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Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. BROUN of Georgia. This amendment would reduce the administrative spending salaries and expense accounts in the underlying bill by just 3 percent.

During this time of fiscal crisis, it is imperative that Congress works to get both entitlement as well as discretionary spending under control. As we all know, over the last 2 years, House Members have voted to reduce their own administrative accounts, their Member Representational Allowances, by just over 11 percent. Yet, over that same period, many agencies have seen much lower cuts in their spending and have even seen increases in their spending.

For example, under this bill, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration would see a 12 percent increase in its salaries and expenses accounts between FY11 and FY13. The Federal Prison System would receive an additional 9 percent increase in salaries and expenses. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative would receive a 7 percent increase. The U.S. Marshals, FBI, and Drug Enforcement Administration would all receive a 6 percent increase.

Now, some may argue that these agencies perform important tasks. Certainly, we can all agree that those employed by law enforcement agencies, which are funded by this bill, are deserving of the pay that they receive; but, Madam Chairman, the fiscal writing is on the wall: The U.S. Government is broke. We here in Congress must face the facts and stop the denial of our economic position and crisis that we're in. If we are serious about reducing spending, if we are serious about reducing our deficit, we have to ask every agency to follow Congress' lead to take small reductions in their administrative funding.

To be clear, a 3 percent reduction in these accounts would, in many cases, still result in less than a 10 percent reduction in funding from the FY11 funding levels. While this amount is small, it would pay dividends, rich dividends, resulting in nearly $875 million in savings in this bill alone.

It is long past time to get serious about spending. Madam Chairman, this amendment represents a balanced way to achieve significant savings. I urge my colleagues to support my amendment, and I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. BROUN of Georgia. I want to remind my good friends on the other side, those who oppose this, that if my amendment is passed, the FBI still gets a 6 percent increase in what their funding is over today. So they still not only continue their funding but have an increase over current funding levels. This would just reduce the administrative costs, not the funding for the FBI agents out in the field. It's not going to interfere with the security of American citizens.

Mr. FATTAH. In reclaiming my time, you are, indeed, a person who provides a lot of leadership here in the House, and you lead our Thursday prayer efforts. I want to thank you for all the work that you do, but in this instance, I disagree with you.

I have met with Director Mueller right in my office. The FBI needs additional resources. The chairman has provided $128 million in this committee bill. This cuts $245 million when we're trying to deal with the principal responsibility for the world these days in providing protection against terrorist attacks. We just saw in the news today a new device that was attempted to be used to bring down an American commercial airliner. If such a device were to go off, it would cost our economy more, not just in lives, but in real economic costs if we had to reshape our airline industry. It would be, I think, foolish of us as a Nation to retreat from investments at this time in the FBI.

On that point, on page 30, line 15, I oppose this amendment, and I ask my colleagues to do likewise.

I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Thank you, Madam Chairman.

My amendment would reduce funding for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery program to the President's FY13 request of $50 million.

I love salmon. I love to eat them. I love to fish for them. I'm a conservationist, and conservation issues are what started my political activism. But we also are in an economic crisis as a Nation.

Let's be clear, this program is basically an earmark, and we should be eliminating it altogether. But that's not what my amendment does. I'm simply asking that we revert to funding levels back to those requested by the President. If $50 million in funding is good enough for the administration, that's exactly the amount of taxpayer money that this program should receive--and not a cent more.

Given our current economic emergency, everyone needs to pull their weight when it comes to cutting spending. Congress has had to slash its own budget. Agencies across the Federal Government are tightening their belts left and right, and our Nation's families are reining in spending to deal with our failing and flailing economy. Yet the Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery is requesting $65 million in their funding--a $15 million increase in their budget from what the President himself has recommended for this year.

I urge my colleagues to support my amendment to simply save American taxpayers $15 million by maintaining the status quo for the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery funding.

I yield back the balance of my time.

Mr. DICKS. I move to strike the requisite number of words.

The Acting CHAIR. The gentleman from Washington is recognized for 5 minutes.

Mr. DICKS. First of all, I take umbrage at the use of the word ``earmark'' by my colleague. This is no earmark. This is a national program. This affects California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Idaho. These States, after a whole series of endangered species listings that go coast-wide, are trying to save these salmon runs.

As someone who comes from Washington State, I have been in the midst of an effort to try to recover our salmon runs. We have marked our fish. We have gone to selective harvests. We're protecting our wild runs. We're trying to do everything we can to recover these salmon runs.

Today, on the Columbia River in Washington State, we will be very fortunate to get 600,000 salmon back. At a time in the thirties we would have 20 million fish coming back every year: wild chinook salmon, coho salmon, and others.

So I think this is a very good program. We have worked hard to make sure the money is used for strong habitat restoration work and that we have worked to improve our hatcheries. We've done hatchery reform. We've done everything we can to restore the habitat for these fish.

Again, this is a national program that was created during the Clinton administration. It is strongly supported in the Pacific Northwest by both Democrats and Republicans. I see my good friend from Alaska, Mr. Young, has arrived on the floor; and I just want you to know that Alaska, where we still have many wild fish, also participates in this program from time to time.

So I urge that we vote ``no'' on this amendment. This is a national program. It has been in existence for 12 years. It is doing a good job; but we're fighting a very difficult problem, and we still need to keep working on this because of the endangered species listing, and we still have work to be done. And to cut this back, I think, is a mistake. I urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on the amendment.


Mr. BROUN of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, reclaiming my time, I appreciate my colleague's amendment on this. It makes sense. It is a very miniscule cut, and Congress needs to face the fact that America is broke. We don't have the money to keep spending. Both parties are guilty of spending money that we don't have, spending money that eventually is going to have to be paid for by our grandchildren's children. We just have to stop the spending addiction that we have here in Washington.

I'm an addictionologist, a medical doctor, and I've done addiction medicine. Addiction medicine has a saying that ``if there is no denial, there is no addiction.'' There is denial here in this Congress. There is denial that we have a fiscal crisis as a Nation. This is just a miniscule cut, not much at all.

I support the gentleman's amendment. I hope my colleagues will support it and we can pass this minimal cut in this program.

Mr. Chair, I yield back the balance of my time.


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