|1:50 PM EDT||
Alan Nunnelee, R-MS 1st
Mr. NUNNELEE. I want to thank the subcommittee chairman and the committee chairman for bringing this bill forward in the way that they've done it.
I particularly want to thank them for the fact that this bill provides $1 billion in emergency funding for the Army Corps of Engineers to repair the damage caused by recent storms and floods and to prepare for future disaster events. This funding is offset by a rescission of the remaining emergency high-speed rail funding that was originally allocated in the stimulus bill.
Our friends on the other side have told us they're not opposed to the emergency funding because of the storms and floods--they just don't like the offset. In fact, I've heard it said, We've always done it this way. When an emergency comes up, when a disaster occurs, we've always just funded it without a spending offset.
Madam Chairman, on April 26, 2011, the people of Smithville, Mississippi, had hopes; they had dreams and they had plans. Some of those plans were budgetary and financial, but on April 27, at approximately 3 p.m., those plans changed. They changed drastically. When an historically devastating storm swept through the Southeast, Smithville, Mississippi, was struck by an EF5 tornado, and was literally wiped off the face of the Earth.
Let me make it quite clear. The people of Smithville are very grateful for the outpouring of food, of supplies, of materials that have come from around the Nation. They're grateful for the outpouring of help that has come from the various agencies of the Federal and State governments, but those same people have also redirected plans and priorities in their own lives. They didn't proceed forward with the plans that they had the day before.
Madam Chairman, if the men and women in Smithville, Mississippi--many of whom are living in trailers, many of whom have seen their lives disrupted and houses destroyed--are making the difficult choices in their own lives, they have every reason to expect their government to do the exact same thing.
That's the basis for budgeting: deciding how to allocate available resources for both planned and unplanned events. They continue to say, But we've never done it that way.
Madam Chairman, over the past three decades, if we'd had leadership in this body like that of the leader of this subcommittee and the chairman of the committee and if we had done it in the way that they're doing it today, our national debt would be at least $1.3 trillion lower, and we would not even be in this debate about considering to raise it.
I want to thank the chairmen for their leadership, and I urge the passage of this bill.
I yield back the balance of my time.