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Mr. DICKS. I rise in strong opposition to this bill. It is my judgment that--and I listened to the statement made by the distinguished chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Mr. Rogers from Kentucky, that this is unwarranted, especially now that Congress has decided, at least for the time being, that we're not going to do earmarks. This would get down to a situation where if, on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, we added money for additional predator ISR vehicles, the President can as I understand it, take it right back down to his budget request.
We've had a lot of experience, many Members of the Appropriations Committee, Mr. Young and I, have been here over 30 years and served on this committee over 30 years, and a lot of positive things have happened where Congress makes increases or decreases. Now, if you're going to give the President the authority to send up a bill undoing our work, especially after it's been voted on, the Appropriations Committee has gone through all these things. I just think it's wrong.
In fact, on the earmark issue, I frankly think the solution that the Democrats had when we were in the majority was appropriate where we said you can't have earmarks for private companies unless it's competitively awarded, and then we took that away, but you still can help your schools.
You can still help your local governments. You can still help your universities, your NGOs that are doing work on meth for example--rather important issues. That would have been a better compromise, I think, than saying no earmarks under any circumstance.
It is clear to me that over the years there were too many earmarks, and that became a problem. But to go beyond that now and say that we're going to have a line-item veto and Congress has to vote on this, I think, is a serious mistake; and I join my colleagues on the Appropriations Committee in opposition.
I'll just say one final thing. I also think if you're going to do it, then you ought to do it for Ways and Means as well--that's where all the spending is--and not just pick on the Appropriations Committee. We've done our job. Ways and Means hasn't done their job.
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