Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Chairman, before addressing this amendment, let me simply speak to the problem with this process of earmarking. We have the last amendment with regard to the Jason Foundation. All we know is that it was, I believe, requested for Ashburn, Virginia.
We still do not know, after having voted for it, after 332 Members voted for it, after people came to defend other earmarks, nobody came to defend this one. We still do not know. What we do know is that the administration never requested it, that no hearings were ever held, no markup was ever held. We still do not know why it is in the defense bill.
As I mentioned, we do not know who requested it. There is no oversight mentioned, no, no process or structure for oversight, nothing, yet we just appropriated $1 million for the Jason Foundation in Ashburn, Virginia. That is all we know, and that is all we will probably ever know.
What kind of process is that? It is simply wrong. We should have a process that is more transparent where there is real accountability.
Let us go on to this amendment. This is an amendment to strike $4 million for the Center for Rotorcraft Innovation in Media, Pennsylvania. This amendment would prohibit funds in the bill from being used for the Center for Rotorcraft Innovation.
According to the center's Web site, their goal is to enhance the competitiveness of the U.S. rotorcraft industry in the world marketplace.
I should say nobody is more supportive of a strong, viable rotorcraft industry than I am. Just about 2 miles from my house is the Boeing facility that makes the Apache. About a mile and a half from my home is where MD Helicopter has made for Special Forces the Little Bird helicopter. So this is important for my district and every other district that does have a strong, viable rotorcraft industry.
But what we should not be doing is picking winners and losers and saying the Federal Government, in the defense bill, is going to prop up one industry or another. We simply should not be doing that.
The helicopter companies that are principal members of the center are world-class and competitive because they make a great product needed by our military and militaries around the world.
I have toured a number of times the Apache facility. I have heard the accounts of soldiers who have been to Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Apache has performed wonderfully. I have also toured MD Helicopter. It is a great product. I am sure Sikorsky and others who manufacture helicopters do as well.
The question becomes, why are we using the defense bill as a mechanism to fund a center like this when these businesses are fully capable of marketing their own products?
The rotorcraft industry wants $4 million of Federal defense dollars to subsidize their marketing efforts around the globe. They are doing pretty well. I hope they continue to do well. They are competitive because they make a good product, not because the Federal Government is subsidizing them.
Many of them compete for government contracts. That is great. We rely on them, but we shouldn't be saying, all right, we are going to pick you and we are going to lavish you with Federal dollars to help market your product.
Those of us who oppose corporate subsidies for cotton and sugar and tobacco and the airline industry, I think that we also ought to say, if we are going to oppose those subsidies, why don't we oppose subsidies for the rotorcraft industry as well?
At this time of war, we need to send money to help our troops and not subsidize private industry. Again, it is not the role of the Federal Government, and certainly not in a defense bill, to be picking winners and losers in industry, saying you are going to get a subsidy but you are not.
This argument will come up as we offer additional amendments in the next few minutes, but I would ask support for this amendment.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment, and I rise speaking as the ranking member on Mr. Weldon's committee.
Mr. Weldon, as my good friend from Arizona now knows, has a deep and abiding interest in this activity. And he is my good friend, that is to say Mr. Weldon, as well as you, Mr. Flake.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. I accept you at your word, and reclaiming my time, I hope that this is instructive in the end for us.
One of the reasons I like working with Mr. Weldon is I think we bring a certain amount of passion to our work. And as with many other things in our lives, sometimes your virtues are also your vices, so I understand that very, very well.
My request is that you think perhaps about withdrawing this amendment. It is not to argue with you about your premises. Believe me, Mr. Flake, I don't do that. I understand exactly what you are saying, and I understand your concerns with regard to whether or not there are full and complete understandings of what we are doing and why we are doing it under the general aegis of earmarks. My point is that this particular designation has had thorough, and I assure you nonpartisan, thorough,
complete briefings and hearings. That is the way our subcommittee works on Armed Services. I assure you of that.
Again, as I say, everybody's virtue is also their vice; but let me tell you, if it is a vice to go into exquisite detail as to what you are dealing with, then Mr. Weldon, and I guess by extension myself, is guilty of that.
