|1:46 PM EDT||
Mike Honda, D-CA 15th
Mr. HONDA. Madam Chair, I have a written prepared statement I will include for the Record. It talks about California and the need for investments, and I don't think anybody is going to argue with the need for this country to invest in its country or its infrastructure. We have had that argument.
I'm trying to figure out a way how to make my comments without making anybody wrong. The chairman is faced with a difficult task of trying to balance a budget. He faces that challenge with limited funds. It is a terrible job. But I think we ought to look at the process and be thoughtful and explain to the people out there who are watching us, the young people here who are watching us, that we can be smart. We can be compassionate, and we can do that without allowing ourselves to be fighting among
ourselves and trying to make decisions between jobs, the economy, infrastructure, and taking care of those who need to get back on their feet. I have no arguments with that.
My mother used to say when unexpected guests came to our house during dinnertime, you don't turn them away, you just add more water to the soup, and then you enjoy each other's company.
Congress is a living organism responsible for its past, its present, and its future.
In the past, according to the GAO, we spent about $150 billion just on Katrina. In Afghanistan, we spend $325 million a day. And in Iraq, we spend about $100 million a day. That's almost a $1 billion a day. We are talking almost a billion dollars in light rail. We can be both right and smart and compassionate if we do the right thing.
In our budgeting process, we should have a fund for unforeseen circumstances. We should learn from Katrina. We are looking at about $4 billion in terms of the Army Corps of Engineers. I think our leaderships need to get together and just say ``we can do this'' without fighting among each other, without making each other wrong, because that's wrong. In the eyes of the public, they want us to do the job that needs to get done and have our leadership do that.
So my plea is that we can be fiscally responsible and we can be compassionate, and we do that with good planning and good budgeting processes, including having contingency funds that should have been there. And so we have an opportunity right now to show the public that we can do all of these things and still come out winners for those who need the help, and those who need jobs, and still take care of the Nation's infrastructure needs. That's what America is all about. It's a can-do spirit without
having to fight within our own families.