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Public Statements

Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. DUNCAN of South Carolina. Madam Chair, this Nation's debt now stands in excess of $16 trillion. This is an amount of debt greater than our Nation's economy, exceeding our GDP, and yet, Madam Chair, we have on the floor today legislation which piles upon our children and grandchildren even greater burdens of debt.

Madam Chair, it's time to end the credit card economics. We simply cannot afford to continue to spend money that we're borrowing from countries like China on line items that we don't need and that Congress isn't constitutionally authorized to spend.

Madam Chair, my amendment strips one such line item out of this bill. This is really low hanging fruit. You see, this Sandy relief effort was plussed up, or increased, by $1 million to boost Legal Services Corporation, funding masquerading as disaster relief. And I thought we had a ban on earmarks in this Congress.

Why is a bailout for New York lawyers emergency hurricane relief? Even if you believe this is a legitimate government program--which I don't, by the way--but how can you argue with a straight face that spending on lawyers is legitimate emergency spending?

Madam Chair, let me say again, we're $16 trillion in debt. We're $16 trillion in debt, America. We simply cannot afford to continue like this. We cannot keep spending money that we don't have on things that we can't afford and all the while sending our children and our grandchildren the bill.

What part of $16 trillion in debt do you all not understand?

I sincerely hope that my colleagues will take this opportunity to start to get serious about reining in our spending addiction. This amendment is a tiny step in that direction. It's only $1 million. A million dollars is brushed off as not a lot of money to haggle over here in Congress, but let me tell you, $1 million is a lot of money to the average American. But in this House, that's barely a blip on the radar screen.

This amendment will cut 6 percent of 1 percent of 1 percent of 1 percent of the Federal debt. It isn't that much, but at least it's a start. The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step, Madam Chair, and we need to take that step today.

This is a program that should no longer exist with Federal dollars. This program hasn't been reauthorized by the U.S. Congress since 1980; 33 years--33 years--of unauthorized appropriations, Madam Chair. Are we going to continue like it's business as usual?

The GAO has criticized LSC over its internal controls and lack of accountability in their financial reporting processes and systems, yet, year after year, we keep throwing money at them. We cannot keep doing things the same way and expect anything other than the same result: deeper and deeper in debt, with a bill that my sons and their children and--hopefully--my grandchildren and maybe their children will get stuck with. Today, let's at least not throw more good money after bad by wasting another $1 million on an unauthorized giveaway to attorneys.

Please support my amendment. It will strip $1 million from this bill and prevent any ``emergency spending'' to pay for attorneys that should be paid for by private citizens in the private sector.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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