tv U.S. House of Representatives CSPAN July 23, 2009 1:00pm-4:59pm EDT
with environmentally sustainable solutions, two, maintain services in rural communities. three, supporting vulnerable populations. four, invest in the national infrastructure. and five, ensuring transportation safety. in conclusion, we worked hard to balance many competing needs to produce a bill that reflects the bipartisan needs of transportation and housing. i'm pleased with the product and i urge members to support it. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from iowa. . >> i thank the chairman and yield myself such time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. >> we are considering a bill that has far-reaching impacts on the transportation infrastructure across all our districts and constituents in one way or another. for that reason alone, we
should be considering this bill under an open rule so that our constituents have some say in how their tax dollars are being spent. sadly, this is not the case. before i go any further, i want to tell the membership i have enjoyed working with chairman olver and look forward to continuing to do so. while we don't always agree on everything and especially the 25% increase in the allocation over last year, but that fact does not take away my belief that he is truly a devoted chairman who focuses on the resource needs of the entities under the jurisdiction of this bill. i very much want to personally thank him for your consideration and kindness and working together. it's been a real pleasure. i also want to tell both majority and minority staffs that i sincerely appreciate their work through the the process and commend them for a job, i think very well done.
i salute the many hours you put into the process, your forebearance in this dysfunctional process. we couldn't do it without you and thank you on both sides of the aisle. the funding for this bill is 25% over the fh-2009 level. that's a huge increase and one for which we ought to have a number of perfecting amendment votes as part of a serious debate if for no other reason than to allow our constituents to have some say in how those funds are spent. at some point, it should start dawning on all of us the reason we're hearing a lot of noise about some of the spending that's going on is that our constituents are waking up to the fact that they don't have a say in the exercises. mr. chairman, as the administration has said about this bill, quote, these train structure investments will help build a newfoundation for
long-term economic growth to benefit the american people for years to come, end quote. and i agree. if we are indeed making long-term infrastructure investments, then the investors , or our constituents, should have a say-so in how those investments are made. one of my biggest concerns in this bill is that we do nothing to address the coming situation with the highway trust fund that runs out of money. at a point, we'll have to bail out the fund with general fund resources. i know that's not in our jurisdiction as such, but the hour is getting late and we should all be looking for the most expeditious ways to make any contribution we can to provide the resource this is a allow highway infrom structure and other transportation programs to continue with some predictability. i had an amendment to help the trust fund situation. as i mentioned earlier today, in consideration of the rule.
it would have transferred $3 billion from the rapid rail appropriation to the trust fund. these funds that will not be spent any time soon while our highway trust fund screams for additional resources. the $3 billion are also funds that were not requested by the admferings for rapid rail. probably because the president knows they cannot be spent any time soon. right now, they are park funds when we do not need to be teeing up funds to -- for something like an infrastructure bank which is only a vague concept. in the end, the amendment was not made in order, i assume for political reasons, unfortunately. had it been made in order, it would have given me some faith that the majority was willing to have a genuine debate which
in turn might have drawn a few more supporters than otherwise would be the case. i will offer a different amendment to strike the $3 billion to take the rapid rail funding to the president's request. let me reiterate, that's the president's qusm the $3 billion is over and above that. ibling the president's request was a reasonable number. it will also cancel the transfer authority to this unknown infrastructure bank that has not been authorized. without the absence of any knowledge of where rapid rail program will go or what the bank will look like or even if any submitted rail projects are feasible we do not need $3 billion of taxpayer money being set aside for simply a concept. mr. chairman, i would be remiss if i did not say that there were some good points in this bill, absent a few billion unneeded dollars. make it a very attractive legislative product. with respect to h.u.d., i only want to say that this bill
fully meets the government's obligation to renew all rental assistance, support the homeless, increase support for low-income elderly and the disabled, and provide additional rental assistance for veterans. but we cannot continue to put forth resources that cannot be deployed in the near term. we simply don't have the money and at this point, i thank you and reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: i yield two minutes to the gentlewoman from california, ms. roybal-allard, for a colloquy. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized for two minutes. ms. roybal-allard: i am honored to serve as a member of the transportation housing subcommittee and i thank the gentleman for his leadership on the many housing and transportation challenges facing our nation. i understand that among the
elements of the olver amendment is additional funding for railroad research and development. as the chairman is aware, our los angeles community suffered a tragic rail accident when a commuter passenger train collided with a freight train last year. it is widely believed this accident could have been averted and 25 lives saved had positive train control technology been in operation on the system. i would like to clarify that it is your intention that positive train control is one of the technologies that is funded under the research and development account. mr. olver: i thank the congresswoman from california. i share her concern about the terrible accident in los angeles, as well as her resolve to help prevent further accidents. it is in fact my intention that the funding provided for railroad research and
development be available where positive -- for positive rail control research and techling in. i believe p.t.c. is a necessary addition to our national railroad system. i thank the congresswoman for her leadership on this issue and keeping it in our attention. ms. roybal-allard: i thank the gentleman for his clarification and look forward to working with the gentleman on this and other issues as this bill moves fwrd and we continue to address all modes of transportation. i appreciate the gentleman's tireless work and that of the subcommittee staff on the many complex issues under this bill's jurisdiction. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from iowa. mr. latham: mr. chairman, i would like to yield five minutes to the distinguished gentleman from ohio who has brought a lot of knowledge and insight to the committee, mr. latourette. the chair: the gentleman is
recognized for five minutes. mr. latourette: i want to thank the speaker and my good friend mr. latham a classmate from 1994. i want to commend the chairman of the subcommittee, mr. olver, and our ranking member, mr. latham, for putting together a good bill, both on the transportation and the h.u.d. side there will be some criticism on the floor today about how much money it spends and let me just tell you, as someone who spent 14 years on the transportation and infrastructure committee we need to be embarrassed about what we spend on transportation in this country. if you look at the american society of civil engineers, thr report that they come out with on an annual basis a scorecard in terms of how we're doing if more americans read that scorecard they wouldn't put their families in the mini van and take them on vacation and drive over some of the bridges in this country. the difficulty is going to
occur later this year, and i have to say, i guess i'm disappointed in the administration saying that they're going to kick the highway authorization bill down the road for 18 months which coincidentally falls after the next mid-term election, but i have to tell you that it is in fact train structure which creates jobs and it's infrastructure which employees people in this country. and as a republican, i can tell you if it hadn't been for dwight eisenhower's vision on the national highway system, we would not have been the envy of the world we are today. sadly, now we begrudgingly in the six-year re-authorization carp about spending $35 billion a year for the entire country. and the need, i would suggest, mr. chairman is far greater than that. and so while this bill does in fact spend more money and some people may not like the price tag, i think it's important. i want to talk about two other
things relative to the bill. one is, passenger rail service. i had the privilege of being the chairman of the railroad subcommittee on transportation and we always seemed to give amtrak just enough money to fail. if you look at amtrak when they took over the passenger rail service from conrail and we didn't want to be in the business anymore and the freight lines didn't want to be in the business anymore, they got bad track, bad rolling stock, bad management. and we sort of limp along, i've had friends on my side of the aisle, say, we can't give them $1 billion, that's a big handout. it is a lot of money, but the fact of the matter is, if this country is ever going to move and restore passenger rail in this country, it's going to have a price. anybody that think this is a passenger rail as a societal prerogative doesn't have to be
subsidized is nuts. you go over and look at the world class systems in europe and asia, all of those countries have said, for trips of 400 miles or less, we want passenger rail to be competitive with the travel by car. we want passenger rail to be competitive with air travel, and they made the significant investments to make that happen. anybody who has, and i've had the pleasure to travel with the distinguished chairman of the transportation and infrastructure committee, in europe, on trains like the tgv and the chmbings h -- chunnel, and he high speed rail, it goes over 200 miles per hour, the fact that we have ignored that should be an embarrassment to the greatest country on earth. this bill makes significant investments in that. the stimulus package had $8 billion for high speed rail this bill has an additional $4
billion and i'll just tell you, i don't represent a person in the cleveland area that wouldn't say if i could go 150, 1802,00 miles per hour from cleveland to chicago, i would do that. you want to talk about climate change, the way to get money this year is put green in any legislation, they give you money. i believe the last time i checked the statistic is one gallon of diesel fuel can take one ton of cargo from washington, d.c. to boston, massachusetts. i don't know another mode of transportation that's that fuel efficient. you get cars off the road, get trucks off the road and don't create the greenhouse gases everybody is worried about. i think this is -- i'd be happy to yield to the chairman. >> i fully subscribe to the
wise words he's express and the history he's unveiled of the evolution of passenger rail in this country and the gentleman from florida, mr. mica, my partner on the committee on transportation infrastructure -- mr. latham: i yield the gentleman two more minutes. mr. oberstar: we worked together with the gentleman from ohio to craft an amtrak authorization bill that opens the door to private sector investment, creates a sustainable path for the future of surface high speed intercity passenger rail in this country. with the gentleman's leadership now on the appropriations committee, we're beginning going to advance that cause. i thank him for that forthright statement and i'm dede-lighted he's continuing to be such a strong advocate and i take this opportunity to thank my colleague on the committee, the gentleman from florida, for the partnership we've had in advancing the cause of high
speed intercity passenger rail. >> i would say, if you want to talk about transportation, you talk to mr. oberstar. i've learned so much of what i've learned in in th congress from sitting on the other side of the aisle. i spent 14 years on his committee, the authorizing committee we always chafed at the appropriators authorizing on appropriations measures, i've gone over to the dark side and i think it's the most wonderful system in the world. i thank you, mr. chairman, i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from iowa reserves. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from michigan, mr. levin for colloquy. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. levin: section 412 of the bill says no funds are appropriate may be expended for and, in quotes, entity unless that entity agrees to comply
for the buy american act. the buy american act is part of a long-standing u.s. trade policy. it requires reciprocity in federal government procurement. since 1979, the u.s. has agreed to open its procurement market to countries that agree to open their procurement markets to u.s. suppliers. that same policy requires the united states to not grant access to countries that are unwilling to agree to open their procurement market to u.s. suppliers. i believe that the intent of section 412 is to be consistent with that policy. its intent is not to expand the scope of the buy american act such as to cover businesses or other entities that may receive funding under this appropriations bill and that are not currently subject to the act. i also understand that section 412 is not intended to create an inconsistency with our international obligations, including our obligations under
the w.t.o. agreement on government procurement. i now, if i might yield to the chairman for clarification. mr. olver: the gentleman is correct. section 412 will help to ensure compliance of the buy american act because the intention is not to apply the buy american act to new entities. it is consistent with our international obligations. mr. levin: i thank the chairman and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from massachusetts reserves his time. the gentleman from iowa. mr. latham: thank u, mr. chairman. i would yield five minutes to the distinguished ranking member of the transportation-infrastructure committee, the gentleman from florida, mr. mica. the chair: the gentleman from florida is recognized for five minutes. mr. mica: i want to thank you for the opportunity to speak on this important transportation and h.u.d. funding bill. i want to first of all compliment mr. olver, mr.
latham, the two leaders of the appropriations subcommittee on a great job that they have done, an effort that they have put together, their staff in addressing transportation and infrastructure needs for the nation. and this is one of the most important bills that we'll pass because this job actually will put people to work. and i can tell you, my colleagues, and every one of you know the statistics, the national unemployment is 9.5%. in my state of florida we're 10.5%. i have some counties in my district that are 15%. and we have a problem, and one of the ways to get people working and in jobs is building infrastructure. and we actually have something tangible when we get done. now, i do want to raise an issue that i have with the bill, but it is not the -- it is not something that is the
responsibility of the authors of this legislation, mr. olver or mr. latham. they have been most cooperative. we've had a great working relationship, myself as an authorizer and the two of them as appropriators. from time to time -- and in the past there have been great battles. i've seen some of them about authorizing on appropriations bill. now, i went to the rules committee and i didn't get to speak on the rules. i voted against its passage. and asked the rules committee to pass an amendment that would have sped up the process by which we could get these dollars out. so we could actually get people working sooner rather than later. and i know people have asked me for bigger government programs or more bailouts but they have asked for an opportunity to work and nothing's been harder hit than transportation projects. i've got one little quote here
from secretary of transportation in pennsylvania who says the unemployment rate for construction workers there is 21%, and it's high all over the nation. but we can get people to work. the rules committee ruled out of order my amendment that would have sped up the process for consideration of transportation projects, both for stimulus and also for this type of funding legislation. actually, what i had was my staff go through and they just tabbed one section of this of legislating on an appropriations bills, and all these tabs represent legislating on an appropriation measure. but the rules committee -- and i didn't raise -- i don't raise any questions about these. some of this is probably fine. we've talked together and we agree on it. but what i'm concerned about is that the rules committee took, again, the bill, as it today, but fail to take my proposed
amendment and said i was legislating on appropriations. and my measure, again, would have sped up the process. don't think we can't do that. i stood here with mr. oberstar the day that the bridge collapsed over the mississippi river in minneapolis. we rebuilt that bridge in 437 days. normally the process to rebuild that if you went through all the normal hoops and red tape, federal requirements would take six, seven years. we can do the same thing because we have -- we have a national emergency now and we need to get this transportation money that this good, well-intended and very effective subcommittee is bringing forth. it's a good measure. th've worked together in a bipartisan fashion. but what i'm saying is we need to get that money and stimulus money out. we're having the same problem with our stimulus money getting it out. there's $48 billion in the -- under the department of transportation's
responsibility. so far we have $771 million. and let me say the state transportation departments across the country are doing their level best. they're doing a great job in getting that money out, but that's less than $1 billion of $48 billion out. and the reason is it's caught up in red tape. let me take of not what a republican governor said. i believe the north carolina governor, mr. perdue, governor perdue said there's so much red tape and it's dismbobulating. now, just for the record, and i will give the clerks the proper spelling for discombobulating for the house. he -- here is one. i have an engineer full time and that's just bout, and that's b-o-u-t. all he's doing is red tape every day. the chair: the gentleman's time
has expired. mr. mica: i'm on a roll. mr. latham: i yield the gentleman from florida two additional minutes. mr. mica: i want to take not just the high governor or secretary of transportation, as i used in pennsylvania, or the governor of north carolina, but here's a county engineer in indiana. he said i have an engineer full time, and that's just bout all he's doing is red tape every day filling out forms, filling out forms. so my proposal had the rules committee accept it would have sped up the process. now i didn't come here saying we shouldn't roll over any environmental requirements or regulations. what i said is we should condense the process because this, my fellow members of congress, is a national emergency. if it -- if you don't think it's a national emergency, go back to your office and find some of those letters from folks that are pleading with congress to help them find a
job, to get people employed in there so they can pay their mortgage, so they can build their dreams like we all want to do. but they're not able to do that, and we're not able to get the money out because of the red tape and constraints. so, again, i regret that the rules committee rejected my proposal. i'll be back here again mr. olver: will the gentleman yield? mr. mica: yes, i'd always yield to the chairman. mr. olver: i thank the gentleman for yielding. to finish this and allow him to respond in some kind of way, i would give the gentleman additional time, mr. chairman. but i just wanted to say that i can remember and i think probably if you think about it a little bit, you can remember, too, because my memory is probably a lot poorer than yours, times when this bill was brought to the floor and point of order after point of order to the level of practically
stripping half of the bill away was made by your committee while you were -- well, maybe you weren't the chairman at that particular time. but a few years ago that sort of thing did happen. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. olver: i'd yield -- mr. latham: i yield the gentleman two minutes. the chair: two minutes. mr. olver: and just after that, i'd simply say we have already obligated of those $47 billion more than $21 billion has been obligated. those expenditures are going on, that that's more than the amount that was intended to be obligated by the end of the 2009 fiscal year. so we're already obligating the money into the 2010. so it's getting out there pretty quickly, though i do have great sympathy for the position that you are taking, that it takes far too long, and i hope the authorizing will take care of that.
mr. mica: let me just say that i did not come here today, and i know what went on in the past about how -- about my committee calling points of order on authorizing on an appropriations measure. i didn't come to burn rome. i came here to help you build rome. and i have no objection to these, nor did i object on any. but i did object to my one -- here's 45 -- not being considered by the rules committee. and you are not -- your committee is not the rules committee. and let me say this, too. while the argument -- you know, we've obligated money, but, you know, i can't go back to my office and say, mr. so-and-so, or madam so-and-so, constituent, that we've obligated money, it's not out there so there's no hope for a job. all i'm trying to do is try to get the money expedited so we
can get the jobs going. finally, let me tell you why it's important to get that money out there, folks. let me tell you. this is one american dollar, and i can tell you that right now you will get the best deal ever to do infrastructure projects in the country. my district secretary told me if my -- that serves my congressional district, bids are coming in 25% to 30% lower. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. latham: one additional minute. the chair: theentleman is recognized. mr. mica: bids are coming in at 25% to 30% lower. so you see this, 3/4 of a dollar, i can get a dollar's worth of construction now for 3/4 of a dollar. we have american infrastructure on sale, wholesale, and we should be getting that money out in the interest of taxpayers building that. and then, heaven forbid. it's not like some of these other programs or the bailouts -- and i didn't come here
asking for a bailout. all i'm asking is for something tangible. that's what your subcommittee provides so well is something tangible, roads, bridges, highways, transit systems, all of which we need across this land from sea to shining sea, we're drowning in congestion. we don't have high speed rail systems like europe and asia and some of the people around the world. i don't mind spending it. my dad used to say, it's not how much you spend, son, it's how you spend it. with that, mr. speaker. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: mr. chairman, i yield two minutes to the gentleman from texas, mr. rodriguez, who is a member of the subcommittee. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. rodriguez: mr. speaker, i rise today in strong support of h.r. 3288, the 2010 transportation appropriations spending bill. in particular, i want to express my support for passage
of the rail funding within the bill that amounts to about $4 billion. i want to thank the chairman olver and his leadership and the appropriations committee for demonstrating their commitment to the passenger and high speed rail by providing funding in this bill that will enable urban, suburban and rural communities in america to be connected by a system that will deliver safe, swift, efficient and economical travel across our nation. the $4 billion provided in this bill will support a competitive grant process, the federal railroad administration will oversee the grant applications and award the process. for those that have concerns about the funding, i want to stress that current demand for passenger rail exceeds available funds. in the preapplication process for passenger rail funding, texas, for example, has requested $3.1 billion.
