Mrs. BLACKBURN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and I thank the chairman of the Appropriations Committee for the time to speak on this and to bring this amendment forward.
Again, this is a cut amendment. Every year, I say let's look at 1 percent, 2 percent, 5 percent. Let's look at where to make these reductions. I do it because I know that we all realize and probably many of us in this Chamber agree with the sentiment that Ronald Reagan regularly expressed, and that is that the closest thing to eternal life on Earth is a Federal Government program. We are reminded of that fact today as we are here debating this funding bill.
This amendment calls for a clean 1 percent across-the-board reduction in each account of this act. One penny on a dollar. We are doing this, yes, for today; yes, to send a message to constituents that we are working to reduce the spending; yes, to send a message to those that are watching the [Page: H5071]
growing debt in this country; yes, a message that we are getting the fiscal house in order. We are also doing it for our children and our grandchildren, to make
certain that they have an America that is strong, that is safe, that has its fiscal house in order.
We are in a time where every child that is born in this Nation is now seeing $46,000 worth of debt heaped on their head, Federal debt, that is theirs. It is so important that we make this cut. It's an extra $306 million that would come out of this budget.
As I said in my previous remarks, the appropriators have worked hard. They have worked diligently to make certain that they were reducing and coming in below last year's level, and they are to be commended for that. But these are extraordinary times and it requires that we put the focus on going a step further, that we engage those that are running the bureaucracies, and that we have them go save a penny out of a dollar and that they do it for future generations.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. FRELINGHUYSEN. First of all, I want to thank the gentlewoman from Tennessee again for her steadfastness in trying to reduce spending.
Our committee had the lowest--our spending level went back to 2006. One of the benefits of serving on the committee and one of the reasons I traditionally oppose across-the-board cuts, 1 percent, 5 percent, 3 percent, is when you serve on the committee and you've already made substantial reductions, you do it in a careful and thoughtful manner. And when you're dealing with issues that relate to the nuclear stockpile, the reliability of that stockpile, the responsibility for taking care of nuclear
waste and meeting consent decrees and court orders and you're dealing with lives and property that relate to issues of flooding and things that affect lives and property literally, billions of dollars of commerce that we heard about earlier this afternoon from those who represent Missouri and the Mississippi, really the bedrock of,
I think, 44 percent of our Nation's economy, making these types of cuts, while it may feel good, without having the benefit of what we have the benefit of, which is debate and input from some of the Nation's greatest experts as well as obviously people from the administration, there is no way that I would support this reduction.
I would be pleased to yield to the ranking member.
Mr. GRAVES of Georgia. I thank the gentlelady.
I want to thank you for your amendment, because you bring forth such an incredible issue that we can't just stop with what was passed out of the Appropriations Committee. There are Members all across this body that had the opportunity to scour the legislation--and I'm on the committee--and to improve upon the legislation. That's exactly what she's doing here by offering additional cuts.
Mr. Chairman, I want to bring out the fact that in the House over the last five appropriations bills, there have been 250 amendments offered. Only 11 cutting amendments have been passed, and eight of these were by voice vote. So here on the floor of the House, and I guess I'm speaking to my colleagues in the Republican Party, we are not cutting any more than what comes out of the committee. So far, out of these five appropriations bills, there's been $691 billion spent, and yet we've only cut
$304 million in addition to that.
Mr. Chairman, as I think about where we are, I brought the analogy and trying to put this in context of where we are as a Nation, that's 2 cents, just two pennies out of a gallon of gas. Just two pennies.
I leave you that--my 2 cents' worth on this appropriations bill.
Mr. McCLINTOCK. I thank the gentlelady for yielding.
I rise in support of this amendment. This is the last opportunity we have, really, to rein in spending that's literally bankrupting our country in this bill.
It's interesting. All the talk of the billions of dollars of subsidies that we continue to dole out to dubious enterprises are all unfulfilled promises of energy independence. You would think after 30 years those promises are starting to ring hollow. After 30 years of such promises, we're more dependent on foreign energy than when we began and even deeper in debt.
I rise also to draw to the attention of the House a provision of this measure relating to the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
Under current law as that reserve is drawn down either for maintenance or for market manipulation, the proceeds from the oil must go back into the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. That guarantees that it's maintained in a constant state of readiness to provide for our national security. Whenever a dollar comes out of that reserve, a dollar has to be put back into it--until this bill. There is a half-billion dollars going out of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, not to replenish the reserve, but to
fund additional spending in this budget. That is a scandal.