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Public Statements

Making The Senate Work

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. ISAKSON. I thank Senator Alexander for giving me a moment on the floor.

It is ironic that when I received the call last week asking if I would participate in this colloquy, I was traveling my State doing townhall meetings. I was near Ooltewah, TN, on Thursday night, north of Dalton, GA, and Murray County. We had a townhall meeting, and this fellow in the back of the room raised his hand when it came time for questions.

He said: Mr. Isakson, I have got a question for you. I said: What is that? He said: Last night, my wife and I amended our budget that we established in December for this year because some things have not gone so well, and we had to recast how we are spending our money so we wouldn't go any further in debt than we already are. Why can't you all do the same thing? ``You all,'' talking about us.

A few days earlier in Dublin, GA, a great, prosperous town in south Georgia, a similar question was asked by a Chamber of Commerce director who couldn't understand why the Federal Government and the Congress of the United States could not wrap their arms around fiscal responsibility, have a budget, and have appropriations acts that come to the floor, are debated, are amended, and the spending of the United States of America's government is spent like the households of the United States of America have to spend their money.

So I commend Senator Alexander and Senator Pryor for bringing this to the floor, and I want to commend our leaders for making affirmative statements about the desire to bring the 12 appropriations bills to the floor of the Senate, debate them, let us amend them, and let us bring them together.

If you think about it, in the last 3 years we have had a situation where we either had continuing resolutions or omnibus appropriations. During a difficult period of time where we have had deficits of $1.3 trillion to $1.5 trillion, we haven't taken the time to debate how we are spending our money, where we are spending our money, and doing it in the context of what we call on the floor regular order. In fact, it is not hard to understand why only 11 percent of the American people view the Congress as favorable, because they can't understand our inability to do what they have to do themselves. The IRS doesn't take excuses on April 15 if you are not ready. You have got to be ready. If you are a business and you file as an LLC or a sub S corporation, on the 15th of January, the 15th of April, the 15th of June, and the 15th of September, you file a quarterly tax return; and if you don't, you are held accountable.

We are now going into our fourth year, and it looks as though for the first time in the last 3 years we are going to have debate on the floor of how we spend the American people's money. I commend Senator Alexander and Senator Pryor, and I thank our leadership for making the statement of the desire to do so.

I have already seen Senator Inouye and I have already seen Senator Cochran working diligently in the basic appropriations subcommittees to see to it that those bills come to the floor. I think it is time we do our business just as the American people do their business, and I commend Senator Alexander and Senator Pryor for calling for this colloquy tonight.


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