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Public Statements

Department of Defense, Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. LATHAM. I thank the chairman of the full committee for the opportunity to address this.

I've been sitting here listening and heard the minority leader come to the floor and talk about children, about old people, about teachers--all these things--that she voted to cut the spending for to fund.

How can you support a bill, support the sequester insisted on by the President of the United States? It was his idea that he brought forth to try and resolve the differences at that time and something that he supports and he insisted on. The minority leader voted for these cuts that she now bemoans. It's fascinating when you look at the reality of the situation. There are some of us who actually did not support this because of the way the sequester would take place.

Now, you can say, well, it was never going to happen and all these things, but the fact of the matter is it is here today and it is law because people like the minority leader insisted on it. So to come to the floor and talk about those cuts today, something that she supported, is really quite fascinating to anyone listening or watching this debate today.

Mr. Speaker, I will tell you, it is very frustrating. As someone who went through the entire process last year with my ranking member, Mr. Olver from Massachusetts, who is now retired, we went through subcommittee and full committee. We had 3 days on the floor of the House, an open rule with amendments. We passed our bill, the Transportation and HUD appropriation bill, with the largest bipartisan majority of any bill passed last year, yet the Senate does nothing. That's why we're here today.

The House of Representatives, under the chairman's leadership, has moved bills, has done our work. The frustration we have is that we don't have a counterpart on the other side of this great building to actually do their job so that we can finally get resolution of these very difficult spending problems.

Mr. Speaker, it is very important today that we move this bill. This is the best alternative. It will give us certainty for the rest of the year so that we can address the big issues that are before us and this Nation about spending--$16.5 trillion of national debt and about $1 trillion of annual deficit has got to be addressed. By doing this, it will give us the opportunity to maybe forge a large compromise, to forge a big deal that will actually set a course for this country.

I think the reason most all of us are here is because we have children. I have five grandchildren. The reason I do this is because I believe that we've got to change direction, and this is a necessary step to do that.

With that, I ask everyone to support this bill.

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