tv [untitled] CSPAN June 17, 2009 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
to come up with the mitigation that will work to save jobs, not only in the valley, but on the coast and everywhere else. i ask that we vote against this terrible amendment and work together. the chair: the time of the gentleman from west virginia has expired. who seeks recognition? >> mr. chairman. the speaker pro tempore: for what purpose does the gentlewoman from tennessee rise? the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 111 offered by mrs. blackburn of tennessee. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant -- the chair: purr subte to house resolution 552, the gentlewoman from tennessee and a member opposed will each control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlewoman from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr. chairman.
i do have a great amendment at the desk and i think it speaks to a path we need to travel in this body. as we know, spending is out of control here in washington, d.c. the american people know that this government doesn't have a revenue problem. it has a spending problem and we are hearing it from constituents all across this nation. as they begin to look at how this should be addressed and talk to us about how we think it ought to be addressed. well, mr. chairman, one of the things that we do know is that in our states which are great labs for bringing forward entrepreneurial ideas and innovating ways to address problems in the public sector, many times they will move to across-the-board spending cuts. certainfully my state of tennessee, our democrat governor went in and made a 9% spending reduction because he had to get in there and address the out of
control growth of ten care. our public option health care delivery system that many want to replication nationwide. now, throughout our nation's history, we have had times when this body and our commanders in chief have sought to also do across the board spending cuts at the. cuts. at the onset of world war ii, president roosevelt came in and made a 20% cut in spending. president truman made a 28% across the board spending cut and he did that, mr. chairman, because budgets and appropriations should be about priorities. and at this time in our history when we see so many families and so many businesses struggling, when we see appropriations in spending out of control here, certainly appropriations over the past three years for our c.j.s. says appropriations has
increased nearly 12%. the spending binge is unacceptable and on behalf of my constituents who are sitting at the kitchen table and many times cutting 50%, we need to move forward with spending reductions and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman reserves the balance of her time. for what purpose does the gentleman from west virginia rise? mr. mollohan: rise in opposition to the amendment, mr. chairman. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. mollohan: mr. chairman, an across the board cut to this bill of 5% is really disastrous. i would say that just as a general proposition, cuts that are indiscriminate, that affect every account in a bill, whether it's this appropriation bill or any other appropriation bill, are really one of the -- one of the best reasons to oppose them is for that reason. they're indiscriminate. they affect every account in the bill.
and that, of course, means that someone has not done a thoughtful precise in going through and trying to find out where might be a few extra dollars with regard to this account or that account. i'd also suggest that that's exactly what this subcommittee has done, both the majority and the minority and we have done it in close cooperation with the minority as we have worked this bill this year and brought it to the floor of the house. we have looked at every single one of these accounts. we have done exactly what this amendment does not do. we have done the hard work of thinking about where dollars should be applied, where the need exists and where that need is exists with increased funding in accounts, not indiscriminately but very consciously through a very thoughtful process. now just a couple of examples, what a 5% cut would do, the department of commerce, a 5% reduction in commerce would result in the complete
elimination of $370 million of census contingency funding. significantly increasing the risk of unforeseen events impacting field operations with regard to the census. mr. chairman, we are on the brink of conducting the 2010 census. censuses have a lot of starts and stops and stuttering along the way. we have got those matters corrected and we're in a position to have a good, accurate census conducted in this country. this is the wrong time to take any cut with regard to census. a reduction of $230 million to noaa would elimb astronaut the entire national environmental satellite data and information service or alternativively, literally wipe out all salmon and endangered species funding. mr. chairman, a reduction of the 199 -- $92.4 million to the rest of the title 1 would he will
eliminate the minority business development agency and the telecommunications salaries and expenses as well as public telecommunications facilities planning and construction account. those are accounts that directly impact people who are sitting around those tables in those kitchens across the table. for nasa this cut would significantly reduce needed contingency in the development of all new nasa missions and we just heard democrats and republicans both get up, earlier consideration of this bill, speaking with great concern about the cuts that we've taken to human space flight, albeit we're doing that in the short-term because we're waiting for the augustine report to come forward and the administration to come forward with its vision with regard to human space flight. but just that concern, that angst, protectioned about the impact that that would have on the economy of those communities
who are deeply involved in human space flight. the national science foundation, another example. this drop in government sport for -- support for research and development on top of the falloff in corporate research investment and private foundation support would stress the nation's research universities right at the time that this country needs to invest in research, needs to invest in development, so that we are at the cutting edge of the new economy as we go forward, which is at the very heart of president obama's new economic recovery plan and strategy. so, just to begin with, an across the board cut, an indiscriminate cut of any kind, 1%, 2%, 5%, i consider it to be mindless. it's not a careful consideration of fashioning fiscal policy, mr. chairman. i hope that this amendment would be opposed by the body and i
reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentlewoman from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: how much time is remaining? how much time do i have remaining? the chair: the gentlewoman has 2 3/4 remaining. mrs. blackburn: thank you. i appreciate so much the comments of my colleague and i am so thrilled that he went through a litany of programs. you know, it is so indicative of how those who feel like they have unfettered access to the taxpayers' money, that they have first right of refusele on that paycheck, that people go to work and work hard to earn. so that they can do it for all of these grandiose sounding programs. well, isn't it amazing? with a 12% increase in spending, a 5% reduction is still an increase. i mean, i just love this new math that washington, d.c., spits out across this nation. you would still have an
increase. i mean, it is just amazing to me. you just don't get it. you just don't get it. we have people in my district, we have people across this country, mr. chairman, they are losing their jobs be, they are sitting at the tv, at the kitchen table right now watching the tv and going, these people, these elites in washington, they do not understand that we're cutting our budget 50%. i have small business owners that are telling me, we're trying to figure out how long we can keep the doors open and how much we can afford it lose every month and you want to tell me about endangered species and reducing funding 5% for endangered species are doing away, are holding back, are maybe not moving forward? you know something, there are men and women in this nation
every day that delay hopes and dreams and aspirations because the liberals never lose their appetite for the taxpayer money. and they meet their obligation to the tax man and they instruct us, mr. chairman, to come here and make good use of those dollars. that is what we are elected to do. and you want to tell me you can't find $100 million, you can't find a 5% reduction, you can't make this reduction out of a $64 billion allotment of money, you can't find five cents out of a dollar? the american people are sick and tired. they are sicked and tired of reckless, run away spending. they are demanding that it come to a halt. a 5% sensible reduction is the way to go about it. i would encourage all of my
colleagues to join me. let's make a 1%, a 2%, a 5% and then allow, a way to move forward in a more fiscally responsible manner. i yield back the balance of my time. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlewoman's time has expired. members are -- the chair: the gentlewoman's time has expired. members are again reminded to direct their remarks to the chair. the gentleman from west virginia has 15 seconds remaining. mr. mollohan: yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. all time having expired, the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from tennessee. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. pnt of the chair, the noes have it. the amendment is not agreed to. mrs. blackburn: mr. chairman, ask for a record vote. the chair: the gentlewoman from tennessee asks for aered rod vote. pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from tennessee will be postponed. for what purpose does the
gentleman from indiana rise? mr. burton: mr. chairman, i have amendment number 71 made in order under the rule preprinted in the congressional record at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 71 printed in the congressional record offered by mr. burton of indiana. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 552, the gentleman from indiana and a member owes posed will each control five minutes. the gentleman from indiana. mr. burton: mr. chairman, this amendment is very straight forward. it simply says that, quote, none of the funds made available in this act may be used to relocate the office of the census or employees from the department of commerce to the jurisdiction of the executive office of the president. in february of this year, after senator judd gregg, a republican was nominate by -- nominated by president obama to be the secretary of commerce, the white house announced a control of the census bureau and the 2010 census will be removed from the commerce department and placed in the hands of the white house staff. senator gregg eventually withdraw -- withdrew his name
from consideration in part because of his concerns about taking control of the next census out of the hands of the commerce department and putting it into the hands of political operatives at the white house. contrary to democratic claims, there was no historical precedent replacing the -- for placing the census under the control of political operatives on the white house staff. according to former census bureau director bruce chapman who directed the census bureau from 1981 to 1983, under president reagan, he said, quote, the white house and its congressional allies are wrong in asserting that the census in the past has directed to the -- reported directly to the president. directors often brief presidents and their staff but as a former director under president reagan, i don't know of any cases where the conduct of the bureau was directly under the white house supervillings the -- supervision. that includes president clinton in 2000, bush 41 in 1990 and carter in 1980. the obama administration has since back tracked and attempted
to down play its role regarding the sent sulls. and to his credit, the current secretary of commerce, gary locke, has expressed his intention to not seek control of the 2010 census to the white house during his confirmation hearings. the u.s. constitution, article one, section two, clause three, as modified by section two of the 14th amendment requires a population census every 10 years to serve as the basis for reapportioning seats in the house of representatives. the constitution stipulates that the he nume rations to be conducted in such manner as they, congress, shall be law direct. congress through title 13 of u.s. code has delegated this responsibility to the secretary of commerce and within the department of commerce to the bureau of the census. let me be very clear on this point. the constitution stipulates that congress shall direct how the census is to be conducted and congress delegated this
responsibility to the bureau of the census, not the office of the white house chief of staff. the united states census should remain independent of politics. it should not be directed by political operatives working out of the white house. such a move is especially troubling considering the census at the time was considering entering into a national partnership with acorn, an organization ripe with internal corruption and that was responsible for multiple instances of vote fraud in the 2008 presidential election. asking an organization like acorn to help recruit the 1.4 million temporary workers that will go door to door is akin to inviting the fox into the hen house. an estimated $3 billion in federal funds are distributed annually on the basis of census data, according to census officials. all the people in this country are affected by this money.
