Mr. CAMPBELL. Mr. Chairman, as the gentleman from Texas before me pointed out, this Nation right now is awash in debt. The Federal deficit is around $11 trillion, I think, at last count, but I think it's going up so fast, about $2 trillion a year, that it's probably larger than that now. And I don't know exactly what it is
But 46 cents of every dollar spent by the Federal Government, spent by this Congress on the budget this year will be borrowed--46 cents of every dollar spent is going to be borrowed. The deficit will double in 5 years and triple in 10 years. Interest payments on the debt, interest payments alone are projected to be $1 out of every $6 of Federal spending by 2019; $1 out of every $6 we would spend just to pay interest on the debt.
Our level of debt is projected by 2011 to reach 70 percent of our gross domestic product. Seventy percent of gross domestic product now for most people listening, Mr. Chairman, that may not [Page: H6959]
mean anything much, but it's roughly the level where the United Kingdom, Britain, is at today, which resulted in a warning that they may get their credit rating downgraded. If that were to happen to the United States Treasury, then our interest rates would go up even
These deficits, interest payments on the debts, will reach almost a trillion dollars coming forward. Chairman Bernanke has said we can't expect to continue to borrow even 4-5 percent of GDP in the future, but the President's budget proposal has deficits ranging from 4-6 percent of GDP.
Mr. Chairman, the debt we have is absolutely unbelievable and unsustainable. We have to stop spending and borrowing so much money.
So this amendment is dealing with a proposed $180,000 to be spent on ``training the next generation of weather forecasters for San Jose State University, San Jose, California.''
Now, Mr. Chairman, weather forecasting is a fine profession, and I'm sure San Jose State does a fine job teaching weather forecasters, as I'm sure weather forecasters around the country do. The question is, do we want to borrow another--because it will all be borrowed--borrow another $180,000 for this purpose? Do we want to subsidize the training at this university and not subsidize it anywhere else it is done? Is this $180,000 so critical--because we really shouldn't be spending anything right
now and borrowing more money unless it's really critical to our needs in the future--is this $180,000 that critical that we should borrow it again going forward?
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. MOLLOHAN. Mr. Chairman, I yield 5 minutes to the gentleman from California, a member of our subcommittee, doing an excellent job on that subcommittee, Mr. Honda.
Mr. HONDA. I would like to thank my chairman for this opportunity.
I rise in opposition to the gentleman from California and his amendment. I'm pleased to have this opportunity to talk about what may well be the most important problem facing our world today, global warming, and about this important project to help us deal with it.
The gentleman and many of his colleagues on that side of the aisle may wish to keep their heads in the sand about global warming, but I believe we need to prepare to deal with the problem today. And I'm not alone in this view.
The United States Global Change Research Program, which coordinates and integrates Federal research on changes in the global environment and their implications for society, released a new report yesterday that provides authoritative assessment of national and regional aspect of global climate change in the United States.
This new report provides a valuable, objective scientific consensus on how climate change is affecting and may further affect the United States. It reveals that climate change will alter precipitation patterns on the timing of mountain snow melt, and predicts that climate change could bring parching droughts to the southwest, home of the gentleman offering this amendment.
One of the keys to dealing with these changes is going to be adaptation, developing ways to protect people and places by reducing their vulnerability to climate changes.
To properly adapt to more extreme climate events, we need to have more data, accurate weather forecasting, weather forecasters trained to predict the extreme events expected with climate change, can give the American people the advanced warning needed to deal with--or even escape from, if necessary--these dangers and avoid tragedies such as Hurricane Katrina.
The funding for this amendment would be used by San Jose State University to complete the development of a field experience curriculum to supplement the existing bachelor of science in meteorology program. This will allow San Jose State University to better train the next generation weather forecasters helping to ensure that government can plan and respond properly.
By the way, this is a one-time shot that will be used over and over again as instruction goes on.
The field experience will improve the quality of the graduates by exposing them to a wider array of weather phenomenon that is typically experienced where the school is located. This will enhance their ability to recognize and forecast the wide array of weather that is likely to be experienced in California and across the Nation in the next 30 years as we experience climate change.
I know the gentleman often asks why this project and others are not worthy projects. Well, the Department of Meteorology at San Jose State University is the only meteorology department in the public university system in the State of California, the Nation's most populous, with a strong focus on the undergraduate program. There are very few bachelor of science in meteorology programs in the western States, so the benefits of this program will extend to other States in the region whose students
will attend San Jose State. There are not a lot of options for developing this important curriculum, and San Jose State University has the faculty base capable of developing and offering this new course.
The gentleman also often asks, why should the Federal Government be funding this? I think NOAA makes that point for me. The headline from a NOAA News online story from the agency's Web site reads, ``NOAA leads climate impact and adaptation activities.'' This is what NOAA does.
In its own words, NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events. The curriculum that the funding in this bill will complete will help NOAA achieve this mission.
The university will seek other funding sources in order to offer the class after it has been geared up. But to get the program started, I think it is perfectly appropriate for NOAA to make a small investment in the development of a field experience course that will help to better train the next generation of weather forecasters to predict the extreme weather events that are expected to accompany climate change.
Just a side word on this. When I was going to San Jose State back in the sixties, several new words like ``ecology,'' ``food web,'' ``smog'' and other terminologies which are common among youngsters today started then at universities, and today, these are concepts that are necessary for understanding the kinds of things we are faced with.