Mr. HENSARLING. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
I would like to associate myself with the comments of the ranking member of the Budget Committee. What is of great concern here and why once again I want to thank the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Westmoreland) for these series of amendments to at a minimum look at various spending levels and try to at least keep to the President's level, which so many of us already consider to be overinflated, particularly when we look at the fact of how much more the Federal budget has grown over the
family budget. Since I have been on the face of the planet, the Federal budget has outgrown the family budget by a factor of about five to one. This cannot continue.
And so the gentleman from Georgia offers several amendments, all that would at least put us on the path to avoid the Presidential veto and spend less than what the new Democrat majority, tax-and-spend majority, wants to do.
Again, I think it's very important that we focus on the fact that this is part of a larger plan that we see unveiled in the budget resolution. This is our third appropriations bill that puts us on the course to spend the funds that will arise from this single largest tax increase in American history.
Mr. Chairman, for all those who are watching the proceedings of the House today, it might be interesting to note for them that the last time the Democrats had the majority, they enacted the single largest tax increase in American history. So they are at least consistent in what they are trying to do. The big debate in Washington is whether you want to tax more and spend more or whether you want to try to constrain the growth of the Federal budget to where the family budget can actually afford
I have heard other speakers rise and somehow point the finger at Republicans for fiscal irresponsibility. I must admit on occasion that perhaps is correct, but, Mr. Chairman, since I have been here and since I look in the rearview mirror, every time the Republicans have brought a budget to the floor, the Democrats have brought even a larger budget to the floor. They have decried the prescription drug benefit program of the Republicans for being overly expensive, but their alternative cost even
more. And now already in just the first 6 months of this 110th Congress, we have the Democrats wanting to increase nondefense appropriations by $23 billion of taxpayer money, we should never forget that it's the taxpayers' money, above what we spent in 2007. They already added $6 billion to the omnibus spending bill at the first of this Congress. They added $17
billion in nonemergency supplemental spending to the bill that would support our troops in harm's way; but as we notice, as we read the fine print, we discovered it included spinach and peanuts and shrimp and everything else. And now we also understand that the Democrat majority has provided new spending on top of the old spending, $105 billion over 5 years.
What the Republicans are trying to do is keep the tax relief that Americans have already been provided, keep it alive, make it permanent. Democrats say that we're not trying to increase taxes on the American people, although in their budget they have the single largest tax increase in American history, they just say, well, we're just going to let this tax relief expire. Well, Mr. Chairman, if you're a hardworking individual in the Fifth District of Texas and you make the same amount of money
this year that you made last year and your tax bill goes up, now, that may be called in Washington, DC. letting tax relief expire, I can assure you that is a tax increase on hardworking people in the Fifth District of Texas and all over America.
That's why when this bill comes to the floor, and I know there are many worthy programs in this bill, but we can never forget the worthy energy bills that are in the family budget and the worthy water bills that are in the family budget, and you cannot fund the Federal budget without taking money from the family budget. That's why again one modest step would be to vote for this amendment from the gentleman from Georgia, and I once again want to commend him for his leadership on fiscal responsibility
in this body.
Mr. VISCLOSKY. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
Mr. Chairman, I do rise in opposition to the gentleman's amendment and would note that the gentleman from Wisconsin in his earlier remarks used the term ``slush fund.'' I would note that a slush fund connotes a fund raised by a group for corrupt practices as bribery or graft. I'm certain that the gentleman didn't mean to imply that.
Slush fund can also mean money once raised by the sale of garbage from a warship to buy small items of luxury for the crew. I'm sure the gentleman didn't mean that, either.
A slush fund can also mean a fund used by a group of office workers for entertainment, but I don't think the gentleman meant that.
A slush fund could also be a fund raised for undesignated purposes. I would not be so presumptuous as to speak for the gentleman from Wisconsin, but I assume that was the import of his remarks, and in this case that would also be an incorrect assertion.
The subcommittee worked very hard for the first 6 months of this year to assess what the investment needs are for the United States of America, its citizens and its economic future. As I have mentioned earlier, and we had graphics to support the assertion, we have an aging infrastructure in the United States of America. Anyone who is on the roads, anyone who travels by air, anyone who travels by rail, anyone who travels on water understands that. And today we are particularly concerned about
the aging water infrastructure.
I for one, and I believe all of the members of the subcommittee, am very concerned that much of the infrastructure in place as far as operation and maintenance is past its designed life. That pertains to almost half of the locks and dams in this country. We have not dredged many of our harbors, whether they be for recreation, which is an economic purpose as well, or for commerce to their authorized depths, let alone to the depths needed to ensure that they can operate effectively and cost efficiently,
and this work must be done.
What we have created here is an investment fund for operation and maintenance, and I for one am proud that we have increased in that account more moneys to invest in the economic prosperity of our country, whether it pertain to navigation channels, locks and dams, or other water infrastructure.
I would ask my colleagues to oppose the amendment.
Mr. HOBSON. Mr. Chairman, I move to strike the last word.
I rise in opposition to the amendment to reduce funding for the Corps of Engineers operation and maintenance account. I confess that I don't understand this amendment beyond its superficial attempt to reduce bottom-line spending. This country has already expended billions of dollars in our water resources infrastructure. Much of that infrastructure is quite old and needs major rehab. I would invite any of the Members around that want to go and look, go look at the dams and the locks and the rivers
that we have and look at the aging infrastructure that is there.
As any responsible homeowner knows, much of critical maintenance is penny-wise and pound-foolish if you put it off. The same maxim applies to our Nation's water resources infrastructure, though with a much larger role at stake.
And if we get it wrong, much more than just dollars are at stake. A large part of the failures that caused such a devastating loss of life and property in New Orleans came from inadequately maintained flood control projects. We cannot afford to make this mistake again. [Page: H6692]
Even the President said we have got to increase O&M. The President dramatically increased O&M. What I hear from everybody here is, well, they're always right down there. Well, they're not always right down there. They have never put the right amounts in this bill to begin with when it comes to energy and water, especially the water side.
So I oppose this amendment. Cutting funding for operation and maintenance for the Corps of Engineers is foolish and irresponsible at this time.