california has requested $21.6 billion. nevada, $12.5 billion. and overall 40 locations throughout america have requested in excess of over $104 billion. the fact of the matter is that $4 billion is only a small down payment and investment in passenger rail. texas desperately needs the passenger and high speed rail. funding for speed rail will reduce congestion and pollution, create jobs and connect america in our communities. the san antonio-austin corridor is booming and the highways are congested. america's passenger rail system is terribly underdevelopmented, underfunded when compared to other nations such as france, italy, china and japan. my colleagues in south texas have joined me in supporting this bill.
the chair: the gentleman's time s expired. the gentleman from iowa. mr. latham: i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: i yield two minutes to the gentlewoman from california, ms. woolsey, for colloquy. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. woolsey: i thank the chairman for all of your hard work on this bill. as the chairman knows, there's a project in my district named the sonoma-marin area rail transit project. we call it smart. smart will be a 70-mile passenger rail system that connects 14 stations and runs right through the heart of my district. this project is vital because it eases congestion on the major transportation artery, highway 101, by providing an alternative mode of transportation.
this is a very popular project and actually, last november, voters in my district passed a quarter cent sales tax measure by over 2/3 majority to raise money for smart. it has the support of the community when a super majority votes on a tax measure like that not only is smart a train, but the project also includes 70 miles of bike and pedestrian paths to run alongside the track which revolutionizes transportation in my district. unfortunately, while smart received nearly $2 million in last year's transportation h.u.d. bill, there are no funds in this bill this year. it is my hope that as smart moves into the new starts process, the chairman will work with me to support this important transportation project. mr. olver: i thank the gentlewoman for bringing this matter to my attention. this is a good project, i support it and i'll be glad to work with the gentlewoman from
california on this as it moves into the new starts process. ms. woolsey: i thank the chairman and yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from iowa. mr. latham: i continue to reserve. the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from oklahoma, mr. boren. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. boren: thank you for your hard work on this legislation and your support for indian country in oklahoma for many years. i would like to bring to the gentleman's attention an inequity and inefficiency that currently exists within the federal programs that assist local transit agencies with their capital projects such as buses and garages. specifically for alternative fuel transit buses, the federal share is 80% of the capital cost of a standard diesel bus, plus 90% for the cost of
vehicle-related -- vehicle related to compliance with the clean air act, often referred to as incremental cost. in short, grantees may apply for an 83% federal share of the total vehicle cost. this was based on the policy that such buses contribute generally to cleaner air and maintaining compliance with the federal air quality standards. i would like to ask the gentleman if i'm correct in stating that this bill includes a provision that allows a 90% federal share for the entire cost of a biodiesel bus. mr. olver: the gentleman from oklahoma is correct, section 164 of this bill allows that. mr. boren: i understand the biodiesel provision was included in this in several past transportation appropriations bills for air quality and petroleum
displacement reasons. however, i would like to jug zest to the chairman there's no reason not to extend the same 90% of the total vehicle cost benefits offered to a biodiesel bus to a natural gas bus. natural gas powered buses produce 22% less greenhouse gases than comparable standard diesel buses. and they have proven -- a proven track record of displacing imported petroleum. it is my hope that the gentleman will be willing to work with me on this issue to provide 90% of the total vehicle costs of natural gas buses. mr. olver: i yield the gentleman an additional minute. mr. boren: helping replace the existing diesel buses with new, fuel-efficient alternative-fueled ones this would make a significant contribution in america's strategy for energy independence and global climate change. simultaneously, it would ensure clean air and the health of our
citizens and contribute to the growth of our economy. mr. olver: i appreciate the gentleman's attention to this issue. i understand the house authorizing committee is examining this in the context of their multiyear re-authorization bill. in the meantime, i'm happy to work with the gentleman from oklahoma to address the issue as we move forward in this process and conference this bill with the senate. mr. boren: i thank the gentleman for his willingness to work with me and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from yoy. mr. latham: i continue to reserve. the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts. pll olver: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. berman -- he's not here yet.
mr. chairman, i yield two minutes to the gentlewoman from texas, ms. jackson lee. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized for two minutes. ms. jackson lee: i thank the chairman very much and the ranking member. i thank the speaker. i rise to support the rule that has already passed and the underlying bill. mr. speaker, this is a very important step forward for the infrastructure of america. covering transportation and housing and housing is part of infrastructure. it creates a holistic neighborhood. i want to thank the committee for the federal transit administration, $10.4 million went to impact the growing metro system, i'm hoping as we move forward and metro in houston is defined as a few new start, we will be able to use the stimulus dollars because we're in the process of creating jobs as we speak.
i believe it's important to support the high speed intercity passenger rail grants. we in texas are work very much on high speed and believe that's part of the transportation system of tomorrow. i'm also grateful for the airport modernization, safety, and efficiency grant at $3.5 billion representing houston intercontinental airport, one of the largest airports in the nation. recently we met with air traffic controllers and i would hope as we move through this legislation, we'll focus on encouraging the f.a.a. to be able to work on the negotiations with the air traffic controllers for better quality of life and working conditions. i'm grateful for the number of dollars being put in for vouchers for homeless veterans, $4 billion for -- $75 million for homeless veterans, 10,000 of those will be served, 1.3 million for low income housing, in addition i'm delighted we're
working for more affordable housing. we in the city of houston are in great need. i've been working on affordable housing for a long time. i hope in the dollars going to our communities, we'll use them for what we call senior housing repair. in many of our cities, our housing stock is enormously old, it impacts seniors and they're in great need. the chair: the gentlelady's time has expire plsmed olver: i yield the gentlelady 15 seconds. ms. jackson lee: i have a large population of public housing, housing development, i'm grateful that $4.8 billion has been implemented or used for that, $430 million above 2009 for maintenance and costs, two important issues. i thank the gentleman for his work. the chair: the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from iowa. mr. latham: i continue to reserve.
the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: i yield two minutes to the gentleman from california, mr. berman, for colloquy. the chair: the gentleman from california is recognized for two minutes. mr. behr spann -- mr. berman: i thank the gentleman for yielding to me to engage in a colloquy about the fairness and objectivity about the f.a.a.'s curfew application process. i'm pleased to be joined by mr. schiff, who has many constituent whors affected by nighttime operations at burbank airport. both burbank, bob hope airport and van nuys airports have been studying nighttime curfews. the glendale pasadena airport authority has submitted its request to the board. the f.a.a. has been willing to disregard the impact that nighttime flight operations
have on communities living by these airports. i have constituents who sleep -- whose sleep is routinely disturbed by airplane craft taking off or landing at all hours of the night from burbank and van nuys airports. i look forward to working with the gentleman in the future to ensure that f.a.a. gives fair consideration to the concerns of those who must live with airport noise day in and day out. i yield if i may, to the gentleman from california, mr. schiff. mr. schiff: i thank the gentleman from california for yielding. i'm pleased for the first time in 17 years the f.a.a. has deemed a part 161 nighttime curfew application complete. this is a big step in the right direction and shouldn't be overlooked. i believe that bob hope airport has met the criteria for a curfew set by law and that a curfew would impact a relatively small furm of diverted flights will delivering significant reductions in both the noise
impact to surrounding communities and the cost associated with sound mitigation. i share my colleague's concern that the f.a.a. has not been serious about moving forward with mandatory curfews, despite congressional intent when part 161 was signed into law. i look forward to working with chairman olver to ensure that part 161 has the meaning and credibility and that the process is real and can lead to results. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. olver: i yield this colloquy one additional minute. would the gentleman yield? mr. berman: i yield to the chairman. mr. olver: i appreciate the remarks of the two gentleman about the effort -- the effects of airport noise on local communities and agree the f.a.a. has a responsibility to adequately and objectively weigh the concerns of those adversely impacted by nighttime takeoff and landings. while i can't comment as to the
specifics of the burbank and van nuys curfew studies, i agree it must serve as a credible and objective avenue for evaluating the merits of noise and access restrictions. mr. berman: reclaiming my time, i thank the chairman very much and yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from iowa in mr. latham: continue to reserve. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: could i inquire how much time is available? the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts has 10 1/2 minutes, the gentleman from iowa has 8 1/2 minutes remaining 10. 1/2. -- 10 1/2. mr. olver: i yield one minute to the gentleman from iowa, mr. braley, for the purpose of a colloquy. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. braley: let me thank the
gentleman for moving our nation forward in transportation and other areas he tackles each and every day. this bill is going to help millions of americans and i'm pleased to support it. i rise today in strong support of the olver amendment to the transportation h.u.d. appropriation act. i'm pleased to secure an increase for the federal railroad administration's railroad research and development account. this additional money could be used for any number of research projects, including a biolubricants research study authorized by the rail safety improvement act in 2008 as well as other authorized activities. the widespread use of biolubricants will help reduce our dependency on foreign oil, reduce our addiction to foreign oil imports and if all industrial lubricants used in the united states could be replaced, over two billion gallons of petroleum would be replaced.
i look forward to seeing that this study is carried out. the chair: the gentleman's time has ex-er pyred. mr. olver: i yield myself one minute. i assure the gentleman from iowa we'll work together with the federal rail administration to implement the 2008 authorization act. mr. braley: i thank the chairman and yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from iowa. mr. latham: i continue to reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: if the the gentleman from iowa has no other -- if the gentleman from iowa has no other speakers, i have no other speakers and am ready to close. the chair: the gentleman from iowa. mr. latham: i thank you very much. no, i have no additional speakers. again, i want to personally thank the chairman for his
consideration and, again, say thank you to the great staff that we have on both sides of the aisle. it's been a real pleasure working with you. i appreciate it. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: i thank the gentleman from iowa for his kindness and for his hard work and i certainly, again, join him in thanking the very fine staff who worked together very well in crafting this legislation. it is a good bill. i believe it is a bill that deserves the support of the vast majority of the members of the congress. and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. all time for general debate has expired. under the rule, the bill shall be considered as read through page 160, line . no amendment shall be in order except the amendments printed in part a of house report 111-219 not to exceed seven of the amendments printed in part
b if offered by the gentleman from arizona, mr. flake, or his designee. not to exceed two of the amendments printed in part c of the report if offered by the gentleman from texas, mr. hensarling, on his designee. the amendment shall be considered as read, shall be debatable for 10 minutes equally divided and controlled by a proponent and an opponent and shall not be subject for division of the question. the proponent of any such amendment may modify amendatory instructions if the questions is put thereon. the first section of house resolution 669, the chair and reclaiming my time of the committee on appropriations or their designees each may offer one pro forma amendment to the bill for the purpose of debate which shall be controlled by the proponent. it is now in order to consider amendment number 1 printed in part a of house report 111-219. for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts rise? mr. olver: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 1 printed in part a of house report 111-219 offered by mr. olver of massachusetts. the chair: pursuant to house
resolution 669, the gentleman from massachusetts, mr. olver, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: mr. chairman, this is a good amendment that makes a handful of modest changes to the bill. it adds $250,000 for national highway traffic safety administration to develop safety standards for the incorporation of alternative fuel technologies in vehicles. it increases the federal rail administration railroad research and development account by $3 million, which will allow the f.r.a. to perform multiple studies that were authorized in last year's rail safety bill. it provides $1 million for the federal aviation administration to support commercial space activities. this amendment includes two provisions championed by representative cuellar from texas and included in previous appropriations bills, one that
requires the use of energy-efficient bulbs in federal buildings, and the second which precludes federal employees from flying first class. and last we have included a technical change to a provision that my ranking member, mr. latham, has championed in order to ensure that the home equity conversion mortgage program can be implemented without federal subsidy. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from iowa. mr. latham: i thank the gentleman. i would ask for the time in opposition while i will not oppose his amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized, without objection. mr. latham: let me just express my frustration in this amendment, and they're all good pro >> jekts. there are five amendments, all democrat amendments, all of substance that we could have agreed on but also looking
through the list here we have another four or five amendments that we could have agreed on of substance, and we will agree on. i guess -- again, i go back to the fact that the rules committee, the process is just totally out of whack. and the fact that while i don't oppose these -- one of the projects that mr. braley referred to is something that i started several years ago. and has been very, very successful as far as using soybean grease, as far as lubricants, on railroads. and it's been in practice now for several years. but it just -- the frustration i have we couldn't have substantive amendments made in order, and we have five democrat amendments put in here of substance while we were denied that option i think is extremely unfair and really
brings shame upon in body and the process that should be in place for all of our constituents to have their representatives here to decide and vote on amendments which would be of importance to their districts and to the members' constituents. i just, again, express my total frustration with the rules committee. i don't blame the chairman at all, but it's just the process has totally fallen apart. with that i will recognize, i think, the gentleman from georgia for two minutes. i don't know if he wants to speak on the amendment, but i'll recognize him. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. broun: i thank the gentleman for yielding. mr. speaker, i come before you today to protest this restrictive process. mr. speaker, i have submitted a handful of very simple, straightforward and commonsense amendments to this body. this arbitrary process of choosing which amendments are allowed to be considered on the
floor is unworthy of this institution and has damaged the democratic process. is the majority leadership so afraid of making their members vote against such commonsense measures as cutting this bill by half a percent that they wouldn't even allow debate? i also submitted an amendment that would have prohibited any money in this bill to be spent on bike paths. mr. speaker, maintaining bike paths is clearly not a function of the federal government and especially in these tough economic times in an era of large deficits. this is not an appropriate use of federal funds of the taxpayers dollars. at a time when our federal government is hemorrhaging money and selling bonds to foreign countries like china just to be able to keep the lights on, building bike paths is certainly a frivolous expense that should be cut out of this bill. unfortunately, this amendment was not allowed to be debated. the distinguished chairman of the appropriations committee
has made it known that he's conducting the appropriations process in this restrictive manner in the interest of time. but, mr. speaker, an argument -- that argument does not make any sense. the constitution has mandated this body with a finite number of basic responsibilities. chief among those is allocating federal dollars. if we cannot spend more than one hour debating appropriation bills that alindicates hundreds of billions of dollars, then i would suggest that our priorities, one that deserves times on this very floor, are misplaced. i urge my colleagues to vote no on this legislation and for the majority party to return the legislative process back to regular order. with that, mr. speaker, i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: mr. chairman, i yield to the gentleman from illinois, mr. hare, for unanimous consent request. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for a unanimous consent request. mr. hare: thank you, mr. chairman.
i ask unanimous consent to insert a statement on amendment number 3 offered by mr. -- by mr. latham into the congressional record. the chair: without objection. mr. hare: thank you. the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: could i inquire how much time there is? the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts has 3 1/2 and the gentleman from iowa has two. mr. olver: mr. chairman, i yield one minute to the gentleman from tennessee, mr. cohen. the chair: the gentleman from tennessee is recognized for one minute. mr. cohen: thank you, mr. speaker. and i appreciate mr. olver giving me this time. i'd like to speak in favor of the manager's amendment. this is a very important bill of putting america back to work and working in our infrastructure and transportation systems that are so important to america's economic vitality and growth but also rail transportation is important. and rail is important in many ways, both in a commercial way and in a passenger way. this particular manager's
amendment puts an additional $3 million into the federal railroad administration's research and development account. it's certainly the hope of many members that this will allow for studies of high speed rail, one which will go from little rock to memphis, and other studies so we can have more high speed rail and less use of automobiles and make passenger traffic more available to more people at a more reasonable cost. and i thank -- i yield back the balance of my time and hope we pass this amendment. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from iowa. mr. latham: i thank the -- i'll reserve. i don't know if the gentleman has additional speakers. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from massachusetts has the right to close. mr. olver: i have no additional speakers. the chair: the gentleman from iowa. mr. latham: i thank the gentleman. again, i just want to reiterate, these are good substantive amendments, all have merit. the frustration i have is that we -- they are all five democrat amendments.
never even an opportunity and there will be several more republican amendments here that will -- we'll probably agree on. it's the frustration i have with the process and it's very concerning to me. so with that i will support the gentleman's amendment and yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: i, mr. chairman, i believe this is a good amendment and i would ask for its passage. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from massachusetts. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it the amendment is agreed to. it is now in order to consider amendment number 2 printed in part a of house report 111-219. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas, mr. hensarling, rise? mr. hensarling: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment.
