|8:11 PM EDT||
Hal Rogers, R-KY 5th
Mr. ROGERS of Kentucky. Mr. Speaker, I rise, regrettably, today in opposition to the supplemental conference report before us, the first time I have risen in opposition to an appropriations conference report in more than 12 years. The Democratic side of the aisle and many of their liberal newspaper editors are intent on substituting their judgment for that of our professional, trained, experienced military leaders.
I am reminded of a quote that I want to read to you, it's very brief, that speaks to this subject. I will tell you the author in just a moment. ``It appears we have appointed our worst generals to command forces, and our most gifted and brilliant citizens to edit newspapers. In fact, I discovered by reading newspapers that these editor geniuses plainly saw all my strategic defects from the start, yet failed to inform me until it was too late. Accordingly, I am readily willing to yield my command
to these obviously superior intellects, and I will, in turn, do my best for the cause by writing editorials after the fact.'' Signed, Robert E. Lee.
This Congress is made up of 535 lawyers, doctors and teachers, some with military experience, some without. It is not, however, made up of 535 military commanders who possess the ability to manage a war against al Qaeda. Yet that is what this conference report does. It enables over just half of 535 politicians to micromanage the war in Iraq against al Qaeda.
Sadly, though, this is not the only reason to vote against this conference report. It's also full of billions of dollars in spending categorized as an emergency which undermines the true needs of our troops and gulf coast hurricane recovery efforts. Specifically for Homeland Security, the supplemental contains two categories of emergency funding, hurricane recovery and the global war on terrorism.
Speaking to the hurricane recovery portion, this is a true 2007 emergency. FEMA needs these funds now to continue our commitment to the devastated gulf coast region and to ensure the disaster relief fund does not run dry in the middle of what experts are predicting will be an active hurricane season.
I can only hope that in an effort to keep the overall exorbitant spending of the bill down, the majority has not shortchanged the true needs of this account.
The global war on terrorism, part of this funding bill, is another story. While it contains many worthy and important items such as nuclear and explosive detection systems and additional aircraft for the northern border, things I have supported in the past and continue to support, they are in no way a 2007 emergency. In every instance, these items could and should be addressed in the regular 2008 appropriations bill. By including them in this 2007 emergency, the majority is simply trying to look
strong on security and buy down requirements to free up funds in 2008 for additional spending.
While I support homeland security spending, I support it in a fiscally responsible way.
Mr. Speaker, it is not often that I have two such compelling reasons to vote against a bill: taking away authority to manage our war against al Qaeda from the military commanders, and carelessly adding billions of dollars in non-emergency spending. These are the very reasons we will be back here addressing these matters again in a couple of weeks after the President vetoes the bill.
We should address these issues now, and stop the political gamesmanship that harms both our troops and the gulf coast recovery effort. This bill is nothing short of a cut-and-run in the fight against al Qaeda. I urge a ``no'' vote.