

In the end, it's the American people, Mr. Chairman, who lose if its government cannot perform its most basic constitutional responsibilities. If the Department is not going to meet its obligations of appearing before Congress when requested, it is prudent to apply the funds rescinded in this, my amendment, to more constructive uses such as reducing our deficit.

If 10 percent is good enough for the Lord, I think the Office of Legislative Affairs can part with 10 percent of their funding to aid in our efforts of reducing the burden of debt on our children and grandchildren.

I can think of no higher priority than reducing the deficit and creating jobs in America. I would urge all of my colleagues to support this amendment today.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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