Mr. BERRY. Mr. Chair, I thank the chairman, the gentleman from West Virginia, and congratulate him on putting together a good bill and bringing it to this House floor and moving it forward.
My colleagues across the aisle, as they have suffered in the minority, talk more trash than a $3 radio. It's amazing. Actually, it would almost be funny if it were not so serious. But they took over this country in January of 2001 with a balanced budget, a $5 trillion surplus and the votes to pass anything they wanted to pass, and they did. And they imposed their will on the American people. Their idea of how to grow an economy is, give as much money as you can to the rich people. Don't regulate
them at all. Let them do anything they want to, and hope Wall Street takes care of you. Well, we all see what happened.
This year we find ourselves in the worst economic circumstance that anyone can imagine. It's happened one other time in this country. As I've listened to the debate, it sounds like a ghost from the Hoover Republicans trying to stop Franklin D. Roosevelt from rebuilding this country, making it a great Nation again, and putting it in a position where it could fight and win World War II. What he did was invest in the people and invest in the country, and we did it, and it worked.
I make no apologies for our attempt to invest in the children of the Grand Prairie in Stuttgart, Arkansas. So I rise today in support of funding for the Art Center of the Grand Prairie. The Art Center is a nonprofit organization that provides after-school and summer programs for troubled youth.
While the Art Center provides valuable artistic instruction and activities, [Page: H6957]
we don't need to turn this into an argument over whether the Federal Government should be a patron of the arts. We need to look at the real point of the program, engaging at-risk youth and preventing crime. That is the benefit the Federal Government and society as a whole will derive from this project. It is a worthwhile investment in our children. The funds for this project
come from the Department of Justice, specifically the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Program. According to DOJ's own description of the program, Juvenile Justice grants support ``prevention and early intervention programs that are making a difference for young people and their communities.'' The Art Center of the Grand Prairie is a perfect example of this type of program.
During the school year, the Art Center's after-school programs can serve as a valuable supplement to each child's education by emphasizing task-oriented instruction, learning to create a project from start to finish and supplementing critical reading and writing skills in the process.
Most importantly, these programs engage children off the streets during afternoon hours between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. They're primarily staffed with many good, hardworking people that volunteer their time. It's well known by law enforcement that this is the prime time for juvenile crime, vandalism and violence.
Outside of the school year, the Art Center's summer art program provides week-long programs for youth, engaging them with positive educational activities that stimulate creative thinking, get children reading and writing, and stem the summer brain drain. These summer camps are open to youths who would not ordinarily get the opportunity to attend this type of program or any other program, as evidenced by the fact that approximately 65 percent of the attendees are on full scholarship. Federal funding
for the Art Center of the Grand Prairie will ensure that these programs can continue to grow and make a positive impact on the lives of even more young people.
The amendment offered by the gentleman from Texas would not save the taxpayers a dime. I ask that this amendment be defeated.
I thank the gentleman from West Virginia for his time.
Mr. FLAKE. Mr. Chairman, I demand a recorded vote.
The CHAIR. Pursuant to clause 6 of rule XVIII, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from Arizona will be postponed.
AMENDMENT NO. 86 OFFERED BY MR.
Mr. FLAKE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
This amendment would remove $325,000 in funding for the Institute for Seafood Studies at the Nicholls State University Department of Biological Sciences in Thibodaux, Louisiana, and reduce the overall cost of the bill by a commensurate amount. It's my understanding that this money would be used to fund the creation of an Institute for Seafood Studies with the purpose of increasing and coordinating research related to sustainable fisheries and the seafood industry.
Mr. Chairman, it would seem that we're developing a trend in the House, funding seafood earmarks. It seems a little fishy to me. We keep coming up with--there are lobster things, there are shrimp things, there are a lot of seafood things here in the bill, and then we never seem to be offsetting this spending anywhere else. It's just another earmark for this or for that or for this or for that.
Every year we approve earmarks for projects associated with lobsters, like I mentioned, crabs, mussels, oysters, whales, salmon, horseshoe crabs, trout, shrimp. The list goes on and on and on. And now we are going to approve an earmark that creates an institute, literally, to study seafood. It's not enough to fund all of these other things. Now we have to create an institute to study seafood. And I would venture a guess that we'll be back here next year with another earmark for that same program
because now that we have an institute created by the Federal Government through an earmark, then who is going to sustain it but the Federal Government with another earmark and earmarks in perpetuity?
This earmark is only one of a thousand earmarks in this bill. As I mentioned, this is another example of where we always hear that Members know their districts best, but when you look at the earmarks funded in this legislation, you see the same spoils system that we see elsewhere.
Again, I have to ask, does an appropriator or does a member of the leadership or a ranking member or a chairman of the committee just happen to know his district that much better than a rank-and-file Member, that they should receive almost double in dollar amount and in number of the earmarks that are proffered by this institution? That sounds fishy to me as well.