I can assure you that if there is an argument on the floor against what we want to do with rotorcraft innovation in research, then I could understand why you wouldn't want to vote for it. But I can assure every Member here, Republican and Democrat alike, that in the Armed Services Subcommittee, on which I am privileged to serve with Mr. Weldon, that we go into the details of what we are doing and why we are doing it.
The final point here. The reason that I support this and the reason Mr. Weldon recommended it to the subcommittee and that he succeeded is that the big companies, the big companies don't do the innovation and the research. They really don't.
Mr. Hunter in particular, and, again, I have had my differences with Mr. Hunter, but Mr. Young recognizes and Mr. Hunter recognizes that true innovation in this country comes from the small companies. It comes from the research areas that don't necessarily get the big contracts, nor are they sought out by the big companies. They are like the Titanic. They go right down there. And they can be told there's an iceberg, but, boy, they head there anyway by kinetic
I can assure you, Mr. Flake, if you would at least consider withdrawing the amendment, this is one time when the research has been done, the background has been done, the hearings have been held, and we are trying to support the true innovative research side with regard to rotorcraft that might not otherwise get the attention that it deserves and what we need to have for our Armed Forces.
I can assure you that the ideological content or premise that forms the philosophy upon which you are making these inquiries I have no argument with, and I give you credit for standing up. It is not easy to stand up against the tide coming at you. It is a lot easier to vote against you and walk off and claim victory. I don't do that. I don't take any shots like that at you. I respect you and I understand what you are doing and why you are doing it. But in this instance, my request to you as a
ranking member on this subcommittee is that you consider whether or not this might be an instance in which the House is well served and the Nation is well served by its adoption as recommended by the Appropriations Committee.
I thank you for your kind attention.
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Thank you. That is why I am hoping that you would consider in this instance possibly withdrawing it.
When you say the process is out of control, I am not going to argue with you about that. I really don't. But this process with this project, I can assure you was totally in control, thoroughly vetted, and the decision that came out of it was I believe unanimous in the committee, and I don't believe received any opposition on the basis that it was done capriciously or arbitrarily or because of the influence of a Member for reasons other than the merits.
I can assure you of that, and I make my request once again, and thank you for your time and thank the gentleman for yielding.
Mr. KINGSTON. Mr. Chairman, I thank both of my colleagues, and now I want to claim my time to oppose this amendment, but I wanted to talk about the bigger picture.
Each year, the House Appropriations Committee receives about 35,000 requests for individual projects in all the appropriation bills. Just to give one example, on the Labor-HHS bill there were 10,272 different requests. That is about 25 projects per Member. Yet this committee has worked very hard to scrutinize those requests and to decide which ones are good and which ones have less of a case and we eliminate all of them.
To give you some of the numbers, it is incredible. This bill alone is $1 billion below last year's in terms of Member earmarks. The Ag Committee, which I sit on, is $35 million below last year's. The Energy and Water Committee is 16 percent, or $197 million below last year's in Members' earmarks. The Interior Committee is $89 million, or 32 percent less than last year. Military Quality of Life, $40 million below last year's. The Labor-HHS is $100 million, Transportation-Treasury is $2.1 billion
below last year's, and Science, State and Justice is $1.3 billion less than last year's.
And this is a sign of the committee doing their work on a bipartisan basis. We are going to continue to work for earmark reforms. The House Appropriations Committee is the first committee that wants to have earmark reform, something Mr. Flake is a great advocate of, in all committees, not just appropriations.
For example, the infamous ``bridge to nowhere'' did not come from an appropriation bill. We need to have earmark [Page: H4299]
reform. The Appropriation Committee supports that, but we support it for all committees, if we are going to make it complete. If it is good for one, let us do it for all.
We also have Member scrutiny and Member criteria requests. And this year, more than ever, we are asking for local grant money, State money, matching money so that if we do appropriate something back home, the folks back home have skin in the game, not just something that the Federal Government is paying for.
I have also, Mr. Chairman, a 2 1/2 -page list of some of the programs which the Appropriations Committee has terminated. Now, Ronald Reagan said, if you don't believe in resurrection, try killing a Federal program.
Indeed, that is the case. It is hard as the dickens to kill programs here, and yet Appropriations remains the only committee on a consistent level that is eliminating spending and terminating programs.
