Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Chairman, the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill before us today includes $30.6 billion in funding. That falls $1 billion below last year's level and $5.9 billion beneath the President's budget request.
While I applaud our appropriators for the great work they've done in reducing this spending, I am one of those Members of the House who believes there is still room for improvement. We are in an extraordinary time when it comes to our budget and when it comes to the budget of this Nation in the spending, and this extraordinary time does require some extraordinary measures.
That's why I am introducing a 5 percent across-the-board spending reduction amendment. This amendment has the backing of 10 national conservative groups. This amendment would reduce the funding appropriated by this bill by an additional $1.5 billion and would take Federal spending back to just above the fiscal year 2007 level.
Across-the-board spending cuts effectively control the growth and the cost of the Federal Government. They give agencies the flexibility to determine which expenses are necessary and which are not. In fact, in my State of Tennessee, as I have mentioned many times as we have debated these across-the-board amendments--and Mr. Chairman, I know many of my colleagues are probably a little bit tired of hearing of these across-the-board spending cuts--we bring them forward because the States have used
them, and they've used them successfully.
A Governor in my State, who is of my colleague's party across the aisle, made a 9 percent across-the-board spending reduction to bring that budget back into balance, to put our State on a firm fiscal footing. Our States that have balanced budget amendments take these actions, and they take them carefully, cautiously, and with an eye towards securing fiscal stability.
It is time for us in Congress to begin to enact these very same measures. Removing a nickel from every dollar is a way we can help our departments find new efficiencies and to reform wasteful business practices. It would save taxpayers millions of dollars in the process. Indeed, if we had been doing this for years, we probably wouldn't find ourselves in the situation that we are in right now. It's a step in the right direction, so I encourage the support of my colleagues on the amendment.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. First of all, I do appreciate the fact that she recognizes the committee made some tough choices. In fact, our overall bill is really down close to the 2006 level. Obviously, in some quarters, that doesn't satisfy every Member of Congress, but I'm respectful of her desire to go further.
Cuts of this magnitude, quite honestly, go far too deep. The types of things we do in our bill--our responsibility for the reliability of the nuclear stockpile--that's utmost, as is our responsibility for cleaning up nuclear waste. In fact, there are consent decrees where things have to be cleaned up because of things left over from World War II. There is research and development, which is important, and water issues. We heard for 2 1/2 hours earlier today of the types of things that can happen
to our Nation when water infrastructure is not kept up and modernized. There is the loss of human life, the loss of livelihoods, the loss of tens of thousands of jobs.
I am respectful of the gentlewoman's perspective, but in reality this would be very damaging to our national security and to things that are important to life and property.
I am happy to yield to the ranking member.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. I appreciate the chairman for yielding and join with him in opposition. I think he has stated the case very well.
I would also add the expenditures in this legislation on nonproliferation. I think one of the greatest threats our country faces is the issue of nuclear terrorism. Again, we have to be very thoughtful. The chairman has had to make some very serious and profound choices. I think he has done an excellent job doing so, and we ought to stop where we are.
I am opposed to the woman's amendment.
Mrs. BLACKBURN. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
The Acting CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentlewoman from Tennessee will be postponed.
AMENDMENT OFFERED BY MRS.