We often get high-minded about, you know, we have to stand up for the prerogatives of the House and that we keep our ability to earmark because we know better than those faceless bureaucrats. But why do only some of the Members here know better? And it always seems to me that it is the same Members again and again.
With that, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. MELANCON. I thank my friend.
I thank Mr. Flake for his leadership on the issues of fiscal responsibility. As a Blue Dog Democrat, I appreciate the importance of fiscal responsibility; and getting our fiscal house in order is the best way to come out of this recession quickly, a recession caused by 8 years of irresponsible spending. And I am aware that my friend was one of the few people that continued to hawk his side of the aisle.
Part of fiscal responsibility is the need for legislators to prioritize spending, spending on projects that improve our constituents' safety, health and their livelihood. This institute will be working toward developing standards and guidelines for seafood safety as well as methods to advance sustainable fishing practices. In fact, this project dovetails nicely with the work being done in Energy and Commerce as we speak regarding the food safety bill and the issues that confront us. The rash
of food-related illnesses and the deaths in the past few years highlight the vulnerability of our country and what we face from unsafe food sources and imports.
Louisiana is the number one producer in the continental United States of the most valuable commercial shellfish and finfish species, providing about one-third of the Nation's commercial seafood species. Our working coast sends fresh seafood around the country, including States in the West like Arizona. I remember spending one Mardi Gras week in meetings in Phoenix and enjoyed fresh crawfish from Louisiana in Arizona restaurants. And that was because of the fact that our people in Louisiana try
to bring the freshest and the best to the rest of the country.
So it's imperative that we have the ability to ensure that this valuable resource be kept safe and sustainable.
Why should we be using taxpayer funds? The seafood industry in Louisiana--and in many parts of the country, not just Louisiana--is a conglomerate of many small, single-owner businesses. Sometimes a member of the industry owns a single boat, and that is part of the industry that we know in south Louisiana along the entire gulf coast. And if you go throughout the fishing industry in the United States, you will find that does not differ a lot.
Many beneficial domestic policies have strong, positive impacts on all of our constituents. In the case of food safety and sustainability, all of our constituents--regardless of whether they're from the north, the west, the south, the east, middle-America--share in the peace of mind that they can feed their families with clean, healthy, safe food. While those benefits are shared by all, it makes sense that the costs be shared as well.
This project that we're discussing today focuses funding on food safety and sustainability in the location that produces a large portion of the Nation's seafood. By prioritizing the funding of the Institute for Seafood Studies at Nicholls State University, we are responsibly investing in a food supply that we can all enjoy. This is not just a Nicholls State University, a Third Louisiana District, a south Louisiana thing. This is about safe seafood, whether it's shrimp, whether it's fin fish,
regardless. It's about the study and the making sure that the products that are delivered to America are safe for the people to consume.
With that, I urge a ``no'' vote on this amendment and hope that the Congress of the United States will recognize the importance of the working coast. We're not the Sun Coast, we are not the Sand Coast, we are not the Condominium Coast. We are the coast of the United States that produces over 30 percent of the seafood, and good quality, safe seafood that we hope to preserve.
Mr. FLAKE. First, this is the last amendment tonight. I want to thank the Members for staying around this long. I know their time is more valuable than mine, and I appreciate your indulgence here on this important process, and I apologize for keeping people this long, particularly those who came to defend their projects.
The Member mentioned that it's important that we think of the little guys here. The last time I checked, we have an $11 trillion debt. That amounts to about $36,000 per American, per person; for a family of four, obviously it's [Page: H6969]
much bigger than that. It's time we start looking out for them.
If we look at this bill itself, CJS, it's 12 percent bigger than it was last year. In the year that we're running record deficits every year, we're expanding this bill by 12 percent.
I appreciate what the Member said about the last 8 years. We missed a historic opportunity as Republicans to actually rein in spending. We didn't do it, to our eternal shame, and that's part of the reason we're smack dab in the minority today. We put ourselves on a course toward a fiscal cliff.
But now we're still headed toward that fiscal cliff. And with bills like this that cost 12 percent more than last year, we've stepped on the accelerator. Why are we doing that? And if we can't stop creating new institutes to study seafood or anything else, then where are we going to cut? Where is the fiscal responsibility that we keep hearing about that's being employed? I just can't see it here.
And like I said, we're creating a new institute here, a new institute that will now be reliant, I'm sure--I will bet just about anything that we will be back next year with another earmark for that same seafood institute that we just created because we've just got to keep it going now. And that will just add more to the deficit. Remember, we have to spend more every year.
I urge support of the amendment.
With that, I yield back the balance of my time.
The CHAIR. The gentleman from West Virginia has 1 minute remaining.