4:23 PM EDT

Jeff Flake, R-AZ 6th

Mr. FLAKE. I thank the chairman.

It's unfortunate that it's been objected to again. Again, this amendment that I would have substituted is one that had bipartisan support, many Democrats, many Republicans, that would simply keep in place the restrictions that have been in place for years with regard to taxpayer-funded abortion. This is one that the rule for this bill just narrowly passed after the vote was held open for longer than it was supposed to so that a few arms could be twisted to make the rule pass because so many Members

wanted this amendment to be considered. But yet the leadership on the majority side has said, We don't want to have a debate on this. We don't want to have a vote on this.

Now it doesn't matter which side you're on on this issue. I think everyone should agree that we should have a vote on it. This is the people's House. People should have the opportunity to vote on issues like this. It is not increasing the time for debate. It's simply substituting one amendment for another. It is unfortunate we won't be able to do that.

This amendment would remove $100,000 in funding for the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne, Florida, to be used for, quote, activity-based total accountability. According to the earmark sponsor's Web site, he requested just short of $1 million to ``create a national government services standards program to provide guidelines for which the efficiency of government services can be compared.''

I reserve the balance of my time.

4:26 PM EDT

Bill Posey, R-FL 15th

Mr. POSEY. I thank the gentleman from Texas for yielding, and I want to thank our good friend, the Congressman from Arizona, for filing this well-intentioned but badly misguided amendment. It's not often that Members of Congress get the opportunity to specifically vote to make government more accountable. By defeating this amendment, you will have done that. You will have cast a vote, a stand-alone vote to make government more accountable.

The amendment strikes funding for a government accountability program known as the Activity-Based Total Accountability Institute. Government accountability is not a partisan issue. Thank goodness it's a bipartisan issue. The Florida legislature established this Activity-Based Total Accountability Institute on a strong bipartisan vote. In fact, it was a unanimous vote of the State legislature. And I am proud to point out that eight Members of the current Congress, Republicans and Democrats, supported

this legislation when it was first passed by the Florida legislature. Those Members include the likes of outstanding congresspeople, Representative Wasserman Schultz, Representative KENDRICK MEEK, Representative Ginny Brown-Waite, Representative Mario Diaz-Balart, Representative RON KLEIN, Representative

SUZANNE KOSMAS, Representative CONNIE MACK, Representative ADAM PUTNAM and Representative GUS BILIRAKIS. We joined together in a bipartisan fashion because we know we need a greater accountability in government and in how taxpayer dollars are being spent, and this was a way to accomplish that.

I think we can accomplish much when we come together and reach across party lines for greater accountability and for the most efficient use of taxpayer dollars. That's why we did this; and that's what we did when we passed it; and hopefully that's what we will continue to do here today.

Activity-Based Total Accountability has been proposed as model legislation by the American Legislative Exchange Council, the Nation's oldest and largest bipartisan and nonprofit association of State lawmakers. Also the National Conference of State Legislators recommended that it be model legislation in each and every State. In fact, ALEC called it ``the best legislation to come out of any State capital in over a decade.'' If you support better government accountability, you should vote against

this amendment, obviously.

Activity-Based Total Accountability helps us better understand unit-based accounting--what it does, what it costs the government to accomplish a certain task, how does that compare on a State-by-State basis. That's what ABTA tells decision makers, and that's what it tells the public. It's the most useful kind of cost accounting which presents the cost for all government activities in a format anyone can understand. Taxpayers can see line by line what government actually accomplishes with its

resources.

Florida put $750,000 into the establishment of the institute to gather budget data from every State. The comprehensive analysis of apples to apples will help every State spend its resources more efficiently and the Federal Government's as well. Defeating the amendment will allow the program to continue, and I would respectfully request that you join me in voting ``no'' on the amendment.

4:29 PM EDT

John Culberson, R-TX 7th

Mr. CULBERSON. If the gentleman will yield, I think it's important to point out--and I want to say that I share my colleague Mr. Flake's zeal for trying to cut spending and control spending. I know Mr. Posey shares that concern. We all, as fiscal conservatives, are committed to controlling spending. But under the rules that this liberal majority has established, under their PAYGO, this bunch thinks that to cut taxes increases the deficit; and therefore, under the rules of this

House, it is forbidden, essentially, to cut taxes and impossible to cut spending.

[Time: 16:30]

So, even if Mr. Flake's amendment were passed, the money that he is reducing, $100,000, would churn right back in to the appropriations bill to be spent elsewhere. I know that aggravates Mr. Flake as much as it does me.

We have to reform the budget process. We have to be able, as fiscally conservative Members of Congress, to get up on this floor and offer cutting amendments that actually cut spending. But the game is rigged against taxpayers. Taxpayers are the losers in the way the rules of the House operate. And it is just not right.

Now, Mr. Posey has got a very worthwhile project here in his own district, and that is something that he believes in his heart works. I join in opposing this amendment, but I would ask the Members to help us reform the budget process so we can actually cut spending and cut taxes.

4:33 PM EDT

John Culberson, R-TX 7th

Mr. CULBERSON. We tried in committee, Jeff. Mr. Lewis, the ranking member, offered an amendment in full committee to cut the overall spending levels in the Appropriations Committee, and we were defeated by the liberal majority. So we have made the effort. We are trying. And we are doing it at every opportunity. The frustration is your amendment won't save any money. I join you in wanting to cut, but this won't do it.