the clerk: amendment number 2 printed in part a of house report 111-219 offered by mr. hensarling of texas. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 669, the gentleman from texas, mr. hensarling, and a member opposed, each will control 10 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. hensarling: spending is out of control in the nation's capital. already this democratic -controlled congress has spent $1.1 trillion on a government stimulus plan costing every american household $9,810. that included $100 million for an after-school snack program, $10 million for urban canals, and the list goes on. this democratic majority in congress has also passed an omnibus bill costing $410 billion, weighing in at roughly $3,500 per american household. that one included $150,000 for lobster research in maine and
$143,000 to develop and expand a comprehensive online encyclopedia. and now we know once again after the president's press conference last evening he and the democrats in congress will go forward on a government-controlled health care plan that even the congressional budget office, appointed by democrats, says will cost a minimum of $1 trillion. again, costing every american household roughly $9,000. and what do we have for all this, mr. chairman? what do we have? we now have the single largest federal deficit that we've ever had in our nation's history. it crossed $1 trillion mark. you know, there was a time not too long ago we always talked in terms of billions and now it's trillions rolling off the tips of our tongue. the federal debt, the federal debt under this spending program will triple, triple in the next 10 years. this congress is on a
trajectory to create more debt in the next 10 years than in the previous 220. we're borrowing 46 cents on the dollar mainly from the chinese and sending the bill to our children and grandchildren. and, mr. chairman, it is crushing not only the next generation, it's crushing job growth. since the president has come into office an additional 2.6 million americans have lost their jobs. at 9.5%, we're looking at the largest unemployment that we've seen in a quarter of a century. you know, enough is enough. and so i want to take up the president on a challenge that he issued to congress just a couple of months ago. he said, quote, if we're going to rebuild our economy on a solid foundation, we need to change the way we do business in washington. we need to spend money wisely. the president went on to say, that starts with the painstaking work of examining every program, every
entitlement, every dollar of government spending and asking ourselves, is this program really essential, are the taxpayers getting their money's worth? unquote. those are the words of our president, mr. chairman, and so today i just want to focus on one program, one program out of an estimated 10,000 programs. it's called hope vi. well, according to o.m.b., and you can go to their website, this is a program that's already accomplished their original objective. according to o.m.b., quote, hope vi has contributed to the dem lakes of severely distressed public housing units, unquote. . now, since achieving its original objective, o.m.b. says the program is more costly than other programs that serve the population. the program has accomplished its stated mission. furthermore, i'm told, and i
hope the distinguished chairman can shed some light on this the program is sitting on almost $1 billion of unexpended balances. we're shoveling more money their way, mr. chairman, they can't even spend the money we already have. it is time for us to lead by example, terminate one program and quit borrowing money from the chinese and sending the bill to our children and grandchildren. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts. for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts rise in mr. olver: mr. chairman, i will yield three minutes -- the chair: does the gentleman from massachusetts rise in opposition to the amendment. mr. olver: i seek time in opposition to the legislation. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. olver: i rise in opposition to the amendment. the hope vi program was launched in 1992 to allow for the replacement of affordable
housing that had been determined to be -- that had deteriorated and been determined to be uninhabitable. the annual appropriations for about 10 years after that point for $500 million per year or thereabouts. during that time, 25 to 30 applications were awarded each year and some of those programs went forward very expeditiously and some of them did not go forward as expeditiously. but in the last five years, at least, we've -- under the previous administration, each year the administration attempted to rescind the appropriation that had been made the previous year and then zero out the program for the year that we were appropriating for. attempting not just to cripple but to terminate the program. congress refused and many
communities, because many communities still had projects for the program system of we still had five or six projects per year because the appropriation was for several years, for at least five year, was frozen around $100 million or thereabouts per year. now, it is my understanding, at least that typically programs, projects that have been forwarded money under the program of hope vi took from three to seven years and it would be used to complete. some took longer, and during the single past year, we have been able to get the department of housing and urban development to spend special time, special effort, through technical assistance and working with the organizations that had the applications in to
go back and make certain that those that had been awarded in 2002 and 2003 were moving forward. they've made some serious progress on that. there is still need for this program. i would like at this point to yield time to the gentleman from massachusetts who is the chairman of the authorizing committee because so great is the need that the authorizing committee has been working on that. i yield two minutes to the gentleman from massachusetts. the chair: how much time was yielded? mr. olver: two minutes. mr. franks: i can say on a bipartisan basis over the years -- mr. frank: i can say on the bipartisan basis over the years, we have had this program.
there's a catch-22 here. if program money is spent too rapidly and then spent inefficiently, there is criticism. what's happened with hope vi is that in response to some legitimate criticism, some controls were imposed to slow things down this money ultimately gets spent but gets spent in a way that is less likely to be abused. there's -- it's also the case, there's a you lose either way argument made against public housing. often the criticism is that public housing warehouses people in large projects that do not have the capacity to provide a decent living environment. hope vi is an effort to preserve the units, because we do have a shortfall for family public housing in many parts of the country, not in all, but by redoing the projects, remove the stigma that's attached.
if you get rid of the hope vi program, you then abandon the notion that you are going to go to existing public housing and try to make it more livable, less concentrated. that's not an easy thing to do. we have been working on ways to improve that, to bring in other services to coordinate how you do it. but somebody shut the program off, -- but to shut the program off, is, i think to say, inappropriately, the residents didn't build it, the society did, it would say, we are abandoning the effort to improve the livability of where you are and make them more vulnerable to criticism and build opposition to the notion when the alternative is to make the living conditions better for the people and the surrounding communities. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from texas. the gentleman has one minute remaining, the gentleman from
massachusetts has the option of closing. mr. hensarling: again, the president of the united states says, start the painstaking work of examining every program. mr. chairman, we have a program that number one has achieved its mission. number two, it is now effective. number three, it is duplicative of another program. number four, it has at least five years of appropriations in the pipeline. number five, we are looking at the single largest deficit in the entire history of the united states of america. we have the largest unemployment rate in 25 years. i mean, mr. chairman, you know, out of 10,000 federal programs, if you won't terminate one to quit borrowing money from the chinese and sending the bill to our children and grandchildren
if you won't terminate this program, i mean, please, which one will you? which one will you? is there ever a point where you say, enough debt is enough? is there ever a point where you finally conclude that the best housing program in america is a job in let's create the jobs, let's not destroy the jobs. i urge adoption of the amendment. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: the house re-authorized legislation for hope vi and thored the first year of that $750 million. the work of hope vi is not done. that represents how much the demand is on the part of the membership of the house. what i would say is that this work needs to continue and there is much need for affordable housing in this country, the hope vi program is
not duplicated by anything else i know of, i urge that the amendment be defeated. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from texas, mr. hensarling. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. mr. hensarling: i request a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment will be postponed. it is now in order to consider amendment number three printed in house report 111-129. for what purpose does the gentleman from iowa rise? mr. lay them: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number three, printed in house report 111-129, offered by mr. latham of iowa. the chair: the chair recognizes the gentleman from iowa. mr. latham: this is a simple amendment. i seek to bring the funding
level for high speed rail back down to the president's request of $1 billion and strike the transfer authority for the national infrastructure bank. when the stimulus bill was announced by the president and the democrat leadership, we were told that the plan was to provide $8 billion for high speed rail in the stimulus and another $1 billion a year for the next five years. my amendment meets the president's goals and his plans. we are just now embarking on this high speed rail initiative. the stimulus funds are still in the treasury, they haven't been spent, and there's little reason to dump another $3 billion on top of an unspent $8 billion since the committee hasn't even had time to do any oversight at all in this area. i know the chairman's going to reference that there's pent up demand for high speed rail and he'll mention $100 billion in grant application.
are we really ready to embark on a $100 billion endeavor on top of the million, billion, and trillion dollar endeavors already under consideration? we don't even know if those grant applications have feasibility at all. second, this amendment would strike the transfer to the national infrastructure bank. the administration requestsed -- requested $5 million for a bank in their budget's qusm but it didn't include any authorizing language at all. i know there's a few bills out there that would authorize this and those proposals should be considered in regular -- in the regular authorizing process. however, there is no bank today. there is no authorized bank in which to put this money into. i'm not opposed to the bank idea, but i believe we should know what the activities and programs we are paying f up
front. the bill before us gives authority to transfer $2 billion to the bank on october 1, 2010. should the bank ever be authorized by that date. now, october 1, 2010 is actually in the 2011 fiscal year and this committee will have the opportunity to consider funding that bank within the budget priorities for fiscal year 2011 under that 2011 allocation. there is absolutely no reason to do that now. i did have an amendment to transfer the $3 billion to the highway trust fund, but the rules committee was probably too worried the amendment may pass. however, without the transfer, is still a good amendment. cutting an extra, unrequested $3 billion from this account still meets the president's request. his commitment.
and it would give me good reason to support this otherwise pretty good bill. i urge me adoption of my amendment and again, i just want to make sure people know that this is $3 billion on top of the $1 billion the president requested, $2 billion of which is set aside, people talk about this money going to high speed rail, it's not going to go there. this is set aside in a fund basically to be held so that just in case this infrastructure bank is authorized, the money will go there. this has nothing to do with high speed rail. it has everything to do with making this a bill that people can support. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts rise? mr. olsper -- mr. olver: i claim time in -- mr. olver: i claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized.
mr. olver: i want to say that this high speed rail, the combined high speed and intercity passenger rill, that is the most important transportation initiative since the eisenhower interstate highway system, the national defense highway system of 50 years ago which took a generation, basically, to build. it's not going to happen quickly. it's going to take a period of time. there's no question. but it is the most important initiative. there is pent up demand. there is a huge demand. the first preapplication period for this bill brought in $100 billion of applications for $8 billion that had been placed in. if we do not add significantly to that, as this bill does do, by adding $4 billion to the $8 billion that's already there, then people will lose faith or wonder, are we in this seriously?
are we going to do high speed and intercity passenger rail as has been proposed and put forward in the recovery bill earlier, or aren't we intending to do that? i think we must keep this momentum going. or if we lose it, then that would be a very bad thing to have happen. there are applications for more than 40 states in the union, totaling $100 billion. those, some of those, are going to be in construction. later this year or early next year. the actual final applications are due for the smaller projects within a month, and within two months after that, they are supposed to be in award. so they are expected to be providing jobs next year. so i think this is a very appropriate way to keep our momentum going toward passenger and inner city rail, high speed
and inner city passenger rail. and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves his time. the gentleman from iowa. does the gentleman from iowa seek time? mr. latham: i'll reserve at this time. the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: how much time is left now? the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts has three minutes remaining. the gentleman from iowa has 1 1/2 minutes remaining. the gentleman from massachusetts has the right to close. mr. olver: i'll yield 1 1/2 minutes to the gentlewoman from florida, ms. brown, the chairwoman of the subcommittee on rail. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. brown: thank you, mr. speaker. today i rise to encourage my colleagues to vote no on this amendment that will cut funds for high speed and passenger rail funding. just one week ago, the department of transportation announced that it received $27 -- 278 preapplications for high speed and passenger rail funds
totaling $202 billion. one totaled $35 billion. the south and southeastern states, $44 million, totaling $66 billion. the northwestern states submitted 47 applications totaling $13 billion. and the western states had applications totaling $38 billion. clearly there is an increased demand for high speed rail for the future and transportation in america. it will provide more efficient travel, increase u.s. jobs, reduce carbon emissions from all transportation sources, increase economic competitiveness and reduce the dependence on foreign oil, improve the freight lines will also provide more effective freight service. but the $8 billion provided in the american recovery act is just the beginning. i urge my colleagues to vote no on this amendment. thank you. the chair: the gentlewoman yields back the balance of her
time. the gentleman from iowa. mr. latham: i'll reserve. the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: and what time is now left? the chair: the gentleman has 90 seconds left. mr. olver: i yield 1 1/4 minutes to the gentlelady from connecticut, ms. delauro. the chair: the gentlelady is recognized. ms. delauro: i rise in opposition for this amendment. it decreases high speed rail funding. we need to look to improve our way of life, create jobs, force long-term economic growth which we can go through an infrastructure bank, which is an independent entity, would consider a broad range of infrastructure projects objectively, leverage hundreds of billions of dollars in private capital to put toward rebuilding america. this is not a partisan issue. this past week a bipartisan national governors association
endorsed the concept of an infrastructure bank by resolution. the u.s. chamber of commerce, labor groups strongly support this effort. president bush's transportation secretary, mary peters, said there are upwards of $4 billion in private capital available through pension funds, sovereign wealth funds to invest in our nation's infrastructure. we need to harness the power of that private capital in a smart way and in an effective way in order for us to remain competitive in the 21st century. i urge my colleagues to reject this amendment. i yield back. the speaker pro tempore: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from iowa. mr. latham: i thank -- the chair: the gentlelady yields back the balance of her time. the gentleman from iowa. mr. latham: i thank the chairman. i have to say i'm a little bit confused. first, they say it's a cut to high speed rail, and then the last speaker got up and said, no, that money is not for high speed rail. it's for some program that hasn't even been authorized
yet. i'm not sure where we are at here because we talk about spending the money two or three times. i'd suggest to the gentlewoman from connecticut that there is no authorized bank. and by the language in this bill, that -- those dollars could not be transferred until the next fiscal year which means that we'll have the whole next year's cycle if this bank is authorized, if that money's needed, we can do that next year. but to have this money sit in a slush fund, basically, and do nothing, and everyone knows it's not going to go out the door. and the gentleman from massachusetts knows, my chairman, who i love dearly, but he knows that i made the statement in committee. i'm not against high speed rail. as a matter of fact, i made the statement on two different owe cases that i think the $787 billion of stimulus money could have actually been well spent and we could have a national high speed rail system and
actually accomplish something if we spent all that money in the stimulus just on high speed rail. we would have the eisenhower interstate pro jkt. i'm not against it, -- project. i'm not against it, but to have this money sit here, do nothing when we have a critical issue as far as the highway trust fund that needs funding immediately is simply wrong. let's save this money, let's make this bill acceptable to a lot more people who could support it on a bipartisan basis. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. latham: and i yield back. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: as the gentleman understands, the $4 billion is available in this fiscal year for which we are appropriating only for high speed rail. and the hope that it will remain there, i urge the defeat of the amendment so that we will keep the momentum up and keep the building, the development of high speed rail moving forward as fast as possible. the chair: the gentleman's time
has expired. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from iowa. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the no, sir have it. the amendment is not agreed to. mr. latham: mr. chairman, on that i request a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings offered by -- on the amendment offered by the gentleman from iowa will be postponed. it is now in order to consider amendment number four offered by -- offered in part a of house report 111-219. for what purpose does the gentleman from north carolina rise? mr. mchenry: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment the clerk: amendment number 4 printed in part c of house report 111-219 offered by mr. mchenry of north carolina. the chair: the gentleman from north carolina. mr. mchenry: i think it's important that these matters be brought before the house. mr. chairman, at a time when
congress is burning through unprecedented amounts of taxpayer dollars, oversight and accountability are of greatest importance. we need to know who's getting the money and what it's being used for. as of the end of june, this congress has already spent $2.6 trillion, and we're on pace to have a $1.8 trillion deficit this year, the largest in our nation's history. the american people know we're spending a lot of money in washington. whether they like it or not is another question. but we need to make sure we're getting value for our dollar. amtrak has recently benefited from this unprecedented funding by taking in $1.3 billion from the so-called stimulus bill in addition to their annual appropriations of $1.4 billion. this makes it all the more troubling to find out that in the course of conducting his oversight activities, amtrak's former inspector general, fred
whitterholder was being misinformed and deceived by lawyers and bureaucrats in his agency in an effort to track down stimulus money. and the same day that a report came out highlighting the ways in which amtrak officials were interfering with his job, mr. chairman, the inspector general unexpectedly resigned. this raises many questions about the sudden departure of a career official, particularly where there's political pressure from the current administration for him to step down. the oversight and government reform committee, of which i am a member, is launching an investigation into this matter which occurred last month. and i look forward to seeing what comes out of this investigation. the reason why i bring it before the house is so that members know about what's happening with inspectors general across the government. however, it doesn't happen with
the amtrak inspector general. his resignation is one of what seems a larger pattern of inspector general purges throughout the bralks. gerald walton, the longtime inspect general which oversees americorps was fired in june after the investigation of misuse of grant funds. turned up some disturbing information. judith ginn, the acting inspector general for the international trade commission was fired last month. could he incidentally, right after senator grassley of iowa expressed concerns to a letter of the ber national trade commission to -- in a letter to international trade commission chairwoman about the potential agency obstruction of ms. ginn's investigation of contractor -- gwynn's investigation of contractors. and neil about a ross key has expressed -- barofsky has
expressed concern that the department had legal authority over his office. we need to make sure that we have proper oversight and accountability of the funds that we're spending in this government. the american people deserve comprehensive around-the-clock oversight of spending. that's why we have inspector generals. the administration's pattern of undermining and removing oversight when it becomes politically inconvenient makes this all more important to be brought to the attention of the house. and the reason why i rise today is under these limited rules we have on appropriations bills, it's very difficult to bring issues before the whole house. and so that's why i speak today to make sure that we have inspectors general throughout the government, not just in an amtrak, that are able to do their job without political interference, without any administration or any outside forces. so that's why i rise today to make sure that i have this opportunity to bring it before
the house of representatives and its members. the chair: does the gentleman reserve his time? mr. mchenry: mr. speaker, i ask unanimous consent to withdraw my amendment. the chair: without objection, the amendment is withdrawn. it is now in order to consider amendment number 5 printed in part a of house report 111-219. for what purpose does the gentleman from illinois rise? mr. schock: thank you, mr. chairman. i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 5 printed in part a of house report 111-219 offered by mr. schock of illinois. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 669, the gentleman from illinois, mr. schock, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from illinois. mr. schock: thank you, mr. chairman. i'd yield myself such time as i may consume. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. schock: our country continues to see a significant increase in foreclosures which were up 18% this january over last. those figures continue to rise
the first quarter of 2009 with an additional 616,000 homeowners filing foreclosures. over 25,000 of those foreclosures were in my home state of illinois alone. and now the percentage of subprime loans and foreclosure has for the first time ever eclipsed 14%. we've all heard about these ridiculous loans, ballooninged a jurtible rates, and from-only mortgages which never provide homeownership. these vehicles of financial ruin usually have only one possible result for the homeowner, foreclosure. and while it will be much more too simplistic to place the became for the housing crisis at the feet of these irresponsible loans, they are certainly the chief culprits. and while many programs have been enacted to help individuals who have fallen victim to these deceptive practices, little has been done to ensure these -- that this crisis does not happen again, that future homeowners are not lured by the same irresponsible
mortgages. it is time we take some preventive action to make certain homeowners have access to professionals which will assist them in understanding what they are getting into and hopefully not only delinquency but ultimately foreclosure. the amendment i am offering today is a simple transfer of funds, yet will go to great lengths to ensure that the american people have access to additional necessary resources before purchasing a home. >> will the gentleman yield? mr. schock: i will. mr. olver: i thank the gentleman for yielding. i think the gentleman has found a very appropriate amendment. it takes a small amount of money from a very large program to put into a program that we have supported and i have supported strongly. perfectly willing to accept the gentleman's amendment. mr. schock: very good. >> will the gentleman yield? mr. schock: yes. mr. latham: i'll join the chairman. we'll be glad to accept the
amendment. mr. schock: with that i would yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. does anybody seek time in opposition? no member seeks time in opposition, the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from illinois, mr. schock. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. it is now in order to consider amendment number six printed in part a of house report 111-219. for what purpose does the gentleman from louisiana rise? mr. cao: i have an amendment at the desk. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk -- the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment number six printed in part a of house report 111-219 offered by mr. cao. the chair: the chair recognizes the gentleman from louisiana. mr. cao: i rise in support of amendment number six to the appropriations bill.