the census bureau is staffed by talented and experienced people who are leaders in the field of statistics. in order to produce a fair, accurate and trustworthy count in the 2010 census, the census bureau needs to remain free of political or partisan interference. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves his time the gentleman from west virginia. mr. mollohan: i rise in opposition to my friend from indiana's amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. mollohan: mr. chairman, i -- i'm sympathetic to the gentleman's interest, i don't share his concern. i know that there was some talk earlier this year about the white house taking the census or taking the -- taking some sort of leadership role in the census. we have been public assurances,
private assurances that the white house has no such intention. the fact is that the census was admittedly mishandled during much of the bush administration, so that toward the laster part of the administration, everybody was scrambling to try to repair the damage that had been done. to its credit, the department of commerce, the bureau of census conceived of a census in 2010 that would involve as much technology, as much automation as possible. the whole vision there would be to be accurate and to be less expensive. unfortunately, the contractor and the -- the secretary of the department of commerce actually took a lot of responsibility for the agency for the contractor, not having correct instructions, but in fact the job was not well performed,
whether it was the fault of the commerce department and the bureau or whether it was the contractor. point is, that we have spent a lot of time in the last years of the bush administration and certainly this year ensuring that we corrected those problem, that we got ahead of those problems, so we could rely on a credible, accurate census. those adjustments have been made. i would just assure the gentleman that there is no inappropriate involvement by the white house at all. i embrace his notion that the congress should be fashioning it and i think that we are doing that with quite a bit of oversight. i know this appropriations subcommittee has been conducting a lot of oversight system of my remarks in opposition to his amendment are i hope in more of the way of assuring him we're on top of this and looking at it.
there's a lot of concern, i hear it on radio and see it on television, certain talk radio shows are obsessing with regard to acorn and i think -- i think personally in many ways demonizing a whole organization for the conduct of a few. yes, acorn could, could not be part of the 30,000 partnerships that the census bureau will embrace in order to reach out to communities, many of them thoord identify communities. i know the gentleman shares the goal of counting, having as act ralt a census count as possible, and i know the gentleman understands there are hard to access communities, i'm sure that the gentleman braces the -- embraces the idea of partnerships to reach out and give assurance to community so we can count as many folks as possible. acorn -- there was no money
involved. there is no money associated with those partnerships with acorn. so i again -- i oppose the gentleman's amendment and my comments are more to, as i oppose it to reassure him that we are all about an accurate, just census and we intend to do our part to ensure that. i reserve the balance of my time, mr. chairman the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from indiana. mr. burton: how much time do i have? the chair: one minute. mr. burton: i believe mr. mollohan is well intentioned. i believe he's an honorable man. but my concern is that there could be a change of attitude by some in the white house. i appreciate that the white house has reconsidered and reversed their decision on
taking control of the census, but unless we make this decision there's nothing to prevent them changing their decision once more. i am encouraged because the secretary of commerce has expressed the intention to not cede control of the census to the white house in his confirmation hearing, but nevertheless, in order to make sure congress retains its right to control the census and the $300 billion that will be disseminated as a result of the census, i think we need to make it clear by passing this amendment that it's up to the congress and not the white house to make this determination. with that, i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from west virginia has one minute remaining. mr. mollohan: i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from indiana, mr. burton. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair,
the ayes have it. the amendmented is agreed to. for what purpose does the gentleman from west virginia rise? mr. mollohan: i request a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceed thonings amendment of the gentleman from indiana will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia rise? mr. price: i have an amendment at the desk made in order under the rule. the chair: the -- the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 97 offered by mr. price of georgia. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 552, the gentleman from georgia and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the gentleman from georgia. mr. price: thank you, mr. chairman. this amendment is again another very simple amendment. it would reduce the total appropriations in this bill by 644,-- by $644,150,000. you might ask how did i come up with that number? that's 1% of the bill. that's right, $644,150,000 is
