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Public Statements

Authorizing Expenditures by Committees

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. PAUL. Mr. President, as some of you may have heard, we are a bit short of money. We are borrowing $50,000 every second. We borrow over $4 billion every day. In a year's time we borrow over $1 trillion. There are ramifications to that. Some economists now say that the burden of our debt is costing us 1 million jobs a year. What I am asking is, in the midst of this sequester when people say we have no money to cut, to take this small item.

Why would I want to cut this small group? There are a couple of reasons. It is called the National Security Working Group--about $2.8 million, which is not much money in terms of Washington. But why would I want to cut it?

The first reason would be that there are no records of them meeting. We heard about the START treaty. It was in 2009 when they were last meeting. There are no public records that this group, which spends $700,000 a year, has met in the last 3 years. There are no public records of who works for the committee. There are no public records of their salaries. Every one of my staff's name and salary is printed in the public record--not for this group.

Now, they say we need this group to negotiate treaties. Well, we have a group; it is called the Foreign Relations Committee. I am on the Foreign Relations Committee, and that is where we discuss treaties--or at least we are supposed to. The Foreign Relations Committee has dozens of employees, and millions of dollars are spent on our committee. It goes through the regular process. Our staff's salaries are approved, the names are in the public record, and if you object, you know where to look for the information. To fund a group that has no records and no records of them meeting and doesn't tell you where they are paying the salaries I don't think makes any sense.

Our job is to look at the money as if it were ours, as if it were yours, and pay attention to detail.

Will this balance the budget? No. Is it a place we should start? Yes. Absolutely. What I would call for is looking and saving where we can. In my office, I have a $3.5 million budget. I saved $600,000 last year, and I turned it back in to the Treasury. That doesn't balance the budget, but we have to start somewhere. This is another $700,000. If I win this one vote, I could save $700,000--or at least save us from borrowing another $700,000. If all of your elected officials were up here doing the same, we would be much closer to a resolution. I turned in $600,000 to the Treasury--18 percent of my budget--and I didn't lay off anybody because we are careful about the way we spend. We spend as if it were our own money. If all of our public officials were doing that, imagine what we could do.

I have another bill that will never see the light of day up here because they don't want to fix anything. This bill would give bonuses to civil servants--Federal employees--who find savings. Right now we do the opposite. If your budget is $12 million and you work somewhere in the bureaucracy of government, you want to spend it at the end of the year so you can get it next year.

I would change that incentive. I would give that civil servant a significant bonus if they will keep money at the end of the year and turn it back in to the Treasury. Can you imagine the savings from top to bottom throughout government if we did that? But if we were to do that, to ask civil servants to do that and look for these savings--and right now, with the sequester, people throughout government are looking for savings--why shouldn't we start with the Senate?

Why would we continue to fund a group where the work they supposedly do is also done officially by another group which has many employees, a large staff, and it is the constitutional mandate of the Foreign Relations Committee to discuss treaties.

So while this is a small bit of money, it is symbolic of what needs to go on in this country in order to rectify a problem that is truly bankrupting the American people.


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