i thank chairman olver and ranking member latham for their assistance. this will require the neighborhood reinvestment corporation to report to congress on a quarterly rather than a biannual basis to mitigate mortgage defaults. given the concerns over the state of housing and financial markets and the outlay of taxpayer dollar, it's imperative we pass this amendment to strengthen congressional oversight of the agency. i'm not criticizing the good work neighbor works has done, in fact, i appreciate their work, including the hoops for homes partnership with the new orleans hornets. however, given the size of the corporation and the scope of its financial work, it should report to congress more frequently to help us understand and facilitate its efforts.
the constitution allows congress to delegate its power of the purse as it pleases. however, we must do so with care and deliberation, no matter how well meaning the project. congress needs to be balanced in its commitment to repairing the housing markets. just as we are keeping close watch over the expenditure of taxpayer funds in bailout money we need to keep the same watch over federal programs. i encourage a yes vote on this amendment and i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: does the gentleman reserve his time? mr. cao: i reserve se gentleman from -- i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: does the gentleman seek time in opposition? mr. olver: i claim time in opposition, i'm not opposed. mr. obey: behr also pleased with the gentleman's amendment and are willing to accept it and yield back.
mr. cao: i yield back. mr. olver: i yield back. the chair: the question son the amendment offered by the gentleman from louisiana. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it, the amendment is agreed to. it is now in order to consider amendment number 7 printed in part a of house report 111-219. for what purpose does the gentleman rise? mr. frelinghuysen: i have an amendment at the desk. k40eu7 the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment number seven, offered by mr. frelinghuysen of new jersey. the chair: the chair recognizes the gentleman from new jersey. mr. free lynn hughesen: i rise today to -- mr. frelinghuysen: i rise today to offer an amendment along
with my colleagues, mr. holt and mr. lance of new jersey and mr. engel of new york. it would require that the f.a.a. restrict the use of funding for implementation of the new york-new jersey-philadelphia metropolitan area air space redesign until they pay attention to the noise. the f.a.a. never adequately addressed the issue of aircraft noise, despite repeated congressional requests and statutory requirements to do so. not only for our part of the country, but across the nation, as we've heard from various colloquies today. there were 13 law students seeking to block this redesign because of noise and other environmental concerns. members of congress have proposed several study this is
a sought to find other solutions to improve the airspace. clearly there is support for putting -- the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. frelinghuysen: i yield myself another 30 seconds. members of congress proposed several studies to improve the airspace, clearly there's support for putting this redesign on hold. mr. speaker, despite the fact that appropriations bills over many years have directed the f.a.a. to address the issue of aircraft noise, the f.a.a. has turned a deaf ear to this issue. maybe they will hear us this time. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves who claims time in opposition. mr. olver: i claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. olver: mr. chairman, the amendment offered prohibits the implementation of the new york air space design which f.a.a. has worked on now for about 10
queers and it would appear from the gentleman's language that it is on the basis of airport noise, not overhead noise but rather the ground noise. well, airplanes nowadays, each new sequence of irpes is quieter than they were in the past at all levels and more efficient at all levels, whether they're plying high or low or on the ground, than had been previously the case. but that is only one point here. we have -- many parts of this country have completed the redesign of the air space in their regions over the last several years. all over the country. why is that important? it's important because the national airspace is now
carrying 750 million passengers per year and is expected to be increasing by 50% between 2025. today already, 40% of all flight delays in the national airspace system are part of the new york area flights, both incoming and outgoing, which then causes backups all over the country. we know we're approaching gridlock in our air traffic control system which is based on ground based sight by radar system that is half a century old. really old technology. we know we need to switch to a network-satellite-based system much more quickly than the present estimate of the year 2025. to do that, we must finish airspace redesign all over the nation, but particularly, because of the congestion, the
extensive congestion in the new york area, particularly in the new york area. so the space design and modern satellite based traffic control allows planes to fly close e-- closer together, higher up on a direct path, save energy in the process, run quietly because they can stay higher longer and be on the ground less than previously was the case. the added capacity is absolutely necessary and will finally reduce delays in this most congested area by allowing the redesign benefits accrue from environmental purposes, reducing emissions, benefits are provided to the controllers because the new technology increases the flexibility in routing and helps balance their workload. this amendment would delay the
removal of congestion. it would prolong the use of outdated, inefficient technology. it would put noise reduction that is in the design process at bay and it would delay the safe expansion of our air traffic travel capacity. we have to move on in this 21st century and develop the fully new technology. this amendment should be defeated. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman from new jersey. mr. frelinghuysen: i'm pleased to yield a minute to my colleague, mr. holt of new jersey. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. holt: i thank mr. frelinghuysen for yielding time to me. i appreciate what the chairman has done in this bill and i commend him for it. i'm not opposed to redesign of our air space but i'm opposed to the current redesign plan. they completed the redesign
without consulting key stake holders, including the air traffic controllers. the f.a.a. changed what's known as the dispersal head frgs newark and philadelphia airports despite insufficient testing and failure to train pilots and controllers. this led to planes steering off course and near collisions this would strike the funding for continuing the new york-new jersey-philadelphia metropolitan air space design to allow time for the f.a.a. and others to work together to develop a comprehensive, multilateral approach to the system. funding this project, going ahead as it is, is putting the safety of our constituents at risk, not dealing properly with noise, or the efficiency of air travel. i urge my colleagues to support this amendment. the chair: does the gentleman reserve his time?
mr. frelinghuysen: i yield one minute to mr. engel of new york. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. engel: i rise in strong support of the amendment. this plan was jammed down our throats with zero input from the residents it harms the most. it would put an additional 200 to 400 flights a day over my constituents in new york with lots of overhead noise and the f.a.a. won't tell us how much. they tried to do it without any public hear, they tried to sneak it, they have been a bad player and acted in bad faith. there was no notification to myself or other elected firms whose districts are affected. the residents have not had ample opportunities to have their concerns and comments heard. landing at newark airport, right over my communities, is totally unacceptable. the noise level will be increased and f.a.a. doesn't tell us how much. i have let president obama,
secretary lahood and f.a.a. administrator babbitt know i'm totally opposed to this and i comment the gentleman from new jersey for this amendment this plan must be defeated, it's not going to serve anyone, certainly not our country. the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: i yield one and a half minutes to the gentleman from illinois, mr. costello who is the chairman of the aviation subcommittee of transportation and -- the chair: the gentleman is recognized for one and a half minutes. mr. costello: i rise in opposition to the amendment offered by my friend from new jersey. the amendment would prevent the f.a.a. profunding the implementation of the new york-new jersey-philadelphia metropolitan area air space redesign. the f.a.a.'s air space redesign efforts will pay a critical near-term role in enhancing capacity, reducing delays, transitioning to more flexible
routing and saving money for air space users and fuel cost. after nine years of evaluation and a cost of over $53 million to the taxpayers, the f.a.a. announced it would have a new structure for the major airports and some regiol airports serving the new york-new jersey-philadelphia area. this rippled through the aviation system and cause delays throughout our air space system. the f.a.a. did extensive analysis and held more than 120 public meetings in five states throughout the environmental process. delayed benefits are estimated to reach 20% by the year 2011, compared to the amount of delays the air traffic system would have with without the changes. according to the f.a.a., half a million fewer people will be exposed to noise under this plan, compared to no change at all. the g.a.o. issued a report on
the air space redesign and concluded the f.a.a.'s methodology to assess impacts was reasonable. we must not delay this redesign project. we must modernize our airspace and move forward. the chair: the gentleman from new jersey. mr. frelinghuysen: in closing, let me thank chairman olver and mr. latham, the ranking member, for a good bill. we're just trying to perfect it. let me say to mr. costello, i thank him for his leadership on these issues, i got the $3553 billion through the appropriations process and you would think they could at least recognize the high incidence of aircraft noise over new york and new jersey. this is a wakeup call to the f.a.a. and we're not the only states where redesign is about to happen. i do think people on the ground have a right to let the f.a.a. know as they proceed with their redesign plans that aircraft
noise does affect the quality of life for americans all around the nation and mr. chairman, i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from new jersey. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the amendment is not agreed to. mr. free ling hughesen: i reques a roll call. the speaker: frurt proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from new jersey will be postponed. cl it is now in order to consider amendment number 8 printed in part a of house report 111-219. for what purpose does the gentlewoman from tennessee rise? mrs. blackburn: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 8 printed in part a of house report 111-219 offered by mrs. blackburn of tennessee. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 669, the gentlewoman from tennessee, mrs. blackburn, and a member opposed, each will
control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentlelady from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: as i've said so often this year i rise in defense of the american taxpayer. and once again we find ourselves on the floor considering still more federal spending. that spending hasn't brought back the millions of lost jobs our constituents are still asking, where are the jobs? and as my colleagues have promised me, they're going to continue to ask that question. it hasn't promoted the economic growth that is so desperately needed. what it has done, it has produced a deficit that will likely top $2 trillion this year. it has contributed to the largest federal debt this nation has ever known. that is the debt that my grandchildren will have to pay in missed opportunities and needless sacrifices. mr. chairman, my amendment applies a 5% cut to this appropriations bill. that is a 5% cut to programs whose spending has increased by
146% over the last three years. that's 146% over the last three years. that is a 5% cut to programs that have already gotten $62 billion this year from the stimulus. mr. chairman, i will shortly yield my time, but before i do, let me preview what i am sure my distinguished colleague will say in objecting to my amendment. he's likely to suggest that across-the-board cuts are bad because they do all the careful bipartisan work that is necessary to produce a good bill. and we know that everyone works hard on this legislation. we appreciate that. but we know there is more work that can be done in perfecting these bills. he'll tell us that this bill has made tough choices already this year, and respect flee, i
disagree -- respectfully, i disagree. how many hard choices have we made as a body when we've seen spending more than $14 billion than was spent last year? my esteemed colleagues may go through a litany of vital programs that will be destroyed by a 5% across-the-board cut. what my colleagues don't mention is that a 5% cut would allow each of the programs to still grow by 11% from last year's funding. and probably what we will hear is that this committee isn't really spending that much more if you don't count the stimulus spending. now, all of these are things we heard this year during these 5% debates. but, mr. chairman, i will say i do count that stimulus spending. i count every penny we're spending because indeed it is my grandchildren who are someday going to have to pay this money back. and with that i reserve the
balance of my time. the chair: the gentlewoman reserves the balance of her time. who claims time in opposition? mr. olver: mr. chairman, i claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. olver: mr. chairman, the gentlewoman from tennessee is quite correct, i will claim that an across-the-board cut is the worse possible way that one can do this sort of thing. in my opening remarks, i pointed out that the -- in the opening statement i pointed out that this legislation has some $47 billion of appropriation for housing programs. and that it's above the president's request in that area because we are trying to fill the gap for what has happened over the last eight years of cuts in so many of the housing investment programs.
and let me just give you an example of this. one of the points i made in the opening was that one of the things we were particularly trying to do in the very good housing parts of this program -- of this legislation was to support full nerble populations. and so at -- in replacement of several years, five years in a row, in elder housing and in disabled housing, in tenant and project-based assistance, in our p.h.a.'s major programs, we didn't always allow the cuts that the administration had applied and had requested. we usually in fact didn't do that because people in here are concerned about what's going on in the matter of people's lives. however, the cuts were made,
and i would just point out, if you go back and -- to the year 2001 and use a 1%, a 1% per year inflationary factor to each of those housing program investments that we -- that we would make, those -- that would bring you to a point $1.5 billion above where the present legislation proposes in this bill. so what i'm saying there is that an across-the-board cut of the sort that's been suggested by the gentlewoman from tennessee simply cuts those places that we particularly wanted to put money into in order to fill the gap that has been growing over a period of years. and it's the wrong thing to do.
it would hurt our elders. it would hurt our people who are in affordable housing, either the tenant or the project-based systems. it would cut hope vi. it would cut the program for housing for people with aids, the elder and disabled housing cdbg. all of those were programs that were deliberately reduced year after year or recommendations made for reduction and in fact over time had been reduced substantially compared with the 2001 appropriation. so this has particularly bad effects on those programs, particularly the housing programs that have been well funded in the bill that we have before us. i yield -- i retain the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman
reserves the balance of his time. the gentlelady from tennessee. mrs. blackburn: thank you, mr. chairman. i will simply point out that we have to realize this is taxpayer money, not government money. and what we are hearing from the taxpayers of this great nation is that spending is out of control. $1 trillion deficit is too much. a federal debt that is at record levels is too much spending. and taxpayers are telling us, they are tired of us spending money on programs they don't want. and as one of my constituents has said that we are spending money she hasn't made on programs that she doesn't want. and they are right to speak out to us about this. i will also point out that our states, which function under balanced budget amendments, are great labs of experiment. and experimentation in federal state budgeting. our states make across-the-board cuts. in making an across-the-board cut in appropriations in this
bill you will still have 11% growth in these programs. and that is significant because in the last three years, as i said, this funding has increased 146%. you have programs in this program, in this bill that receive $62 billion additional through the stimulus, and a 5% cut would save the american taxpayer $3.44 billion. that would be the savings that is there. we all know as we budget at the federal level we use baseline budgeting. and a good thing about making across-the-board cuts is it helps reset that baseline. and what we have seen with our federal budget as we have had the additional spending with our stimulus, with these additional appropriations is those numbers are rising. and, yes, indeed, the taxpayers are reminding us they are going through the roof, and they're
tired of that. they want the spending, the out-of-control spending to stop. every year taxpayers sit down and they write out their check to uncle sam. and when they send that check in, they know they're delaying their priorities. i urge support of the amendment. the chair: the gentlelady's time has expired. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: i'll just reiterate, while i am not in favor of cutting the bill that we have put forward, i think it is a good bill, that this is by far the worse way you could possibly do that. and i would urge the defeat of the amendment. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentlelady from tennessee. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the amendment is not agreed to. mrs. blackburn: i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentlelady from tennessee will be postponed. it is now in order to consider amendment number 9 printed in
part a of house report 111-219. for what purpose does the gentleman from indiana rise? mr. burton: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 9 printed in part a of house report 111-219 offered by mr. burton of indiana. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 669, the gentleman from indiana, mr. burton, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from indiana. mr. burton: first of all, i want to thank the rules committee for making this amendment in order. i don't think it's controversial. i hope my colleague agrees with that. back in the summer of 2007, amtrak was trying to get more passengers on their luxury line, and so they decided they would give people a $100 coupon to get free alcohol on the trip. it was a way to try to encourage ridership. well, unfortunately, that didn't work. and one year later the grand lux line on amtrak shut down and they no longer use the $100 incentive by giving people $100
worth of alcohol to ride the train. what my amendment does is very simply says that will not be included in any future amtrak legislation, that we will no longer be giving free alcohol as an incentive for people to ride the train. with all of the rail accidents we've had lately, it's probably a good darn idea. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. does the gentleman from -- mr. olver: i claim the time in opposition, though i am not opposed to it. the chair: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. olver: and will not oppose it. mr. latham: will the gentleman yield? mr. olver: i will. mr. latham: i support the amendment also. appreciate it. mr. burton: well, thank you very much. you know, i learned a thing a long time ago. when you have things going your way you shut up. i yield back the balance of my time. mr. olver: i yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from indiana.
