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Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. MULVANEY. Thank you for the opportunity to the chairman and the ranking member.

I want to make it very clear what this amendment is and what this amendment is not.

This amendment is not about delay. This amendment is not about offering a poison pill to the underlying bill. This amendment is not about preventing money from going where it is very desperately needed. I want that to happen. I want these folks who need this money to get it.

I live in an area that is hurricane-prone. I have lived through hurricanes myself. I have lived through floods myself. I have waded through chest-high water full of snakes and human waste to get into my own business. I've been able to take advantage of and to use, to rebuild a small business, a small business disaster loan. I want the money to go where it needs to go.

I'm here for one reason and one reason only today, Madam Chair, and that is to talk about how we can pay for it. That's it.

There was a time when we didn't have to have this conversation. There was a time back during Hurricane Hugo in the late 1980s where we didn't have to talk about how to pay for disaster assistance because the deficit was only $3 trillion. But we've so badly mismanaged our money after that, that by the time we got to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, that we actually did start talking about offsetting and paying for disaster relief and paid for and offset about 40 percent of it.

But we didn't learn. We didn't learn from those mistakes, and we've continued to mismanage our money and to run up our deficit to such a point now where it's $16 trillion today, and it is incumbent upon us to have the discussion about whether or not we have the money to do this and whether or not it's important enough to us to pay for it.

I wish very much that we weren't here today, I wish very much that we could pass this and easily borrow the money without any questions whatsoever, but we've wasted that opportunity. We've mismanaged our own finances to the point where we are now no longer capable of taking care of our own.

Think about that for a second. In the United States of America, we do not have enough money to take care of our own citizens who need it. There's no rainy day fund. There's no savings. What ability we had to borrow money we blew through several years ago with trillion dollar deficits. We don't have enough money saved up to take care of our own people, and that's wrong. It's absolutely wrong.

It is important to me that this money goes to the folks who need it very badly. It's so important to me that I think we should pay for it. I think we should be willing, as a body, to come together and say, Look, there are things that we do not need this year, things that we can do without this year so that the people in New York and New Jersey and Connecticut and the other States who so badly need the money can have it, without us having to go hat-in-hand to other nations of this world and say, Would you please lend us money so that we can take care of our folks who need it so badly?

I hope the amendment passes. I hope the amendment passes so that I can vote for the bill. I want this money to go where it is so desperately needed. But the time has come and gone in this Nation when we can walk in here one day and spend $9 billion or $17 billion or $60 billion and not think about who's paying for it.

This is important money. It's important to you, it's important to me, and it's important to everyone in here. But it's important enough for us to pay for it ourselves. For that reason, I encourage passage of this amendment and passage ultimately of the underlying bill.

With that, I would yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentleman from California (Mr. McClintock).


Mr. MULVANEY. In closing, Madam Chair, I would just say I don't like across-the-board cuts any more than anybody else does. I offered other alternatives. They were ruled out of order.

But I would put it to my colleagues, just tell me what you're willing to do without. Are we willing and able to do without anything so that these people can get this money this year? That's the question that I want to debate. That's what I'm looking for for my colleagues across the aisle. Are there no savings, are there no reductions that we could put in place this year so these folks get this money?

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.


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