5:38 PM EDT

Todd Tiahrt, R-KS 4th

Mr. TIAHRT. Mr. Chairman, earlier this year, the Obama administration told us the stimulus bill was going to be the salvation of our economic woes. They predicted unemployment would top out at 8 percent, and they claimed that jobs would be created or saved immediately. Well, there has been a significant amount of time since it was passed, and our economic woes haven't changed. In fact, the numbers are in stark contrast to what we see today.

Unemployment now is at 9.4 percent, and it is headed toward double digits. Just this week, CNN reported that Americans saw $1.3 trillion of wealth vaporize in the first quarter of 2009. Despite the massive government spending, foreclosures continue. Car dealerships are closing and layoffs continue. Home values have continued to decline, and the stock market is down 40 percent from last year.

Our government is borrowing money it does not have. It is inflating programs and projects we do not need. Recently, it was reported that over 100 wasteful projects were funded through this stimulus bill.

There is a project that includes thousands of signs, at $300 each, to brag about the projects paid for under this bill. There are projects here that could have been funded under regular order. There is $2.2 million for a State-run liquor warehouse to put skylights in the installation. There is $3.4 million for road tunnels for turtles. Tunnels for turtles. Now, it seems like maybe the turtles will need the signs to find the tunnels. There is over $40 billion in a State slush fund, and there is

money for education. Secretary of Education Duncan has admitted he doesn't know how to spend it.

This is your stimulus money at work here in America. Taxpayers don't understand why so much money is being wasted so quickly with nothing to show for it. My amendment on the floor today would keep a quarter of $1 billion from our deficit by taking the stimulus dollars to pay for this legislation and for other legislation. Now, at a time when Americans are pulling back on their spending and are saving more, our government should do the same.

In the first quarter of this year, household debt fell by an annual rate of 1.1 percent, which is $13.8 trillion. Instead of following our constituents' actions, though, our government continues to spend money that we do not have. When our government spends money that we do not have, one of two things happens: either we borrow it from countries like China--and since China isn't buying our debt now, the other solution is that our Federal Government prints money. We have had the Fed pump over $1

trillion of new money into our economy. The problem with the infusion of new money into our economy like this is that it causes inflation. When you have more money available for, roughly, the same amount of goods, you get inflation. The equation is very simple. The more money we print, the less our money is worth.

Inflation hits our retired Americans the worst. They're on fixed incomes. It hits the working poor the hardest--people who are just getting by. When you take purchasing value away from them, they're worse off. These Americans have worked too hard for their money to see the actions of the Federal Reserve drastically reduce its value.

Our economic instability and uncertainty is making America's bonds toxic. Even countries like China and Brazil are turning up their noses at U.S.-held securities in favor of International Monetary Fund bonds.

Let's follow our constituents' lead. Let's slow the Treasury's printing press. Let's cut up our Chinese credit card and act responsibly by repealing the portion of unobligated funds in the stimulus and pay for the portion of this bill today before us.

I reserve the balance of my time.

5:42 PM EDT

Alan B. Mollohan, D-WV 1st

Mr. MOLLOHAN. Mr. Chairman, I oppose this amendment.

I scratch my head as I did in full committee. Why would the gentleman be offering an amendment to jerk the rug out from under the Recovery Act at a time when the Recovery Act is beginning to stimulate and to help the recovery of our economy in the Nation? It is just the wrong time to do this, and [Page: H6943]

I still question the gentleman's logic in this.

Mr. Tiahrt's amendment attempts to prevent the obligation of Recovery Act funds for the Economic Development Administration. If there is one agency in the Federal Government that is focused on fomenting economic development, it is the Economic Development Administration. This agency is charged with stimulating economic development in areas that are most needy head on and the amendment is trying to undermine its ability to do its mission.

NTIA's digital-to-analog converter box program is attacked, as is the NIST research construction account. There is criticism in a lot of areas, and certainly in some quarters on the other side of the aisle, by those who oppose the Recovery Act, that funds are not getting out quickly enough for construction. Those are the areas that demonstratively provide real jobs in real time.

So it's unclear why Mr. Tiahrt is singling out these agencies when so many other agencies in this bill also receive funds under the Recovery Act. It is the wrong time to reach back and to try to undo the stimulus package at a time when the economy is recovering. Recovery is measured by a lot of things--by the recovery in the credit markets, by improvements in the capital markets.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment. It is an unwise time to do this, and I would hope that the body would oppose the amendment.

I reserve the balance of my time.

5:44 PM EDT

Todd Tiahrt, R-KS 4th

Mr. TIAHRT. Mr. Chairman, the reason that we would repeal the Recovery Act, or the stimulus bill, is that it simply doesn't work.

In the 1930s, we tried a similar philosophy. We borrowed money from other countries and we started programs that had never before been tried, and throughout the 1930s, we had double-digit unemployment. In May of 1939, Secretary of the Treasury Morgenthau said that we have borrowed all of this money; we have spent all of this money, and we have nothing to show for it. The Recovery Act does not work.

In the 1990s, Japan tried the same thing. They had a recession. They borrowed money. They started government programs, and it didn't work there either. They call that their ``lost decade'' where the average per capita income in Japan went from 2nd in the world to 10th in the world.

[Time: 17:45]

If you want something that works, it's not borrowing money and spending money. Instead, we need to provide opportunity for our economy. Four out of five jobs in America are small business jobs. We need to provide small business jobs. Remember, General Motors started out in a garage, Boeing started in a barn, Pizza Hut started in a building that's smaller than your office, because they had opportunity. And we can provide opportunity without borrowing money from China or printing new money at the

Treasury. We can do it by reforming our regulations, put them on cost-based analysis. We can do it by reforming our health care, making it market based. We can do it by reforming our litigation policy, using loser pays. We can do it by lowering our taxes and making capital welcome in America.

Capital is a coward, and we are scaring it off. And you can't create an economy that is strong and recoverable if you don't create small business jobs. So if you really want to do it, you can do it on the cheap and do it successfully.

If you want to borrow this money and force this debt on our kids, this $250 billion, then you can go ahead with this plan. But there is something better. There is an alternative that actually works, and historically it's proven.

So what we want to do is repeal the Recovery Act, the stimulus bill, and provide the opportunity to allow America to grow because when America grows and our economy grows, the Federal revenue grows.

That's how we balanced the budget in 1990s. It wasn't Bill Clinton's budget. It was the House of Representatives coming up with opportunity for small businesses. We limited the growth in government, and we saw our economy expand at over 7 percent per year. And that's how we balanced the budget. We can do that again if we just start by getting some common sense and repeal the unobligated funds in the Recovery Act.

The CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.

5:47 PM EDT

Alan B. Mollohan, D-WV 1st

Mr. MOLLOHAN. Mr. Chairman, I would close by repeating again that this is the wrong time. The markets are improving. Credit is being reestablished. Confidence in the economy is increasing. This is the wrong time to jerk the rug out from under the stimulus package, which has gone a long way in achieving this progress. I oppose the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

The CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Kansas (Mr. Tiahrt).

The question was taken; and the Chair announced that the noes appeared to have it.

5:47 PM EDT

Alan B. Mollohan, D-WV 1st

Mr. MOLLOHAN. Mr. Chairman, I would close by repeating again that this is the wrong time. The markets are improving. Credit is being reestablished. Confidence in the economy is increasing. This is the wrong time to jerk the rug out from under the stimulus package, which has gone a long way in achieving this progress. I oppose the amendment.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.

The CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Kansas (Mr. Tiahrt).

The question was taken; and the Chair announced that the noes appeared to have it.