those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. it is now in order to consider amendment number 10 printed in part a of house report 111-219. for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio rise? mr. jordan: mr. speaker, i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 10 printed in part a of house report 111-219 offered by mr. jordan of ohio. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 669, the gentleman from ohio, mr. jordan, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from ohio. mr. jordan: thank you, mr. speaker. let me first say i appreciate the work of the chairman and our ranking member, but what i also appreciate is the fact that last week for the first time in american history our deficit reached $1 trillion. and we are not through the fiscal year yet. and some estimates that estimate that this could go as high as $2 trillion. so what i bring before the body today is a very straightforward amendment. it says, let's take that first
step in trying to get our fiscal house in order. let's take that what i would call modest first step, let's go back to where we were just 9 1/2 months ago, before the stimulus, before the omnibus, before all this ridiculous spending got ahold of congress, let's go to where we were just 9 1/2 months ago and let's live on that amount of money in this appropriations bill. after all, there are all kinds of families, all kinds of small business owners, all kinds of american tax pars who are -- taxpayers who are doing just that. now, like in the amendment a little while ago that my colleague from tennessee offered, i'm sure that the gentleman from massachusetts will be opposed to this one and will stand up and say, well, we can't have this cut. again, remember, this is not a cut. this is taking us back to where we were less than a year ago before we have done the stimulus and the omnibus
spending. and as i indicated, exactly where a lot of families, maybe more importantly, a lot of small business owners are functioning right now. and with that, mr. speaker, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves his time. does the gentleman from massachusetts claim time in opposition? mr. olver: i claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. olver: well, it sounds so simple. only 9 1/2 months ago. but in fact, of course, that -- the funding level that has been proposed here would take the -- this bill back to the appropriation -- the appropriated level for the fiscal year 2008. we're talking about the year 2010. we're talking about a year starting several months from now and going forward a year where he's talking about 9 1/2 months ago being the end of that fiscal year, the end of the 2008 fiscal year, and that was funding the year prior to that. .
it is taking a step backward two years in the funding level. as everybody knows, while we have had a bad economy, the inflation level is relatively low, that's true. but this kind of a funding level, taking $20 billion out of this appropriation then has the effect of cutting a huge number of programs by an average of 16% for the next fiscal year. it is an unsustainable number for the kinds of efforts that one needs to do in housing, as i've indicated. there is growth in this, i agree. there is growth in this bill and on the transportation side, the major point of growth is in the high-speed rail program.
the high-speed rail program is putting forward money that actually will extend out over a series of years. it doesn't happen all in the first year by any means at all. we all know that. it creates jobs over a period of time in the building of that infrastructure. and in the case of the housing, those, again, if one tries to cut the housing program, it's particularly bad for vulnerable populations. and we should not do that. i oppose the amendment and reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from ohio. mr. jordan: how bad does it have to get? do we have to get to the $2 trillion, $3 trillion? how high and how bad does it have to get before we can simply say this, let's just hold the line, let's just quit making the problem worse? how bad does it have to get before every single family has
had to do in their point of their lives, how bad does it have to get before we take the first step, again that modest first step? over the next 10 years, the federal debt is going to go to $23 trillion. think about what it takes to pay that off. you first have to balance the budget and run a $23 trillion surplus for 23 straight years and doesn't count the interest which is approaching $1 billion a day. i offered a balanced budget. a few months ago we offered a budget. and our budget didn't balance until the last year, the 10th year of the window and we were viewed as radical. i talk to folks in our district and they say, jordan, big sissy, what are you doing taking five, 10 years. that's the perspective the american people and yet in
washington, we continue to spend and spend and can't even take that simple, modest first step and say, you know what? let's just live on what we were living on nine months ago and start to get our fiscal house in order and what the american people have to do all the time. that's all this amendment does. i i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: there is no direction in the amendment itself. it merely says cut the total expenditure by $20 billion which is 1/6 of the total of the legislation. if one were to do that by 1/6 of the appropriation for affordable housing, our project-based systems, we would be putting 400,000 families -- yes, it's bad, but it's those low-income
families who are in the worst shape and needy shape of all. i don't want to do that. i don't want to see that happen and i hope the majority will not want to see that happen. and let me just close by urging a no vote on this amendment. it is a slash and burn kind of an amendment. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from ohio. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the nos have it and the amendment is not agreed to. mr. jordan: i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from ohio will be postponed. it is now in order to consider amendment number 11 printed in part a of house report 11-219. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? mr. neugebauer: i have an amendment at the desk. the clerk: amendment number 11 printed in part a of house
report 111-219 offered by mr. neugebauer of texas. the chair: the chair recognizes the gentleman from texas. mr. neugebauer: thank you, mr. chairman. i rise today on a simple mission to help get some of the taxpayers' money back. we passed the historic spending bill back in february saddling our children and grandchildren with mountains of debt. we were told these would go out to timely projects referred to as shovel-ready. guess what? according to the white house's own website recovery.gov, 11 projects have been awarded by the department of transportation so far, just 11 projects. so we rushed out to spend 20 -plus billion dollars and told we can't wait until we get to the appropriations process, but we have to spend this money right now so we can create the
jobs. and let me tell you how this recovery.gov website is. there were excessive amounts of stimulus spending. there was an error made by the operators of recovery.gov. they couldn't enter the contract correctly on the website, which is supposed to be the model for our government transparency. just one more example of how flawed this recovery process has been, mr. chairman. one of the things that astounds me is we said we had to go out and spend all of this money and going to create jobs. well, the question is, where are the jobs, mr. chairman? what we have seen since we passed this recovery package is people have lost their jobs. mr. chairman, today 14 million people are out of work, 9.5% of americans don't have a job. and now, you know what we are
helping them do. we know you are having a hard time. you know what? we're going to pile up mounds and mounds and mounds of debt so that your children and grandchildren will have to work 25 hours a day just to pay the debt. mr. chairman, what this simple amendment does is, it says, you know what? we were wrong. we thought we could spend this $21 billion and needed to get it out immediately. we found out we can't, so we will give that money back, $13 billion. let me tell you the logic of this bill. we said we had to get this $21 billion to be spent and what we know is now that 13 projects and less than $1 billion of contracts have been awarded. we're going to say you all did just a bad job of not spending the $21 billion, we're going to reward you and give you another
$21 billion of the taxpayers' money. and by the way, mr. chairman, $21 billion we don't have. $21 billion we don't have. so we will have to do is not only go give them another $21 billion, but we will have to borrow $21 billion from china or japan or some other country. it doesn't make sense to keep going down this path. mr. chairman, we have to stop that. and i reserve my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. who claims time in opposition? mr. olver: i claim time in opposition. the chair: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. olver: mr. chairman, this amendment is $13 billion, therefore compared with what i called slash and burn, this is slash and burn a little bit less than the previous one. but generally it has exactly -- there are no directions as to how one might do it.
and left with the question of what kinds of impact this one might have. and i would point out that it would have an impact of -- now, not 16%, but only 11%, 12% cut, i guess it would be, on all of our transit programs, the public transportation programs that we fund. and move people around as sufficient ways as they possibly can. it would have an effect upon all of our air traffic safety programs, all of the effort that we have to make our airports and our -- and make our air traffic controller system function appropriately. all of those things come from this kind of an amendment. this would take us back to a
freeze of the 2009 levels, not the 2008 levels, which is what the previous one, but a freeze at the 2009 levels. and i oppose the amendment. i urge a defeat of the amendment. the chair: the gentleman reserves? the gentleman from texas. mr. neugebauer: i disagree with the gentleman. what we're stopping from happening here is what we call in texas double dipping, because we gave them $21 billion for some of these same programs, just less than six months ago. they've only spent 11% of it. what we're saying is we're going to cut out the monkey business is what we're going to do and not allow them to double dip and give that money back to the american people. they aren't going to spend this $21 billion probably in the next fiscal year. 11% since the inception of this bill. so we're not cutting anything,
we're saying, you are having trouble spending the first $21 billion, we want this $21 billion back. if you want to come back in another appropriation bill, we'll allow you to do that. but the problem is we are accumluating this huge debt. our national debt is $11.7 trillion, that is $37,000 forever american. in the next few months, i'm going to get a third grandchild and i'm going to give that grandchild a present and write a letter that says, your grand daddy is here to inform you that on your birthday you owe $37,000 right out of the chute. the american people are fed up. we can't allow these government agencies to double dip and they are not spending the american taxpayers' money wisely and not creating jobs and sick of it and fed up. if you want to make a mark in
this congress, give the american people their money back and with that, i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time.. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: how much time do i have? the chair: 3 1/2 minutes. mr. olver: the gentleman has just made an argument and continues to make an argument about the level of debt. you know, in 1980 when president carter left office, the national debt of the country was about $1 trillion. twelf years later, the debt of the country had reached $4 trillion, it had quadrupled in those 12 years. in the following eight years, that went up again by another $
1,400,000. by the end of president clinton's term, the debt had gone up 1/3 more, just slightly more than 1/3 more. then during the presidency of the previous president, we saw the debt go fl $5.4 trillion to $10.5 trillion as he left office, so then it went up almost double in just an eight-year period. now there's concern after we have been in more than a year now of a recession, the first five quarters of which were clearly in the previous administration with the housing crisis, with a recession that had started, a deep recession, with severe losses of jobs throughout the last year.
they're continuing. this is a deep recession. but we shouldn't be putting our most vulnerable people through this action. this is the wrong action to take. and we will grow out of this over time. i urge the defeat of this amendment. mr. neugebauer: will the gentleman yield? mr. olver: i will not yield. mr. neugebauer: i have an answer to your question. the deficit that this administration is going to run is going to eclipse the first 43 presidents of this. the chair: the gentleman yields back. the question is on the amendment offered by mr. neugebauer. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the nos have it and the amendment is not agreed to. pursuant to clause 6, rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from texas, mr. neugebauer will be postponed. it is now in order to consider amendment number 12 printed in part a of house report 111-219,
for what purpose does the gentleman from florida, mr. stearns rise. mr. stearns: amendment at the desk. the clerk: amendment number 12 print nd house report 111-219 offered by mr. stearns of florida. the chair: the gentleman from florida, mr. stearns and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from florida. . mr. stearns: mr. chairman, thank you very much. my amendment, like mr. neugebauer, is pretty straightforward. it freezes the funding at last year's level. with unemployment rising, it's not responsible to drastically increase spending by almost $14 billion, and this represents a 25% increase over our current levels. this funding obviously does not even include the $62 billion
that came from the stimulus act. so if the stimulus act funding is taken into account, even with the 25% redux i'm pro -- reduction i'm proposing, they would receive an increase of $48 billion over last year. that's, of course, with the stimulus package. think about this. you have this bill, you have the stimulus package which adds additional money. so in a sense we're asking to freeze the spending level at 2009 fiscal year level. you know, when you take and look at all of the appropriations spending combined, funding for programs within this bill will increased 146% since the democrats took over in the year 2007. this level of spending is simply unsustainable in the light of the nation's growing deficits and the debt. now, my colleagues, there's a lot of good programs in this bill that i strongly support, but increasing all these programs by 25% at a time when
we're drowning in debt and experiencing the worse economic crisis in decades is simply unwise. for example, discretionary spending for the department of transportation is increased by $4.5 billion or 27%, including a 25% increase for the office of the secretary and a whooping $1,3 -- 1384% for the federal railroad administration. the department of housing and urban development also receives an increase of $1.6 billion or 3% and discretionary spending including a 100% funding increase for the hope vi program. colleagues, the hope vi program, president obama proposed that program to eliminate it. so approving this huge increase without doing with the budget disaster looming on the horizon is only going to magnify the problems across this country. families across my district and across the country are having trouble, they're tightening their belts during these tough
economic times. they don't have the luxury of an unlimited government credit card that allows them to simply throw borrowed money at every single problem they face. instead, they have to set priorities and make tough spending decisions. i don't think it's tough to ask congress to do the same thing. i say for my colleagues on that side, is your employees getting a 25% incess over last year? i don't think so. this congress and president obama continues to ignore the fact that this reckless spending will bury our children and grandchildren under a mountain of debt. in a report of the congressional budget office, they warned that excessive spending proposed by this administration and the democrat leadership in congress, such as contained in this bill as a good example will drive the department of g.d.p. ratio from 41% to a staggering 71%. we're just doubling the national debt in five years. so we must hold the line, attempt to hold the line on
spending and make sound budgetary choices that are sustainable and do not rely on borrowing. there is plenty of blame to go around. right now we have an opportunity to stand up. i think this is a good amendment. we should start forward by simply passing my amendment and saying that we can hold the line here and keep the spending under control. i urge my colleagues to support this, and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from massachusetts rise? mr. olver: i rise in opposition to the amendment. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. olver: i thank the gentleman for his amendment. the gentleman's amendment is actually slash and burn sort of squared essentially because it puts the whole pressure of the reduction. it's not as large a dollar reduction but it's all focused deliberately and directly upon
discretionary expenditure. and, of course, when the gentleman points out that he's strongly in favor of a lot of the programs here, i'm sure that there are few of those programs that are discretionary programs. perhaps not all of them, though i suspect that there are a fair number of programs that he's -- that he doesn't particularly like that are mandatory programs as well. so, again, we have here a very large cut in the budget that is proposed by taking 25% out of the discretionary programs, and the arguments would only be repetitious. and i don't mean to take people's time. so i will reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from florida. mr. stearns: mr. chairman, how
much time do i have? the chair: the gentleman from florida has one minute. mr. stearns: ok. i would say to my colleague from western massachusetts, the beautiful country up in, you have in this bill, and there's a 25% increase for the office of secretary. i would ask my colleagues, are his constituents getting a 25% raise in western massachusetts, you know, running from springfield, deerfield, across from hatfield over to amherst, i don't think they're getting a 25% increase. if you look at the railroad administration, they have a whooping increase. does he support a 25% increase for the office of secretary and does he support a whooping 1,384% for the federal railroad administration? i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from massachusetts. mr. olver: we have in this legislation, and in the
recovery act earlier this year, we have added enormous additional responsibilities to both secretary of transportation, our good former colleague, very popular former colleague, now secretary ray lahood. in order to administer those properly and do what they are told to do under the recovery act, to get all of those moneys out and moving, for instance, they have gotten some 300 applications, thereabouts, for the high speed rail moneys, the high speed rail and inner city passenger rail programs. you've got to have people to look at those programs, to assess them, to decide which ones are the better ones, to move the paperwork so we will be able to actually have those projects out where they're going to get people to work as quickly as it's possible to do. the same thing is true for the
federal rail administration. the secretary's office has certain key responsibilities added to his. it is not nearly as much as the increase of responsibilities that have been given to the federal rail administration, which is really where the first monitoring and the first assessment and grading of all of the projects that have come in. it's an enormous program that is there, but it is part of what was expected to have to happen in order to make the high speed rail and inner city passenger rail programs work. so i have no apology whatsoever for additional administrative assistance for making those things happen. if we hadn't done that, we would have been killing the programs before they could get even started, and that was not the purpose of the american recovery act in the first place.
again, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from florida has 15 seconds. mr. stearns: mr. chairman, i think the gentleman hasn't answered the question of why a 1,384% for the federal railroad administration. and why he's increasing 100% funding for the hope vi funding where the president of the united states said he would oppose to -- propose to eliminate. the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts has 90 seconds. mr. olver: well, i will simply say on that one, that the president actually proposed a totally new program which had not been authorized at the $250 million level. we instead decided because it was not authorized that we would leave it to authorization
and it was somewhat similar. it was in some ways expansion of the hope vi program, and alteration of the hope vi program he would say quite significant alteration of that program. $450 million program. instead, we put that money that he had requested into the hope vi which we had in this chamber, perhaps without the gentleman's vote, we had re-authorized last fall but hadn't been acted upon by the senate. it will be begin acted upon by the house later this year, and there will be a re-authorization, i guess, within this year for the hope vi program, and that's where the money has been placed. the chair: does the gentleman yield back? mr. olver: i have the right to close but i may not have any time. the chair: mr. stearns' time has expired. mr. olver: i'll yield back. the chair: the gentleman from florida's time has expired. mr. olver: i yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from florida. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the amendment is not agreed to. mr. stearns: i ask for a
recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from florida will be postponed it is now in order to consider amendment number 13 printed in house report 111-219. for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio rise? mr. turner: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 13 printed in part a of house report 111-2 offered by mr. turner of ohio. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 669, the gentleman from ohio, mr. turner, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from ohio. mr. turner: thank you, mr. chairman. this amendment is a pro-veteran amendment that would prohibit h.u.d. funds from going toward enforcing regulations against a veterans preference in h.u.d. financed housing that is built on a v.a. campus or is using a v.a. enhanced use lease. this issue came to light in the third district of ohio because of a conflict between h.u.d. rules and regulations and v.a.
