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Public Statements

Making Supplemental Appropriations for the Fiscal Year Ending September 30, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LEE. Mr. President, I stand today and urge my colleagues' support for my amendment to this bill. I appreciate the eloquent arguments made by my friend and colleague, the Senator from New York, a moment ago. She is correct to point out that people have suffered as a result of this storm. My heart goes out to them. Anytime my fellow Americans find themselves in a position of need, we want to address that situation very carefully and make sure we do the right thing, make sure people are not overlooked.

As we do that, and especially as we do something such as that in the way we are being asked to do it here, we must also consider how our actions here might have other implications down the road. We have to stop and consider that we are more than $16 trillion in debt and we are adding to that debt at a rate of more than $1 trillion every single year. The amount of money we spend in interest on our national debt now stands at a little over $200 billion a year and is expected to grow significantly in the next few years, such that by the end of this decade--perhaps much sooner--we are likely to be paying close to $1 trillion a year just to pay the interest on our national debt.

It is because of considerations such as these that we put in place certain spending caps, in connection with the Budget Control Act, in the summer of 2011. It is for this same reason I am asking that we consider capping this, subjecting this same amount, this money we are being asked to spend here, to the same caps. In other words, what I am suggesting is that we find a way to offset our spending for this bill by stretching it out over the next 9 years, capping what we spend. All we have to do to offset what we are being asked to spend here is to cut our discretionary spending by one-half of 1 percent over the next 9 years.

As we look at our economic realities, as we look at the fact it is going to be very difficult in coming years to fund everything we need to do through the Federal Government, this is the approach we have to take with regard to new spending. If we are being asked to spend money, no matter how important the cause, to the tune of more than $50 billion in one fell swoop, I think we owe it to the good people of the United States of America, the good people who depend on so many things the Federal Government does--things as wide ranging as defense at one end of the spectrum and entitlements at the other end of the spectrum and everything in between--we owe it to them to consider how our actions today might forestall, might complicate, might impair our ability to fund those programs down the road. It is for this reason I think we need to offset this spending. We can do it by cutting only one-half of 1 percent of our discretionary spending over the next 9 years. For that reason I urge each of my colleagues to support this amendment.

I yield the floor.


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