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Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Programs for the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 2012, and for Other Purposes

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, I want to spend a minute because I do not think the American public knows how badly they have been hoodwinked by Congress. The Budget Control Act told the American people that we cut $1 trillion. That is what the claims were. The fact is, under the Budget Control Act spending, discretionary spending will still rise by $850 billion over the next 10 years. That is the truth.

We hear in the bills that are coming up the word ``emergency.'' One of the things the American people cannot quite understand is--when they have an emergency what they do is they end up having to make choices. They do not have a bank that will loan them money regardless of whether they are worthy of paying it back, and that is where we are. We are not worthy of paying the money back that we are borrowing now. That is going to become acutely obvious over the next 18 months in our country as we see our interest rates rise.

We have a bill on the floor that meets the numbers and meets what the Budget Control Act said but totally denies what the American people are expecting. Let me talk about what I mean by that. There are five major problems with this bill.

No. 1, it claims to cut spending when in fact it does not. When you take all spending, it does not cut spending. We are going to hear and we have heard already how it cuts spending but usually with the caveat ``not counting emergency spending.'' So the first thing it does is not to address any of the problems our country has in terms of having to deal with real cuts in spending, not decreases in the rate of growth of spending. We have to have real cuts if we are going to create a future for our kids. If we are going to be able to borrow money in the future at an affordable interest rate, we are going to have to have real cuts. We have to quit playing the game to the American people and start talking to them as adults, not playing the game and actually being dishonest with them about what we are doing.

This bill also continues to demonstrate that we are shirking our duties in terms of doing oversight. We have provided funding for things that obviously need to be corrected but we will not correct them. We do not eliminate the wasteful programs. There is nothing in here, not one duplicative program in any of these three segments of appropriations bills, that is eliminated. Yet we know there is over $200 billion a year in duplication costs to the Federal Government on programs that do exactly the same thing. Yet we did not do any of it. It is no wonder you can't cut spending if you don't get rid of programs that do the same thing, none of which or 80 percent of which never accomplish their goals or never have been measured as to whether they accomplish their goals. That is the third thing.

The fourth thing this bill does is absolutely ignore FHA's condition. It was announced they are about to run out of money. What do we do? We raise the amount of money that people can borrow from the FHA at the time when FHA is running out of money. The only problem with that is FHA has a very friendly banker which the Congress has no control over because when FHA runs out of money, do you know what they do? They go and get it from the Treasury and we cannot stop it.

What we have done is we have raised the loan limit for FHA homes to $729,000 in this bill. FHA is going to be out of money this year. They will have no capital to protect the $1.1 trillion worth of loans they are guaranteeing, and they will go get the money. Where is that money going to come from? That money is going to come from--we are going to borrow it from the Chinese. So we are going to compound the very problem we have today. It is absolutely ignoring what the real situation is on the ground, ignoring the real complications of not acting, and consequently we actually make it worse for our kids and our country.
Finally, it includes very few of the amendments that were passed by wide margins in the Senate. One of mine is there. I am very thankful for it. I think it is an appropriate amendment. But several others are not, that were good, commonsense amendments. Yet somebody in the Appropriations Committee decided even though they may have voted for it, they pulled it out. It was not the majority on the other side who insisted it come out because I checked.

What we have done is we are up here and we are going to pass this bill. I have no doubt about it. But we are continuing down the road of, No. 1, being dishonest with the American people about what we are doing, how we are doing it; No. 2, we are shirking our responsibility to eliminate the wasteful portions of the Federal Government which at least are $350 billion a year, when you combine waste, fraud, and duplication. None of that was attacked in this bill, none of it. Then we are lying to them about whether we are actually increasing spending or not increasing spending.

Our time is shortening. If you look at what happened in Europe in the last 2 weeks, to the bond yields for Italy, to the bond yields for Spain, we know what is coming. How bad does it have to get or how close does it have to get to us before we will act in the best interests of the country instead of the best interests of partisanship or the best interests of our careers?

This is not a bad bill. It just doesn't do what the American people need us to do right now, which is start cutting out the waste, fraud, and duplication in the Federal Government so that their children will have an opportunity to live in a country of opportunity.

This bill fails on that count. It should be defeated and a bill coming back here with $10 or $12 or $15 billion less is what ought to come back here. That is what ought to happen, if we were going to be truly honest. Either I am being dishonest about the situation facing our country or you are being dishonest in what you are bringing as the answer on the floor. One of us is not telling the truth and I guarantee the markets are going to prove me right. When we can no longer borrow, as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve said, we are going to eventually fix all this, regardless of the politicians. Do you know why we are going to fix it? Because they are going to quit loaning us money. And we have done nothing with this bill to solve the very real and immediate problems in front of this country.


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