rules and regulations. in dayton, ohio, the st. mary's neighborhood development corporation has been attempting for several years to construct senior housing on the campus of the dayton v.a. medical center. st. mary's was able to obtain an enhanced use lease from the v.a. to construct the housing on the dayton v.a. campus. they were also able to obtain h.u.d. section 202 funding that would allow for the financing of the construction for low-income senior housing. so we have v.a. providing the land, h.u.d. providing funding, both v.a. and h.u.d. agreeing that this would be an excellent project to help us respond to homeless veterans, to provide low-income housing for veterans and also to respond to the needs of seniors in the community. however, h.u.d. has previously asserted that st. mary's may not be able to use these critical dollars if the v.a. lease requires a specific preference for veterans to occupy the proposed facility on the v.a. grounds. h.u.d. has prohibited a
preference given to veterans housing in this facility on the dayton v.a. campus. the v.a. rules and regulations require that the v.a. assert and request a preference for that housing to be built on their campus. this amendment seeks to solve this issue by prohibiting funds in the bill to allow h.u.d. to enforce their restriction against a preference for veterans. this is good for seniors, and this is good for veterans. i reserve the balance of my time. the air: the gentleman reserves his time. who claims time in opposition? mr. olver: mr. chairman, i claim time in opposition, though i am not opposed. the chair: without objection, the gentleman is recognized. mr. latham: will the gentleman yield? i support this amendment also. mr. turner: i accept their -- the chair: does the gentleman yield back? mr. turner: yes. i appreciate their support. mr. olver: i yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from ohio. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair,
the ayes have it. the amendment is agreed to. it is now in order to consider amendment number 14 printed in part a of house report 111-219. for what purpose does the gentleman from new york, mr. rangel, rise? mr. rangel: mr. speaker, i rise in support of the amendment which the -- the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment -- does the gentleman have an amendment at the desk? the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 14 printed in part a of house report 111-219 offered by mr. rangel of new york. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 669, the gentleman from new york, mr. rangel, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from new york. mr. rangel: i rise in support of this amendment. what it actually does is prohibit the implementation of the public housing community service requirement that those people that live in public housing are required to put in a certain number of public
service requirements. nowhere do we have where people who find themselves in public housing have to be mandated to do certain hours of volunteer work. indeed, there's no funds available to enforce this mandate. the housing authority in the city of new york and other housing authorities around the country think this is a worthless addition and vindictive and put into the bill. it does not require section 8 and other people who are recipients of public housing to do this. . we have been successful in having it in reviewing. it is not effective and not working and an insult to people
who donated so much to their country and community who find themselves in need of housing subsidy to be mandated more or less to provide public service when those people who are able to do volunteer work are doing it anyway. so i reserve the balance of my time. and i hope that i -- the chair: who claims time in opposition? mr. latham: i claim time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. latham: thank you, mr. chairman. the purpose of the service commitment was sound at the time and it still is. residents were asked to participate in making their community better, improve the social interaction and provide services for their communities, including day care, education and after-school monitoring and facility management. no one that is unable to participate is penalized whether elderly, students, working
parents or any other of a long list of exemptions that are allowable under the law. the intent is not to make people work for their money but to ensure that people participate in keeping it safe, sanitary, affordable and a vibrant community. this is what we ask of ourselves and our neighbors. for those who do participate, flexibility is the centerpiece of the requirement. residents have great flexibility over what service is provided and when it's provided. every attempt is to ensure that the services of the parent can be made to benefit the children or the elderly citizens living in the authority. keep in mind we're only talking about eight hours a month, eight hours a month. this is not a hardship and has provided a great benefit to each housing authority where it's been actively implemented. if this requirement is removed, those services will be lost
because every indication from the housing authority leadership indicates that there are no funds to replace the services now being provided by those residents. one of the arguments i've heard is that it's hard on the p.h.a.'s to administer this program. it's ridiculous. authorities receive millions in funds each year to administer the federal requirement and if the service is lost, i don't see anyone reducing the administrative funds provided in this bill. they receive funds for federally required activities and should use them for those purposes. frankly, it's a requirement that should stay in place and no more than what we all require of ourselves and our communities. when i go home, it will be hard to explain to my voters that eight hours a month is just too great a burden to ask in order to ensure that their investment in the well-being of people and property is sustained.
and i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the ntleman from new york. mr. rangel: how much time do i have? the chair: 3 1/2 minutes. mr. rangel: i yield to the the gentleman from massachusetts for one minute. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for one minute. mr. frank: i thank the chairman of ways and means on this issue. the question is not whether or not we should be working to see public housing residents acquire the skills that will help them, but how to do it. community service requirement is a slap dash, horned in the in the breach. we have in the bill that we voted in committee today by a large vote, bipartisan vote the reform of the voucher system which both republic cans -- includes the moving towards work program, which is a balanced way to do this and provides funding
for it. and those who administer public housing want to help people do this. but imposing them to make them work and mandate whether every public housing resident is doing eight hours of leaf raking and snow shoveling, it advances nothing. we will do this the right way and this is the wrong way according to everyone who has been involved in a serious way with it. thchair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from iowa. mr. latham: i would yield two minutes to the the gentleman from ohio. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for two minutes. mr. latourette: i thank mr. latham for yielding and i rise in opposition to this amendment. i was glad to hear the chairman of the financial services committee address this issue because i was on that committee and this debate has lasted for hours. i'm glad he's moving new
legislation, but i would note that two of the co-sponsors of this amendment, the full committee chairman and subcommittee chairman in charge of this particular issue and if there is a problem with the service rerequirement, i hope he will fix it. on march 31 of this year we passed the edward m. kennedy serve america act. the president believes in community service. i assume anyone who voted for the act believes in community service. i know i did. and we are going to encourage community service. as mr. latham indicated, this is two hours a week, eight hours a month. and i would accept the argument that some have made on the other side that this is taking a slap at people who are in a position to require public assistance for housing. but i would suggest that when we are just bailing everybody out, when we give billions of dollars to people on wall street over my objection for horrible business decisions in the subprime market and securityization of
mortgages, when we have given billions to car executives who now find themselves to be bankrupt and bailed out people who purchased homes they had no business purchasing because they could never afford it based upon their means, i would suggest we go in the direction not of moving this requirement but put community service on the wall street bankers, the executives that run chrysler, let's put it on people who pushed this debt. mr. frank: what's preventing you from doing it? why haven't you? mr. latourette: since the majority resumed this 111th congress, almost every rule that has come to the floor -- mr. frank: the gentleman offered a resolution to the committee i chair and passed it out unanimously. the gentleman knows he has had a fair hearing in our committee.
the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. mr. latourette: may i have 15 seconds. the chair: 30 seconds left. mr. latourette: i appreciate the gentleman and i praise the gentleman on the floor for voting that resolution out 63-0. the zished majority leader of the house has yet to schedule that bill for activity on the floor. framping frank he wouldn't be in charge of the other one. come to me about wall street and we'll make a deal. mr. latourette: done. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from new york. mr. rangel: i yield a minute to the gentleman from massachusetts. the chair: the gentleman from massachusetts is recognized. mr. capuano: this isn't about community service. that is something you sign up for. you are told this is what you will do because you are getting something from the government. if that's what you do, i like the idea of little children who are getting free lunches, let's
get them to work and the senior citizens in senior housing, let's get them to work. and let's not get the farmers who get agricultural subsidies. let's get them to work. not ask them, not encourage them, let's demand it and let's do it on the basis of how much they earn. if you are talking about poor people in public housing, first of all, i wouldn't vote for eight hours a month, eight hours a year, or eight minutes in a year. it is indent you ared servitude no matter how you slice it. america was built on that. most of the ancestors of the people in this room were servants, 2/3 of the people in america. it's wrong. champlete the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from new york.
mr. rangel: am i closing now? the chair: time has expired. you have 1 1/2 minutes left. mr. rangel: i say this to my republican friends that i sincerely wish we had a better balance of parties in this house and in this country. i sincerely wish that the things we were debating would not be the rich against the poor, but what we could do collectively to make this a stronger country, better educated, better health care, things we can do to secure us. it would seem to me that when issues like this come up, that america can bet your life that the minority party, if it concerns the poor, if it concerns people that need some people, if it concerns health, if it concerns education, we can almost depend that they will be walking lock stop in opposition. some of the reasons they give it
would appear to be merit tore youse. but why is it we always find the opposing party wanting to punish and show that they have no compassion for those americans who are less fortunate than themselves. i do hope that we can find some middle ground, not just to punish the wall street activates, which clearly that's wrorl, but that we can find something to offer the republican party and get ready -- rid of this terrible stigma they have somehow thrust on them. if it means compassion and understanding, means giving a hand out, we can depend on their support. the chair: all time has expired. the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from new york, mr. rangel. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of
the chair, the ayes have it. the amendment is goode to. it is now in order to consider amendments printed in part b. for what purpose does the gentleman from arizona rise? mr. flake: i have an amendment at the desk designated as number one. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number one printed in part b in house report 1111-2219 of mr. flake of arizona. the chair: mr. flake and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from arizona. mr. flake: i thank the chairman. this amendment would prohibit 500,000 from going to the grand forks international airport in grand forks, north dakota and reduce the amount of the bill by the same amount. this is money going to an airport terminal. yet we're told that funds that
are being ear marked from this airport improvement program, this is a widely used competitive grant program that others can apply for grants from, but the competitive grant program stipulates that the funds can't be used for terminals or terminal improvements. so the biggest question here i guess is why in the world we are designating money in this account or from this account that is an account for competitive grants to be received by applicants, why we are designating it as an earmark to an airport terminal that falls outside the funds of this account. i reserve the balance of my time and i hope the sponsor can illuminate on that. the chair: who claims time in opposition. the gentleman from north dakota
is recognized. mr. pomeroy: i thank the speaker and salute my colleague, mr. flake, for once again his vigor in trying to raise questions relative to spending. certainly these are public assets we're talking about and it's a fine thing to have discussion in the full light of day here in the house of representatives for each and every line item including $500,000 issue that has been raised relative to the grand forks airport terminal. . i as a representative of grand forks apple proud to give the details relative to what is an extremely important project for north dakota. the airport improvement moneys in north dakota typically run through the north dakota aeronautics commission. i would admit into the record a
letter from the north dakota aeronautics commission relative to their support of this project as the first priority. the chair: the gentleman's request will be considered under general leave. mr. pomeroy: thank you. mr. flake has raised a question in terms of what airport improvement money raised is used for terminals. most of it isn't. some of it is. i have a chart here that shows about 12%, nearly 13% is used for terminals. and i would wager that every member of the chamber has some evidence of airport improvement grant money being used for terminals. now, why would we use it for terminals when principally its direction is elsewhere? because each of -- each of us has encountered in our districts situations where the terminals frankly get beyond repair and must be attended to
on a priority basis for the needs of the general public. the conditions of this airport are truly deeply problematic. they involve issues of safety. under the present layout of the airport terminal relative to the tower, a line of sight is actually blocked by virtue of how they are forced to use the terminal. believe it or not, the grand forks international airport is the 22nd busiest airport in the country. you think, how can that possibly be? we are proud to host the university of north dakota pilot training program under the john oda guard school, one of the truly elite pilot training programs in the country. an enrollment of well over 1,000 students. they place a tremendous traffic burden on what otherwise would be a small airport facility. so safety issues really matter,
especially considering the fact that you got a lot of inexperienced pilots doing their training at this particular facility. we have issues of public safety. severe inundation of basement areas resulting in everything from mold to threatened mechanical equipment. for a major substantial facility, these are pitiful problems for a facility that desperately needs to be addressed. we have security issues. by the t.s.a. screening equipment linked to equipment in this basement area. we have 88 code deficiencies. one might ask, well, geez, is it cheaper to build a new terminal? a major renovation triggers addressing all of the 88 deficiencies in the building. that involves a massive amount of money.
the aeronautics commission, not my judgment, the aeronautics commission believed it was essential to address in this fashion. passenger load this year up 11% over 2008. it's an airport that continues to grow. it is a facility that needs to be done. so i think, mr. -- so i thank mr. flake, my friend, giving me a chance to address the aspects of it. i'm stand here to prepare any questions he might have. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from arizona. mr. flake: i thank the chair and i thank the gentleman for his explanation. i hope the reason the airport is so busy is so many people from north dakota is coming to arizona in the wintertime, at least. unfortunately they go back in the summertime. i'm not questioning the need for renovations at the terminal. the research that we did, we found, they said the terminal has serious mold problems and
other things. that is not what is at question here. the question is, and we have this question with virtually every appropriation bill that we now deal with is that we appropriate money to the various agencies and we'll instruct them to establish a competitive grant program to distribute the moneys to recipients. and then folks at home will decide that they want to apply for these funds. but increasingly over the past couple of decades, and i'm not blaming democrats. republicans are just as guilty at this. but we have earmarked those accounts that we told the agencies to establish. and in this particular case, this earmark is taken from an account that is supposed to be competitively offered, and grants are to be awarded on the
basis of merit. but what happens, and we talked about this a few weeks ago with another big grant program. this one with regard to flood control districts in the homeland security bill. the problem is the folks at home in all of our districts want to apply for these moneys. and when they apply for these moneys, they find that sometimes half of them or 75% or all of the moneys in that account are gone because particular members, largely on the appropriations committee or other powerful members, have taken -- have gotten earmarks to take those funds before anybody can apply for them. now, i would submit that if we don't like the way the agencies are distributing this money, let's change it. let's not grant them that money. let's do it differently. but let's not set up a competitive grant program, an account, an agency or instruct them to and then sir qum vent it -- circumvent it ourselves.
and we see it all too much of. and that's an example of here. and i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from north dakota. mr. pomeroy: the gentleman has stated his case well. he's shooting at the wrong target this time. i'm not going to stand here and say every dollar through the appropriations process is perfectly directed. nothing is perfect. i believe that the steps that we have made, certainly with some of the -- to address some of the concerns raised by my friend from arizona have helped bring transparency to this process, where all of this business is conducted in the full light of day. i've got a problem with the appropriation issue. it's not nearly big enough. we sought $200 million. so now here we are on the floor of the house of representatives, the middle of a very -- the chair: the gentleman's time has expired.
the gentleman from arizona. mr. flake: i thank the chair. may i inquire of the time remaining? the chair: 90 seconds. mr. flake: i thank the chair. i don't think the appropriations process, you can never have a perfect process wherever you go. but i would submit when you have literally thousands and thousands and thousands of congressional earmarks, many of which are earmarking programs that we have instructed the agencies, earmarking moneys that we've instructed them to establish a competitive grant program for, then we have a problem. and if we don't like the way the agencies do it, let's change that. we control it because we control the purse. but let's not run a parallel program that turns into really a spoil system. and with that i urge adoption of the amendment and yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from arizona. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the amendment is not agreed to. mr. flake: on that, mr.
chairman, i would ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from arizona will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from arizona rise? mr. flake: mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk designated as number 4 of part b. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 4 printed in part b of house report 111-219 offered by mr. flake of arizona. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 669, the gentleman from arizona, mr. flake, and a member opposed, each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from arizona. mr. flake: i thank the chair. this amendment would prohibit a quarter of a million dollars in funding for the murphy theater community center, incorporated, for building renovation and reduce the cost of the bill by a commensurate amount. according to the website, fund would be go to the complete renovation of the murphy theater. it is a focal point of downtown wilmington, ohio. it's 90 years old. it's now in need of major
rehabilitation. according to the murphy theater website, the theater was built by the chicago cubs owner charles webb murphy in 1918. when he built the murphy, he owned his downdown -- his hometown, it says. mr. murphy has his name painted on the rear wall, enough to be seen from the railroad tracks. when they question the viability of the theater, mr. murphy was quoted as saying, dan, it's not an investment. it's a monument. this sounds like a great theater. i think many districts across this country, many towns have something similar. the question here is should federal moneys, should federal taxpayer moneys, should the taxpayers in the state of washington or wisconsin or arizona or alaska or elsewhere be sending their hard-earned tax dollars to washington to be earmarked to renovate a theater in ohio? and with that i reserve the
balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. for what purpose does the gentleman from ohio izz stand? >> mr. chairman, i rise to seek time in opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. latourette: i thank you, mr. chairman. i want to yield to my good friend and colleague, the gentleman from dayton, ohio, mr. turner. the chair: how much time? mr. latourette: i yield until he's done talking. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. turner: i thank you, mr. latourette. i appreciate you yielding time to me. mr. speaker, wilmington, ohio, is in my congressional district and it's seen a number of challenges over recent years. of course we were all across the country experiencing the economic downturn, but specifically in wilmington, ohio, they are experiencing the closure of d.h.l.'s north american hub, which was located there. the closure of d.h.l.'s operations will result in the loss of approximately 8,000 jobs, mainly in clinton and
highland counties, in my district. as a result, the ohio delegation has sought increased federal assistance to help the community as they recover from this economic emergency. the ohio delegation has been successful in acquiring federal dollars to help retrain former d.h.l. employees and also help to create an economic development plan to commute -- to move the community forward with possession of the wilmington air park. i have sought additional funding for projects which are needed in their special economic circumstances. the 91-year-old murphy theater in wilmington, ohio, is both a local landmark and it hosts major events. it was placed on the national register in 1982. the -- and the murphy theater soon became the actual as well as the symbolic heart of the downtown. the murphy even hosted a john philip souza concert. it hosts an average of 35
events a year, serving approximately 6,000 adults and 4,000 children. funding for this project will provide critical infrastructure assistance to ensure the viability of this local landmark. in additioning to air conditioning and heating replacement, the murphy theater needs roof repair, new seating and laster repairs from damages sustained by a leaky roof. willington doesn't have the funds to -- wilmington doesn't have the funds to do this. this funding request is vital to protect the historic treasure and to meet local demand as a community center for entertainment and town activities. without objection, mr. speaker, i'd like to submit for the record copies of letters in support of the project from the mayor of wilmington, randy riley, a clinton county commissioner, and donnie, the -- the chair: statements are covered under general leave. mr. turner: mr. speaker, this amendment by mr. flake will not save one federal dime.