1% of the bill. what this amendment asks is, is this congress responsible enough to be able to decrease the amount of spending in this bill by 1%, a penny out of every dollar. that's not 1% off last year, mr. chairman, that's 1% off the proposed. and the proposed is an 11.6% increase over last year. that means we would go from an 11.6% increase to a 10.6% increase. mr. chairman, do you think we can handle that? do you think we can handle that? a lot of numbers out there across this land. i don't know if you've been paying attention, outstanding public debt as of today, $11.4 trillion. outstanding public debt per american citizen, $37,231.22. average increase in our national debt every single day
because of the money spent by this congress and this administration, $3.82 billion a day. a day, mr. chairman. the country's gross domestic product fell by 6.1% in the first quarter, the president's budget proposes the 11th highest annual deficits in the united states history. the unemployment rate out there is 9.4%, mr. chairman, that's higher than the administration assured the nation it would be if we did nothing. if we did nothing when the nonstimulus bill was passed. 9.4%. mr. chairman, the federal tax revenues in this nation dropped 34% in april, 2009, compared to one year ago. 34%. mr. chairman, one might be able to just extrapolate that the american people are tightening their belts by 34%. do you think this congress can
tighten its belt by 1%? a penny out of every dollar, that's all we're asking. it's not going across the board. it's not that meat ax that my friend from west virginia talks about. it's allowing the department itself to figure out how to save a penny out of every dollar that it spends. we ought to be able to do that, mr. chairman. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves his time. the gentleman from west virginia. mr. mollohan: i rise in opposition to the gentleman's amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for five minutes. mr. mollohan: the gentleman's amendment is a 1% cut. we argued a few minutes ago it was a 5% cut. the gentleman's amendment is arguably just five times less destructive to programs that this subcommittee and both sides of the aisle have carefully balanced as we worked months and months in drafting this legislation. the gentleman is correct. it's a 1% cut to the bill. as written, the agencies could
look at it and apply the cuts as they saw fit. but understand that they are cuts. just a couple of places that we could imagine safety and security of inmates and guards in federal prisons, that's an area we've been working on for several years to understand exactly what the needs were, the bill is carefully drafted to ensure that there is adequate funding to the bureau of prisons to ensure safety and securities for inmates and guards in federal prisons. a 1% cut would be $71 million if applied there. $345 million in new funds to safeguard the southwest border. it would undermine the southwest border initiative, perhaps, mr. chairman, where the cuts were taken. the 3.4 billion in grant funding for state and local law enforcement assistance, including $298 million to put additional cops on the beat.
$100 million for prisoner re-entry initiatives, $94 million for tribal law enforcement assistance. all this represents funding that again has been carefully fashioned, carefully considered, and carefully appropriated by the appropriations subcommittee and by the full committee as we move this bill to the floor. a 1% cut would undermine any or all of those programs by that amount. mr. chairman, for all those reasons, i oppose this amendment. and yield back the balance of my time. ae-- i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from georgia. mr. price: how much time remaining? the chair: 2 1/2 minutes. mr. price: i appreciate the gentleman from west virginia's comments, but let's be honest, mr. chairman. a cut? a cut? the amount of money spent last year in this area of the
budget, $57.7 billion, $57.7 billion. the amount in this bill to spend, an 11.6% increase, $64.4 billion. my amendment, what would we spend? $63.8 billion. now remember, mr. chairman, last year we spent $57.7 billion. this year it's $63.8 billion under this amendment. $57.7 billion to $63.8 billion, that's a cut? mr. chairman a penny out of every dollar this definition of a cut is like when my -- our teenage son had a -- an allowance each week of $1. and he came to me and said, dad do you think i could have $2 a week. i said, no, but we could probably make it $1.50 a week. thunder definition that would be a 50% cut.
mr. chairman, now let's be serious. $57 billion last year, $64 billion this year. do you think we can find a penny on the dollar and move it to $63.8 billion? are we that irresponsible that we can't do that? 9.4% unemployment across this land. people having a difficult time putting food on the table. not -- wondering where they're going to be able to cover their health care costs, wondering whether or not they'll be able to send their kids to school. the united states is in danger of losing its triple-a credit rating due to accumulation of over $1 trillion in debt. when is this fiscal responsibility out of this crowd going to start? a penny out of every dollar. i would suggest, mr. chairman that that's a minimal amount. a reasonable amount. an amount the american people an amount the american people look at, folk here's in