Mr. PRICE of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, this amendment is again another very simple amendment. It would reduce the total appropriations in this bill by $644,150,000.
Now, you might ask Mr. Chairman, how did I come up with that number? Well, that is 1 percent of the bill. That is right, $644,150,000 is 1 percent of the bill.
So what this amendment asks is, is this Congress responsible enough to be able to decrease the amount of spending in this bill by 1 percent, a penny out of every dollar?
Now, that is not 1 percent of last year, Mr. Chairman. That is 1 percent off the proposed, and the proposed is an 11.6 percent increase over last year. That means we would go from an 11.6 percent increase to a 10.6 percent increase.
Mr. Chairman, do you think we can handle that? Do you think we can handle that?
There are a lot of numbers out there across this land. I don't know if you have been paying attention. Outstanding public debt as of today, $11.4 trillion. Outstanding public debt per American citizen, $37,231.22. Average increase in our national debt every single day because of the money spent by this Congress and this administration, $3.82 billion a day--a day, Mr. Chairman.
The country's gross domestic product fell by 6.1 percent in the first quarter. The President's budget proposes the 11th-highest annual deficits in United States history. The unemployment rate out there is 9.4 percent, Mr. Chairman. That is higher than the administration assured the Nation it would be if we did nothing--if we did nothing when the non-stimulus bill was passed, 9.4 percent.
Mr. Chairman, the Federal tax revenues in this Nation dropped 34 percent in April 2009 compared to 1 year ago--34 percent. Mr. Chairman, one might be able to just extrapolate that the American people are tightening their belts by 34 percent. Do you think this Congress can tighten its belt by 1 percent?
A penny out of every dollar, that is all we are asking. And it is not going across-the-board. It is not that meat ax that my friend from West Virginia talks about. It is allowing the department itself to figure out how to save a penny out of every dollar that it spends. We ought to be able to do that, Mr. Chairman.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Mr. Chairman, the gentleman's amendment is a 1 percent cut. The amendment we argued a few minutes ago was a 5 percent cut. The gentleman's amendment is arguably just five times less destructive to programs that this subcommittee on both sides of the aisle have carefully balanced as we have worked months and months in drafting this legislation.
The gentleman is correct; it is a 1 percent cut to the bill, as written. The agencies could look at it and they could apply the cuts as they saw fit. But understand that they are cuts.
Imagine a couple of places where these cuts would be felt. For example, safety and security of inmates and corrections officers in Federal prisons. It is an area that we have been working on for several years to understand exactly what the needs are. The bill is carefully drafted to provide adequate funding to the Bureau of Prisons to ensure safety and security for inmates and corrections officers in Federal prisons. A 1 percent cut would be $71 million if applied to BOP.
A 1 percent cut would eliminate $345 million in new funds to safeguard the Southwest border. It would undermine the Southwest Border Initiative perhaps, Mr. Chairman, if that is where the cuts were taken.
There is $3.4 billion in grant funding for State and local law enforcement assistance, including $298 million to put additional cops on the beat. $100 million for prisoner reentry initiatives. $94 million for tribal law enforcement assistance. All of this represents funding that again has been carefully fashioned, carefully considered and carefully appropriated by the appropriations subcommittee and by the full committee as we moved this bill to the floor. A 1 percent cut would undermine any
or all of those programs by that amount.
Mr. Chairman, for all of those reasons, I oppose this amendment.
I reserve the balance of my time.
The CHAIR. The gentleman from Georgia has 2 1/2 minutes remaining.
Mr. PRICE of Georgia. Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the gentleman from West Virginia's comments, but let's be honest. A cut? A cut? The amount of money spent last year in this area of the budget, $57.7 billion--$57.7 billion. The amount in this bill to spend, an 11.6 percent increase, remember, Mr. Chairman, $64.4 billion. My amendment, what would we spend? $63.8 billion.
Remember, Mr. Chairman, last year we spent $57.7. This year it is 63.8 under this amendment. 57.7, 63.8--that's a cut? Mr. Chairman, a penny out of every dollar.
This definition of a cut is like when our teenage son had an allowance each week of $1, and he came and said, Dad, you think I could have $2 a week? I said, No, but we could probably make it $1.50 a week. He said thank you very much. But under this definition, that would be a 50-cent cut. That would be a 50 percent cut.
Mr. Chairman, let's be serious. $57 billion last year, $64 billion this year. Do you think we can find a penny on the dollar and move it to $63.8 billion? Are we that irresponsible that we can't do that?
There is 9.4 percent unemployment across this land. People are having a difficult time putting food on the table, wondering whether they are going to be able to cover their health care costs, wondering whether or not they are going to be able to send their kids to school. The United States is in danger of losing its Triple A credit rating due to the accumulation of over $1 trillion in debt.
Mr. Chairman, when are we going to start? When is this fiscal responsibility out of this crowd going to start?
A penny out of every dollar. I would suggest, Mr. Chairman, that that is a minimal amount, a reasonable amount, an amount that the American people look at their folks here in Washington, their representatives here in Washington, and say, Why on Earth can't you find that? Why can't you find it?
We ought to be able to do this. In fact, not doing this is morally reprehensible. Not doing this is irresponsible.
Not doing this is an abrogation of our duty. Not doing this is a woeful lack of leadership.
I yield back the balance of my time.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Mr. Chairman, the use of the word ``irresponsible'' gives me pause because if the Appropriations Subcommittee for Commerce, Justice, Science has done anything during the last 6 months, it has responsibly considered the administration's requests with regard to funding of these accounts. Indeed, our Appropriations Committee has cut $200 million from the administration's request. At the same time we have filled a lot of holes that the administration left such as $300 million for SCAAP.
We filled that hole because the administration requested zero for SCAAP. On the floor yesterday we added $100 million more to SCAAP because it has such broad bipartisan support in this House.
We restored $400 million for State and local law enforcement, money to help our local police, our local sheriffs, our State police, as they do their job in very tough times protecting our citizens back home.
This legislation has been very responsibly considered, and while our appropriation is less than the President requested, it still goes a long way to adequately fund all the accounts in the bill.
Now, the gentleman makes light of a 1 percent cut. But understand, a 1 percent cut in a $64 billion bill is $644 million. $644 million is $200 million above the SCAAP hole that we had to fill. It's just $200 million above the $400 million in the State and local law enforcement assistance grants that we filled.
So the gentleman, 1 percent, when it's said like that, sounds like just a little bit. But understand, this bill that we bring to you to the floor today is below the President's request and, at the same time, we have provided funding for SCAAP to the tune of $400 million above the President's request, which was zero. [Page: H6952]
I can tell you, State and local enforcement across the country, and I would just imagine in the gentleman's district, are very much appreciative of that support as they deal with crime in tough economic times when local government and State government are having trouble meeting those budgets in order to fund that safety.
A lot of this is ideological, and the gentleman looks to these domestic accounts to achieve these reductions. I would point out that these accounts are not flush with funding. Indeed, our funding in this bill is below the President's request.
I yield back the balance of my time, Mr. Chairman.
The CHAIR. The question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Price).
The question was taken; and the Chair announced that the noes appeared to have it.