only this community will lose increased -- important funding to support a local landmark while they recover from the loss of over 8,000 jobs. with that i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from arizona. mr. latourette: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from ohio reserves. the gentleman from arizona. mr. flake: i thank the gentleman for that explanation. it sounds like a wonderful theater. as i mentioned, i think we all have them in our districts. my own hometown of mesa a few years ago decided to construct a theater, and it was a hard-fought process to get the local residents to tax themselves to build this particular theater. that's as it should be. if the community feels that it needs a theater and needs to renovate a theater, i think it falls on the local residents to decide because they are the ones, frankly, that benefit from that.
but we can't have a policy at the federal level where we renovate every theater across the country, particularly where we're running a deficit that could hit $2 trillion this year. how many theaters out there in need of repair? how many districts are experiencing high unemployment? i can tell you mine is. all of them out there are. and at some point i think we have to decide that perhaps we can't fully fund this account which is for economic development initiatives. now, i won't make the case at all that this -- that this theater doesn't fall within the purview of this program. there is nothing that could possibly not fall under the purview of economic development initiatives. whenever you spend money anywhere, there is some economic benefit. if only fleeting. and so it fits well within the program but i think it behooves us now to say, you know, maybe we ought to forego that, maybe we ought to decide we ought to change the 301-b's and 302-a's
and all the numbers, and so we do save money on this. and so we do actually spend less this year than we did last year, perhaps, because we're spending it elsewhere. we cannot continue to spend money as we're spending money, and i would submit this is a good place to start to say let's not fund some of these renovations of theaters under the guise of economic development that clearly anything could fall under. . we just can't decide here in congress that we're go to go fund that one, fund that one, but not that one. it does president make sense to do it that way. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman yields back the balance of his time. the gentleman from ohio. mr. latourette: i thank the chair. the gentleman from arizona, his amendment in this case is misguided and it's in my mind,
exercises judgment that i hope not many people in this house agree with. mr. turner stated the case. you know, this business about the local residents taxing themselves to build a theater, the residents of wilmington don't have jobs anymore. 8,000 lost jobs. what are they supposed to tax? and also if we are supposed to be elected, each of us representing 700,000 people, what are we doing here? why don't we hand off the entire federal budget and all the decisions to the president of the united states and his functions. why do we have a legislative branch? we have the power of the purse and we are the local representatives closest to the people that get put on the ballot, the shortest term. mike turner is supposed to stand up for the people of wilmington.
and the biggest need is to renovate this theater, which he has described as the heart and soul of wilmington, ohio, which has had its guts ripped out. high school graduations take place in this theater. it is the meeting place in the center of town. and if the duly elected representative from that area says that this is a need in his district and by god, he should do it and the constitution authorizes it, i urge deet of the amendment. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from arizona. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the nos have it, the amendment is not agreed to. mr. flake: i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6, rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from arizona will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from arizona rise? mr. flake: i have an amendment 7 in part b. the clerk: amendment number 7
printed in part b in house report 111-219 order by mr. flake of arizona. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 669, the gentleman from arizona plrks flake, member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from arizona. mr. flake: i thank the chair. let me comment on the last amendment that was offered. the gentleman mentioned that members should advocate for their own district. pretty soon, if that's the only standard we had, pa rockyial interests would take over. like the debate we are having on f-22 or military base closures. virtually every member here has a military base in their district. that's why we had the military base commission take it out of the hands of members, because we simply couldn't shut down military bases when we needed to, because there is a process called log rolling, where if you
get the money for a theater in district. you won't challenge my spending and i won't challenge yours. that happens all too frequently in this place and that's why you would hope that you have enough people who say, you know, i could give money for a baseball field in my district, but by gentleladyy, that will run the deficit that we can't sustain over time. i hope you have people here who make decisions that say we can't fund every district in the country and maybe we shouldn't have an account to allow members to earmark wherever they will. this amendment would prohibit a quarter of a million of dollars going to jallyaunsa dominicana. these funds would be for a capital development of a triangle bridge which is a six-story mixed use development currently being constructed that will house for-profit businesses
and nonprofit community services. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. who claims time in opposition? the gentleman from new york is recognized. the gentleman from new york wish to be recognized? mr. rangel: judging what the attitude of the the gentleman from arizona believes is national, federal or something that we are trying to debate with him, because he has a different idea than i and other members have. i can tell you that in the great city of new york, we had immigrants come from all over the world. we have chinaatown, little italy, jewish community, but we have a place called washington heights. and in my opinion, that's where the statue of liberty should be because so many groups came there and raised their kids
there and moved to other parts, the irish, the italians, jews, catholics, but somehow the dominican republic is the last one who had its last people come to new york and america for a better way of life. unlike most ethnic groups, they didn't have a murphy theater or a place to go to, museums, they didn't have a cultural center and so it was the community that got together with the not-for-profits. they came to me and so it was the city, state and federal government saying we should ampingor a place of culture where kids can go after school where we have sports, gyms, health care and someplace where the dominicans can say in a great country and city and great community they had a place. so they brought all of these not-for-profits together and
able to raise money from the private sector. the property was given to us by the city and we were excited and hoped that would be a place that every member of congress when they have a chance to visit the great city of new york and say, show me your city and we will show you that this is the quality of beauty, of culture that we would hope that you would enjoy as we have so many other centers and museums that we would attempt to show off. i would want my country and this congress to be a part of that and that's why i proudly support this allocation for that purpose. and i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from arizona. mr. flake: i thank the chair and the sponsor of the earmark. but let me just say the problem with accounts like this, the economic development initiative, i said it's a catch-all term and it seems to act as an account
that members can simply earmark. but here's what happens with the earmarking process. we're told in very high terms about how members of congress know their districts better than those darn bureaucrats over in the agencies. and i can show you here what happens when you have that attitude. apparently only the powerful members in this body either those who are on the appropriations committee, which makes up 14% of this body, just upped 14%, or if you include chairmen and ranking minority members, that takes it up to 24%. if you look here, here's the appropriations process this year and we have all the numbers for all the bills now finishing with defense. but if you look here in virtually every case that small percentage of under 25% takes the bulk, in some cases, in some bills, up to 70% of the dollar
value of the earmarks. and so, this notion that members know their districts best, that those half-witnessed bureaucrats they don't know what they're doing, so we have to earmark these funds because they won't allocate them on the basis of merit, well, this is what occurs. this is a spoil system where the appropriations committee and other powerful members say, this is where the dollars should go. in this bill, i would commend those -- involved in this bill, 24% of the body is only taking 46% of the value of earmarks. that is the lowest total in any of the bills we have dealt with this year. next week in defense, it will be up to 58%. before we believe the rhetoric that every member has a right to represent their district, someone would have to explain why certain members get to represent their districts so
much better than other members year in and year out. again, as i said, if we don't like how the agencies distribute this money, we should tell them they have to change it. but we can't simply run a parallel program and say, all right, we're going to earmark these dollars. in this case, it sounds like a wonderful program in new york. i'm not questioning the merits of it all, but why are we doing it by earmark, why that program couldn't apply for the money and compete against those from across the country who are doing the same instead of going through a powerful member and saying, will you earmark these dollars for us? in many cases, not the case in this case, but in many cases you have competitive accounts and people will apply for a grant and not receive it on a competitive basis. those involved would say it doesn't have the merit that others do and then they'll go to their member and say, earmark
these dollars. and we have some cases, not in this bill, where the people will earmark and go around the system that we have told the agencies to create. so again, if we don't like how the agencies are doing it, let's change it. let's not run a parallel system like that. with that, i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from new york is recognized. mr. rangel: i object to the amendment and yield back. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from arizona. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the nos have it and the amendment is not agreed to. mr. flake: i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from arizona will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from arizona rise? mr. flake: amendment number 8 in part b. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 8 printed in part b printed in house report 111-219 offered by mr. flake of arizona. the chair: the gentleman from
arizona, mr. flake, and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes jaffle arizona. mr. flake: this amendment would prohibit funds for the city of jal, new mexico in renovating a vacant bill. according to the sponsor' website the building would be renovated which was the former site of a junior high. the purpose of the project is to replace roof, building, doors and electrical systems in order to attract a private buyer. the sponsor's description of the earmark says the city has a buyer in mind. louisiana energy services, which already has declined to purchase thold school due to its condition. i reserve the balance of my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. who claims time in opposition? mr. childers: i do. the chair: the gentleman from
new mexico is recognized. mr. childers: mr. speaker, i would like to thank the distinguished chairman of the appropriations subcommittee for yielding to me and working with me to invest in important projects in my congressional district. i rise today in opposition to the amendment that has been offered by my colleague from arizona. the amendment would strike an appropriation of funds from the economic development initiative at h.u.d. that i worked with my friend, the chairman of the subcommittee to secure for the community of jal, new mexico. although i'm opposed to the amendment, i'm pleased that the gentleman from arizona has decided to offer it. the fact that he can and does offer amendments like this bring the focus of the house and the nation on certain projects which is exactly why this process has integrilt and why i feel comfortable participating in it for the benefit of my constituents in places like jal, new mexico. i am happy to defend and debate the merits of this project and i
look forward to convincing majority of my colleagues that this amendment should be defeated. mr. chairman, jal, new mexico is turked into the southeast corner of my state and my congressional district. in fact, if it weren't for five miles and the grace of god, jal would be sitting in texas. it's a long way from pretty much everything, a long way from the finance committee of the state legislature in santa fe and farther from the faceless bureaucrats who staff the federal agencies in washington, d.c. and if not for jal's elected representation in congress, no one in this town would likely ever know the name of the place or that it existed at all. mr. chairman, that's my job to put jal on the map, to know the priorities and needs of communities like jal and to work to address them. if there is a problem in my district, it is my job to get to work solving it. so here's jal's problem.
the city of jal owns the burke junior high school building, which is a 40,000 square foot building that was utilized from 1968 to 1986 as the jal middle school. the building has now been vacant for a number of years and for the facility to be put to use again, the city would need to replace the building's roof, doors, windows and a complete upgrade of plumbing and electrical systems. this is what the appropriation will fund. with the renovation of the building, the city of jal hopes to attract private industry to town. having a tenant will create jobs in jal and increase the town's tax base. projects like this are exactly why the economic development initiative was legislative in the first place. and i'm proud to have sponsored this appropriation for jal. mr. chairman, i am not going to stand by and hope that some faceless bureaucrat looks kindly
on a place like jal. i know the community's needs, i know the problems. i was elected to stand up for places like jal, new mexico, not hope that someone else does. and again, i thank the gentleman from arizona for his principled and important participation in this process. i urge my colleagues to reject this amendment. i reserve the balance of my time. . the chair: the gentleman from arizona. mr. flake: i should mention, the -- this money is going to be used to renovate the building, the sponsor already has a buy for the mind, i mentioned louisiana energy service which declined to purchase the old school due to its condition. l.e.s. is a subsidiary of a global nuclear fuel company, currently holds approximately 1/4 of the world's rue yain yum
enrichment service. they're trying to create the first-ever uranium enrichment centrifuge and the hope is to renovate this facility and get this company to buy it. that's economic development, i'll grant you, certainly. but -- and then the proceeds apparently would go to the city. but that is just saying, we ought to give $400,000 to the city. this isn't going to be used for a public purpose. it's being sold off to a private company. every city in this country is hurting financially. i think we've established that. but here we have it raised again that we're not going to rely on a faceless bureaucrat, i'd forgotten the term always used, not feckless or hapless but faceless bureaucrats. it seems strange to me that we won't trust the faceless bureaucrats with money, but we
will with health care. that seems odd to me. but given that we simply, we don't like the way they're distributing money, and we believe that this money should be distributed, and i would question that, i would question the existence of this economic development initiative money we have here, we probably ought to get rid of it completely given the dire straits we are in as a government financially. but if we're going to have it, we should ensure the agencies set up program by which every jurisdiction in this country has an equal opportunity to compete, not just individual members of congress. as i explained before in particular, powerful members on the appropriations committee or those in powerful leadership positions. that's not the way to distribute taxpayer money in this regard. with that, i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman. >> i thank -- mr. teague: i
thank the gentleman for his concerns. l.e.s. is a major employer and one of the biggest employers in the area. the building and operation of the l.e.s. plant is now about a $4 billion project, so its operation and its impact extend across a few different communities in the area. it is my understanding that jal would like to attract l.e.s. to town, possibly making use of the renovated burke school. however, the renovated school would be open for use by any number of companies. this appropriation is a fine example of the community using the e.v.i. program to attract private investment. thank you, i reserve my time. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from arizona. mr. flake: how much time is remaining. the chair: the gentleman has two minutes, the gentleman from new mexico has 30 seconds. the gentleman from arizona has the right to close. mr. flake: i would say, what the website says is that the
buyer is likely to be this company, l.e.s. a subsidiary of a bigger company. that's fine. but we might as will give them the $400,000, allowing them to renovate it and purchase it, or giving the city that much, that's fine if that's what we decide to do. but this is no way to distribute these moneys, this is no way to run a program. when you have a deficit that may hit $2 trillion at this year, somewhere, at some point, at some time, this body has to say enough is enough. if we can't keep half a million dollars from going to a program like this, where are we going to start? where are we going to say, enough is enough? where are we going to say, we're going to get this deficit under control and go after entitlement spending now. if we can't do it here, where
will we do it? the chair: the gentleman from new mexico. mr. teague: i appreciate the concerns of my colleague from greas and i ask my colleagues to vote in support of jal and all small communities in new mexico. i yield back my time. the chair: the gentleman from arizona. mr. flake: i yield back. the chair: the question on the amendment offered by the gentleman from arizona. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it, the amendment is not agreed to. for what purpose -- mr. flake: i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment of the gentleman from arizona is postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman rise? mr. flake: i have an amendment at the desk. the chair: the clerk will report the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 18 offered by mr. flake of arizona.
the chair: the gentleman from arizona, mr. flake and a member opposed willeach control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from arizona. mr. flake: this will provide money for the farmer's market facility. they say it will provide added benefits to the local community. farming is an important component kentucky's economy. kentucky farmers sold nearly $5 million worth of farm products in 2007 alone. given the number of farmers' markets throughout the state, that's not too surprising. the department of agriculture website showed there are nearly 100 farmers' markets up throughout the state.
farmers markets in kentucky appear to be successful and profitable. my question is, why are we saddling the taxpayers with a bill for construction of one more farmers market? i have no doubt the farmers market in kentucky has seen a drop in business as a result of the economy. virtually every business across this country has. i also think that we could find that these earmarks do benefit the agricultural community there. that isn't in doubt. the question, again, here is, how do we choose? and why do we say, all right, we'll aid this one but not another one. and in particular, at a time like this, why are we taking money from the taxpayers and then distributing it out as we see it, rather than allowing them to keep it themselves. with that, i reserve. the chair: who claims time in opposition. >> i claim time in opposition. i would like to recognize the gentleman from kentucky, mr. whitfield. the chair: for how many minutes? >> as much time as he may
consume. mr. whitfield: i thank the gentleman for kwleeleding. i rise to, not surprisingly, oppose this amendment from the gentleman from arizona. i might say to him we all appreciate his concern and dedication and commitment to fiscal responsibility. but i would also say that even if we eliminated all earmarks of the legislative branch, it still would not make any dent at all in our deficit and debt in this country system of i would ask the gentleman and simply suggest that, let's look at more meaningful ways to deal with this issue. for example, i think most members would agree with you that the vast majority of earmarks do probably go to appropriators, rather than nonappropriators. i think many members would be willing to join you in an
effort to try to change the house rules in some way and maybe deal with that issue. i might also say that under the pay-go rules of this congress and the last congress, 110th congress, they waived pay-go rules enough times that the amount that was represented, that they waived was $450 billion. so i would ask the gentleman to join me in a resolution that i introduced yesterday to simply say that if the pay-go rules are waived, that any member of congress has a right to raise a point of order and have a vote on that waiver -- the waiving of the pay-go rules. i think those are two ways to more substantively address your concerns. as far as monroe county, kentucky, let me say this. monroe county, kentucky, is a
county of 11,000 people located in south central kentucky. it is primarily economically driven by agriculture and the textile industry, except the textile industry has closed down over the last 10 years or so. the unemployment rate in monroe county right now is 15%. the most important economic engine in monroe county is agriculture. that's why i requested, at the request of the county judge and the court and the mayor of the community coming to me and asked for $250,000 to develop this farmers exchange facility, help the economic development in that area. i might also point out that on september 16, 2008, the chairman of the house transportation and infrastructure committee, james oberstar, and u.s. delegate eleanor holmes norton presented
a $2 million e.d.a. investment check to the government of the district of columbia to help restore and upgrade the historic eastern market where farmers bring their goods and people buy and sell them. now, monroe county does not have access to high-priced lobbyists, not a lot of influence in monroe county. so when they came to me and i don't get that many earmarks, i simply felt it was the proper thing to do, to help this community overcome its high unemployment, try to stimulate the economy in a small way, to help the farmers in that area, so i would urge and request that members of -- members vote to defeat the gentleman from arizona's amendment. the chair: the gentleman from arizona. mr. flake: may i inquire as to
the time remaining. the chair: the gentleman from arizona has 4 1/2 minutes, the gentleman from alabama has one minute. mr. flake: i recall the eastern market earmark for d.c., i challenged that one as well. we shouldn't have distributed that money either. i yield a minute and a half to the gentleman from utah. the chair: the gentleman is recognized for 90 seconds. mr. chaffetz: with all due respect to my colleagues, i'm sure the people of monroe county are wonderful, beautiful people, and i wish them nothing but the best, but to suggest that $250,000 doesn't matter is what is absolutely, fundamentally wrong with this institution. we are $12 trillion in debt. we are spending $600 million a day in interest. and the people utah, the people of florida, the people of michigan should not pay to try to build up another monroe
county farmers market. i opposed a parking lot, a $750,000 for the city of provo in my district because i do not believe it's the fundamental and proper role of government to try to transfer a group of shoppers from one mall to another mall. i opposed in utah a $1 million expenditure for the shake speern festival because they wanted a new lighting system. this is what's wrong with america. we have to say no to something. if we can't say no to a farmers market, what will we say no too? -- say no to? time after time, the gentleman from arizona identified project this is a fundamentally have no federal nexus. when is this body going to take a stand and say, it's not our money, it's the people's money. and we should not be spending federal taxpayer dollars on another farmers market if it's in my district, if it's in kentucky no matter where it is. .