In Agriculture, there were about eight eliminated, including the Classical Chinese Garden at $8 million. Mr. Flake, I am sure, would have approved of that. In Foreign Operations we eliminated the Asia Pacific Partnership for $46 million. I don't know what it did. Does anybody here?
We eliminated the Congo Debt Relief, $160 million.
In Homeland Security, we eliminated $21 million for the SURGE initiative, and a new Coast Guard headquarters for $50 million.
In conclusion, Mr. Flake is not the only one applying the big magnifying glass to spending. This committee is doing it, and we need to be talking more about it. I appreciate the gentleman for what he is bringing up, but he is trodding on turf that a lot of us have already driven on at the committee level.
Continued Earmark Reforms for 2006
(1) Include all Member project funding during the House consideration of appropriations bills.
(2) Sharply limit the number of Member project requests. Curtailing the number of Member requests per Appropriations subcommittee would dramatically improve oversight and lead to a reduction of earmarks. Last year, the House Appropriations Committee received nearly 35,000 individual project requests. In the Labor-HHS Appropriations bill, 417 Members requested 10,272 projects, or nearly 25 projects requested per Member.
(3) Require that all project requests be submitted in writing to the Appropriations subcommittee of jurisdiction via a Member-signed request letter or form.
(4) Establish clearly defined criteria for all project requests and require Members to specify how each project meets those criteria. Member requests would also be required to be strictly germane to the spending bills in which they are contained.
(5) Increase the proportion of projects that have a dollar-matching requirement. HUD economic development initiative grants are among those that ought to be considered for a local matching requirement.
(6) Require all congressionally approved projects go through a formal Executive Branch contracting and auditing process.
(7) Require that all other committees adopt similar earmarking reforms. Earmarks are not unique to the House Appropriations Committee. The most notable earmark in recent history--the so-called ``Bridge to Nowhere''--had its origins elsewhere.
FY07 Member Project Funding
FY07 Agriculture Member Project Funding: The House bill includes $435 million in Member project funding which is $35 million below last year's House bill level of $460 million and $277 million below last year's conference agreement of $812 million.
FY07 Defense Member Project Funding: The bill includes a little less than $5 billion which more than $1 billion below last year's House bill and $2.7 billion below last year's conference report.
FY07 Energy and Water Project Funding: The bill includes $1.04 billion in Member project funding which is 16% or $197 million below last year's House level of $1.24 billion.
FY07 Interior Member Project Funding: The bill includes $188 million in Member project funding for 246 projects. This is an $89 million or 32% reduction compared to last year's enacted total of $277 million in Member project funding.
FY07 Military Quality Member Project Funding: Total Member project funding in the bill is $572 million which is $40 million below the last year's House bill level of $612 million and $804 million below the enacted level of $1.376 billion.
FY07 Labor-HHS Member project funding: The bill provides approximately $1 billion for Member projects, $100 million less than previous, comparable levels and less than 1% of the total funding in the bill.
FY07 Transportation-Treasury, HUD Member Project Funding: Total Member project funding in the bill is $986 billion which is $2.1 billion below last year's level. This is an 70 percent reduction from the previous year. In addition, for the first time ever, the bill requires a 40 percent matching requirement for grantees receiving Economic Development Initiative funding.
Science-State-Justice: The bill provides approximately $387 million for Member projects, $1.3 billion less than the enacted level and less than 1 percent of the total funding in the bill.
Agriculture includes 8 terminations for a savings of $414 million.
Healthy Forests Reserve: $3 million.
Invasive Species Grant: $10 million.
Wildlife Air Safety initiative: $3 million.
Classical Chinese Garden: $8 million.
Financial Management Modernization Initiative: $14 million.
Child Nutrition Program, contingency reserve fund: $300 million (new mandatory).
P.L. 480 Title I program: $64 million.
Ocean Freight Differential Grants: $12 million.
Energy and Water includes 3 terminations for a savings of $4ll million.
Geothermal R&D technology: $23 million.
Natural gas R&D technologies: $20 million.
Construction of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Plant: $368 million.
Foreign Operations includes 4 terminations for a savings of $286 million.
Conflict Response Fund: $75 million.
Asia Pacific Partnership: $46 million.
