|1:37 PM EDT||
Corrine Brown, D-FL 3rd
Ms. BROWN of Florida. First of all, I want to be clear that I support the funding to protect the citizens of the Midwest from flooding. And, in fact, Louisiana has gotten more money than probably anybody else.
I come from Florida. We have disasters, natural disasters, all of the time. But the reason there is no funding for flood protection is because the Republican leadership cut the funding and the Republican Members supported it.
Let me be clear. I support the funding for the disaster. As the ranking member of the Transportation Subcommittee on Rail, I find that these funding cuts which would block all of the remaining unobligated high-speed rail funding approved by the economic stimulus entirely unacceptable.
And I am sick and tired of Members coming to the floor saying that the stimulus money was a disaster. It is not a disaster that we put people to work in Florida and throughout this country. And, in fact, if it wasn't for the stimulus dollars, teachers would have lost their jobs. In one area, we kept firefighters and police officers employed. And that is a job while this economy is turned around.
And let's not forget how we got in this mess. Institutional memory is in order. When you have your head in the lion's mouth, you pull it out, you ease it out. What happened? How did we get here? When Bill Clinton left, we were operating with a surplus. But we had 8 years of Bush and two wars. And do you think this mess started 18 months ago? No, it did not.
We have been practicing what I call reverse Robin Hood for 8 years. Nobody remembers that, when you kept giving tax breaks to the rich and billionaires. What happened here in December? Almost $800 billion that you gave to the not just millionaires, billionaires. And yet you come up saying in June and April, we can't send the pension checks.
Yes, we're spending money up here, but it's the priorities you have. You don't have the priorities of taking care of the elderly people. You want to cut Medicaid and Medicare and Social Security while you give billionaires--billionaires--tax breaks, and millionaires. And now you want to cut money for high-speed rail. But we know for every billion dollars that we spend for high- [Page: H5040]
speed rail, it generates 44,000 permanent jobs. But yes, we have some Governors
that are shortsighted, like my Governor Rick Scott of Florida that sent back almost $3 billion. We have 11 percent unemployment. What was he thinking about? I guess he was thinking he didn't want to see those people going to work and making Barack Obama look good, even though we have the most congestion in that area, and that our competition is there. If you look at Spain,
if you look at France, you look at Germany, 200 miles, 1 hour and 15 minutes. That is the future of our country. But we have some shortsighted people here, people who only want to see, you know, well, we need to balance the budget. Well, where were you when they were giving tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires? And you do it over and over again. That's the sad thing.
If you put it on the board, put it on the board today, you would have the same vote. You would have the exact same vote. And every opportunity you have to vote, you vote to give millionaires and billionaires tax breaks. So, you know, we started the rail system, and we are now the caboose, and we don't even use cabooses any more.
I am hoping that the American people will wake up. It is shameful that over and over again in the people's House, in the people's House, we attack the people who do not have lobbyists on Capitol Hill. And so I yield back the balance of my time, but I do know that elections have consequences. The American people are watching you. I have voted five times to raise the debt ceiling. Why did I do it under Bush? Because I knew it was in the best interest of this country and not the politics of the
ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE ACTING CHAIR
The Acting CHAIR. Members are reminded to address their remarks to the Chair.