Africa Housing Facility: $5 million.
Congo Debt Relief: $160 million.
Homeland Security includes 6 terminations for a savings of $154 million.
Office of Screening Coordination and Operations: $4 million.
SURGE initiative: $21 million.
Maritime security response team shoot house: $2 million.
Fast Response Cutter: $42 million.
Citizen Corps: $35 million.
New Coast Guard headquarters: $50 million.
Interior includes 4 terminations for a savings of $54 million.
Stateside Land and Water Grants: $30 million.
Forest Service economic action program: $9 million.
BLM rural fire program: $10 million.
Asia Pacific Partnership: $5 million.
Labor-HHS-Education includes 56 terminations for a savings of $1.66 billion.
Responsible Reintegration for Youthful Offenders: $50 million.
Women's Educational Equity (FIE): $3 million.
Math Now for elementary schools: $125 million.
Math Now for middle schools: $125 million.
Science-State-Justice includes 8 terminations for a savings of $96 million.
Grants for Televised Testimony: $1 million.
Forensic Science Grants: $18 million.
Crime Identification Technology Act Grants: $28 million.
Cannabis Eradication: $5 million.
Public Television Facilities, Planning, and Construction: $22 million.
Microloan Technical Assistance: $13 million.
Microloan Subsidy: $1 million.
PRIME: $2 million.
Transportation-Treasury-HUD includes 6 terminations for a savings of $742 million.
Rural Housing and Economic Development: $17 million
FTA Small Starts: $200 million.
Housing Counseling Assistance: $45 million.
National Defense Tank Vessel Construction Program: $74 million.
Open Roads Financing Pilot Program: $100 million.
New Coast Guard Headquarters: $306 million.
Denali Commission: $7 million.
Prisoner Re-entry: $20 million.
Community College Initiative: $150 million.
Work Incentives Grants: $20 million.
Management Crosscuts: $2 million.
Working Capital funds: $7 million.
NY State UI: $50 million.
Tech Asst. Nat Activities: $2 million.
HRSA--Health Career Opportunity Program (HCOP): $4 million.
HRSA--Faculty loan repayment: $1 million.
HRSA--Public health/dental training: $8 million.
HRSA--Delta Health Initiative: $25 million.
HRSA--Denali Commission: $39 million.
HRSA--ER 1 Administration earmark: $25 million.
CDC--Pandemic Flu base activities: $168 million.
CDC--Bulk Monovalent Vaccine Purchase: $30 million.
CDC--Mind-Body Institute: $2 million.
CDC--Special Olympics Healthy Athletes: $6 million.
CDC--Diamond Blackfan Anemia Program: $1 million.
CDC--Arctic health program: $0.3 million.
CDC--Hanford study: $1 million.
CDC--Pfiesteria program: $8 million.
CDC--Volcanic Emissions program: $0.1 million.
CDC--ALS Registry: $1 million.
SAMHSA--Access to Recovery: $98 million. [Page: H4300]
CMS--Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control: $118 million.
Health admin: $1 million.
ACF--Job Opportunities for Low-Income Individuals: $5 million.
ACF--Sex and other severe forms of trafficking program: $5 million.
Early Learning Fund: $36 million.
Embryo adoption campaign: $2 million.
Alcohol Abuse Reduction: $32 million.
Dropout Prevention Programs: $5 million.
Close Up Fellowships: $2 million.
Education Technology State Grants: $272 million.
Foundations for Learning (FIE): $1 million.
Whaling trading partners (FIE): $9 million.
Javits Gifted and Talented Ed: $10 million.
Mental Health Integration in Schools (FIE): $5 million.
Parental Information and Resource Centers (FIE): $40 million.
Ready to Learn TV: $24 million.
Ready to Teach (FIE) $11 million.
Star Schools (FIE): $15 million.
Teacher to Teacher (FIE): $2 million.
Language Teacher Corps (FIE): $5 million.
State scholars (FIE): $8 million.
State Grants for Incarcerated Youth Offenders: $23 million.
Underground Railroad: $2 million.
Byrd Scholarships: $41 million.
Demonstration in Disabilities: $7 million.
Thurgood Marshall Legal Educational Opportunity Program: $3 million.
Interest Subsidy Grants: $2 million.