the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. frasm iowa. mr. latham: i yield to mr. latourette. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. latourette: i thank the gentleman and the chair. ed whitfield has been in this house since 1995 and knows his district better than anyone who has spoken on this amendment and has described the need in this area. i would suggest that if this earmark thing was such a great idea and it captured the hearts and minds of the american people and would reduce spending in any significant way, john mccain would be president of the united statesoday and we would have had a different budget resolution and different 302-b allocations. to deny a member of congress to identify districts and nime not going to say faceless bureaucrats. but i will tell you that to
basically say we're not going to spend the money. we're going to punt and not represent our people and let president obama and his team spend all the dough. it's wrong. and i urge defeat of the amendment. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from arizona. mr. flake: the gentleman from kentucky makes a wonderful point of overall spending. earmarks represent a very small portion of federal spending. the problem is as my colleague in the senate, dr. col burn calls them, the gateway drug to spending addiction. and the problem with earmarks, when you load them up in bills, you support bills for the majority and minority but you in no other case would support. take the 2005, we re-authorized the highway bill. there was $285 billion multiyear authorization.
we knew because the chairman of the appropriations committee stood up and said, we don't have the money in this bill to fund what is being authorized. we're going to run short. sure enough we ran short. we had to transfer $8 billion into that bill. and asked to transfer another $6 billion. you know why that bill passed when everybody in this body knew we were spending money we didn't have? because it had 6,300 earmarks in it and nearly every member in this body had some and knew if they didn't support it, they might get the earmarks yanked out when it went to conference. that's the problem with this body and problem with earmarks. earmarks are much greater than the sum of their parts. they force you to support bills that you in no other case would support simply because you have your earmarks in and you have to support that bill. and that's the problem here. and then year after year, we say, well, they are only a small
part and if we cut funding for this earmark, it won't cut funding for the bill, but go somewhere else, where we could if we wanted to, lower the allocation of the bill by the amount that the earmarks represent. but we don't do that, so we can use the excuse later, we can't get rid of these earmarks because it won't save any money. people aren't buying that. they have heard that song too much. we will have a deficit this year that might approach $2 trillion. we need to start somewhere. and i would suggest we start year. i yield back the balance of my time. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from arizona. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the nos have it and the amendment is not agreed to. mr. flake: i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6, rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from arizona will be postponed. for what purpose does the gentleman from arizona rise?
mr. flake: amendment number 10. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 10 printed in part b printed in house report 111-219 offered by mr. flake of arizona. the chair: the chair recognizes the gentleman from arizona. mr. flake: mr. chairman, this amendment would prohibit the use of $500,000 for the millenium technology park in new castle, pennsylvania and reduce the spending by the same amount. the money would be used to design and construct the millenium technology park on which grouped was broken in 2006. the technology park was initiated by the lawrence county economic development corporation to create, quote, new advanced job opportunities by providing small to large forward-thinking companies with pre-permitted shovel-ready sites. i reserve. the chair: who claims time in opposition? mr. altmire: i claim the time in
opposition. the chair: the gentleman is recognized. mr. altmire: i thank the gentleman from arizona to discuss a project that i'm proud of. this is on the border between ohio and pennsylvania, the service region for the project, the coverage base and development for economic opportunities span nine counties in two different states and it is in an area that has suffered gaitly with the loss of manufacturing jobs over the past several decades and in an area of the country that is trying to retool itself and gain economic activities, especially in high-tech fields, high technology manufacturing. and it is in an area where there used to be heavy manufacturing, industrial site that has been reconfigured to play the role now across nine counties of job growth. it's expected when this project is completed, it's going to
create 2,500 jobs and the money we are zrecting towards that project is in the absence of community support. we have generated $18.7 million through the state of pennsylvania and through local community sources to fund this project. this is a project that's ongoing, as the gentleman from arizona points out. it was initiated in 2006. and the $500,000 that we're talking about today specifically goes towards access roads and the federal government, as the gentleman knows, does play a role in transportation funding. that's what this bill is all about. so we're talking about a continuation of a project that initiated three years ago that is going to create 2,500 jobs that is going to serve nine counties across three states and help continue the rebirth of a region in the country that has suffered. i can think of no better way to
spend transportation money than on a project of this sort. and i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from arizona. mr. flake: again we have here, this is money going to a technology park. where in the world is the federal nexus there? why is it we are being asked as taxpayers in california, new mexico, arizona or new york to pay for a technology park to attract businesses in pennsylvania? under that kind of rubrick? why wouldn't we scatter money all over? apparently we have with the $2 trillion deficit. we can't continue to do that. they usually call new business incue baitors and what they turn out to be is earmarks. this very project received $500,000 earmark two years ago. and my bet is next year or the
year after or so, there will be another earmark for the same project, because you can never have enough business for a district. no member of congress will take the podium and say, hey, i have too much business in my district. we don't need to construct another technology park. please, no more. it's going to continue to go and go and go. but where do we stop? where do we say enough is enough? we can't continue to put out money this way. i reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves the balance of his time. the gentleman from pennsylvania. mr. altmire: i would say the funding we're talking about is transportation funding and going to build access roads. the funding for the technology park, $18.7 million has gone towards the park itself. we are talking about the transportation component of that to build the roads. before i yield to the chairman of the committee, what i will say, the gentleman holds up the
chart that talks about earmarks that go to proiptors. i'm a second term member. i'm not an appropriator or chairman of a high level committee but i was elected to represent the 4th congressional district of pennsylvania. i was elected to survey the need and do everything i can to fight for my constituents and fight for my district. and despite the fact that i'm not a chairman or on one of the exclusive committees, i was able to convince the committee to put this money in because this is good use of taxpayer funding and is going to create jobs and grow the economy in two states across nine counties and i yield the remainder of my time to chairman olver. mr. olver: i thank you for your careful defense of the job that you do as a representative there for new castle, pennsylvania. i just asked for the time
because a few moments ago, the gentleman from arizona had spoken about the distribution of earmarks and how it seems to favor certain members or committees. and i wandered over to see and i suspect and i and my ranking member are in trouble for the nature of that chart. but as a part of your argument that the gentleman mentioned that maybe the federal agencies can do a better job of distributing funding more equitably. however, one really ought to look at what has been the historical record and fairly recent historical record. in fiscal year 2007, we included no earmarks in this bill -- the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from arizona. mr. flake: may i inquire of the time remaining? the chair: 2 1/2 minutes. mr. flake: i yield 30 seconds to the gentleman.
mr. olver: i thank the gentleman. in fiscal year 2007 we included no earmarks in this bill and gave complete discretion to the secretary of transportation. remember, that was the year that the majority tipped. but we still had the president -- the previous president in place. the result of that was, the secretary of transportation distributed over $1 billion of discretionary money to five cities, to five places, five single places. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the gentleman from arizona. mr. flake: i thank the gentleman for making that point. i don't want them running my health care. if we don't like the way they're doing things, let's change it. let's not appropriate the money, frankly. this account from which these funds are drawn probably in my view should not exist. economic development initiatives?
you can fit anything in that. and it's an excuse to get money out here from congress or let's let the bureaucrats do it. if we don't like the way they do it, set up a structure and say, you have to do it my merit and if we don't like the way you distributed it, the following year and we can prove you did it on a basis that wasn't equitable, we cut the funding. it's not to say, we don't like the way you do it so we set up a system of which the appropriators take 46% when they represent only 24% of the body and higher limit of 70%. mr. olver: would the gentleman yield? mr. flake: 15 seconds. mr. olver: if the gentleman would place all the earmarks funded in this bill on a map and show where those have gone, you
will see the earmarks have been spread much more widely, much more evenly among all 50 states and the territories. mr. flake: i thank the gentleman. he makes the point exactly, we shouldn't appropriate this money at all. this money should stay in the hands of small business before it's taxed and let them do with it as they will. cut payroll tax, leave it with them. don't take it and distribute it by means of congressional earmark or federal bureaucrat fiat. don't spend it that way. if we don't like the way they do it, let's not create a parallel program that is just inequitable. the chair: the question is on the amendment offered by the gentleman from arizona. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the nos have it and the amendment is not combreed to. mr. flake: i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to rule --
clause 6, rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman from arizona will be postponed. mr. flake: final amendment, number 11. the chair: the clerk will designate the amendment. the clerk: amendment number 11 print in house report 111-219 offered by mr. flake of arizona. the chair: the gentleman from arizona, mr. flake and a member opposed each will control five minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from arizona. mr. flake: this amendment would remove $500,000 in funding for the reconstruction of red mountain driveb in wisconsin. >> the chair: who claims time in opposition? mr. obey: i claim the time in opposition and reserve. the chair: the gentleman reserves. the gentleman from arizona. mr. flake: i reserve. the chair: the gentleman from wisconsin has the right to close. mr. flake: doesn't the sponsor of the amendment have the right to close?
the chair: a member of the appropriations committee is in opposition to an amendment has the right to close. mr. flake: ok. i should have known. i should have known. . mr. flake: according to the sponsor of the earmark, funds would go for an addition -- for additional turn lane signals and a salk on rib mountain drive. the certification letter for the earmark refers to a particular stretch of the road as a primary roadway in a commercial district and says the project will enhance safety and efficiency. i have no doubt it will do this. i have no doubt. but my understanding is that this funding for this program comes from -- or that the state of wisconsin has a program where they grant funding for programs like this, or projects like this on priority basis. a-- apparently the state of wisconsin didn't see this as a
priority or they would have funded it osm perhaps they did, but realizing there was a powerful member here in the congress, they didn't have to, because the federal taxpayer could pick up the tab. so here again, why are we paying for a roadway that doesn't serve an interstate purpose? this is not part of the interstate highway system. again, here, it's a parochial interest, i understand that, the member will advocate fiercely for it and for his right to get that earmark and certainly the member, my good friend from wisconsin, is in a position to do that. but the question is why? why continue with a program like this let me show the chart again. here's the appropriations chart for this year. we have all legislation we've considered so far. 24 members of the house -- 24% of the members of the house, just shy of 24% of the members of the house, which includes the appropriators, which make
up 13% to 14%, and then powerful leadership members and ranking minority members and chairmen of committees, get a low of 46% in this bill and high of 70% in the financial services bill. this seems to be a pattern. it's a pattern that stretches beyond, i think, last year it was similar spoils here. and i understand that. members, when they're here longer, apparently they understand their districts better than members who haven't been here as long. but it begs the question, why do we continue to do this i appreciate it when the chairman said, earmarks grew under republican rule. they did. it will haunt us forever, and should. but the chairman said when he was chairman of the appropriations committee prior to republicans taking over in
1984, there were no earmarks in the h.h.s. bill. tomorrow we consider that bill, i think there are well over 1,000 earmarks in that bill. there are well over 1,000 earmarks in the defense bill we'll consider later next week. just because republicans ramped it up doesn't mean the democrats have to continue it this way. some will make the case we've cut down the number and dollar value. that's a good thing. but when you go from zero, and when we say with pride, there were no earmarks when i chaired the committee before, now there are only 1,000 and we should feel good about that, there's something wrong with this picture. again, it's not just the money in the earmarks. it's not just that we are spending money on a local transportation project that should be funded locally. but it's when you get earmarks in a bill and you include 1,000 of them, you gather support for a bill that in this case, today, this bill increases overall spending 13%, i
believe, over last year's bill. 13%. in a year when our deficit will approach $2 trillion, we're here saying, that's ok, and we'll have a big vote on this bill, republicans and democrats, my guess, and largely because there are so many earmarks in the bill, people think, i've got a little piece of it, so i'll vote for the broader bill. that's what has driven up spending under republicans and democrats alike. when we lard up the bills with earmarks and pet projects we grease the skids for them to pass when we should stand up and say, we cannot sustain this level of spending. again, it's not just a democrat thing or republican thing this body as a whole is guilty of it. earmarks are a large part of that. we have to recognize that. you can cloak it in whatever language you want to about representing my constituents, but every constituent is out
there wanting money. mine want to keep a lot more of theirs, rather than sending it to washington so washington can decide, well, i'm going to spend a little on a roadway in wisconsin. i yield back. the chair: the gentleman from wisconsin. mr. obey: mr. chairman, the project under discussion is a transportation project and this is a transportation bill. until 10 years ago, my state, wisconsin, was a donor state to highway trust funds, at one time getting 70 cents on the dollar return on our federal gas taxes. as the delegation -- as a delegation we fought like the devil over 30 years to turn that around. we finally have. despite the fact that -- despite that fact, and the changes we've been able to make, wisconsin along with other great lakes states ranks way down the list, 45th, 46th, 47th on its per capita return
on federal dollars. in contrast, the gentleman's state, arizona, does much better. compared to arizona, for example, wisconsin receives about $759 less from the federal government per capita. arizona does very well, for instance in federal procurement dollars, getting about $866 per capita more than wisconsin. in grant programs, such as highway funds, arizona gets about $130 per capita more from the federal government than does wisconsin. when i came to congress, wisconsin and arizona -- wisconsin had 10 members in the house, arizona, i believe, had three. arizona has had a huge growth in population during that -- during the subsequent 40 years and it's been financed in large part by federal dollars. i don't remember how much the central arizona project cost, but it was billions. and i think what the gentleman is suggesting is that now that
arizona has got his, that he begrudges somebody else trying to get pennies by comparison. let me point out that in this bill, arizona gets $13 million in earmark funds. he says, wasa isn't the community where it's being repaired, it's not on the interstate. why should we confine federal responsibility only to communities lucky enough to be on interstate roads? why tell small, rural towns, sorry go off in the corner, you don't have the right to participate in federal support. with respect to this particular project, we are trying to help the community of rib mountain, part of the warsaw metropolitan area, fix -- part of the wasau metropolitan area, fix some problems. on july 4, two 15-year-old girls were hospitalized by an accident in the very location
where this road is to be modernized. i make no apology whatsoever for trying to improve that situation. i would also point out if you want to talk about need, the unemployment area right now in the wasau area is well over 12%. the last time i checked, the unemployment level in mesa is 7.3%. the gentleman from utah also was commenting on the previous earmark complaining about that, the unemployment level in utah is 5.9%. about less than half of what it is in my community. i don't see why i should apologize for trying to get a few items for my district. i would also note one other thing. if you want to talk about earmarks, as the gentleman knows, they make up less than 1% of the discretionary part of the federal budget. that 1%, i have never seen a
congress change any president's budget by more than 3%. that 3% difference in congressional decisions versus presidential decisions, is the difference between having a president and having a king. i make no apology whatsoever for the congress trying to occasionally exercise its responsibilities in terms of the power of the purse. i would also point out one other thing. if you take a look at the real cause of the deficit, the gentleman goes after these very small projects, and then suggests they have a major impact on the deficit. i don't know where the gentleman was when the previous administration was turning $6 billion in projected surpluses into a -- a trillion dollars in projected surpluses into a trillion dollar receive
deficit. i don't know where the gentleman was when the administration was spending a trillion dollars on a misguided war in iraq. those are the items that raise the cost of government, those are the item this is a add to the deficit. those are the item this is a significantly add to the debt. i make no apology for this project. the chair: the gentleman's time has expired. the question is son the amendment offered by the gentleman from arizona. those in favor say aye. those opposed, no. in the opinion of the chair, the noes have it. the amendment is not agreed. to mr. flake: i ask for a recorded vote. the chair: pursuant to clause 6 of rule 18, further proceedings on the amendment offered by the gentleman will be postponed. it is now in order to consider amendments printed in part c. for what purpose does the gentleman from texas rise? mr. hensarling: i have an amendment at the desk designated number three. the clerk: amendment number three printed in house report
111-219 offered by mr. hensarling of texas. the chair: pursuant to house resolution 669, the gentleman from texas, mr. hensarling, and a member opposed each will control five minutes. mr. hensarling: this will strike the funding for a project offered by the speaker of the house for the doyle drive replacement project, apparently this project is owned by caltrans, which charges tolls for people coming across the golden gate bridge. according to the website, the money would be used to raise the original profile of the southbound lanes to preserve the cultural landscape and retain the cultural relationship between the upper and lower portions of the presidio. it would reconfigure the gerard
land cape and to improve views to the palace of fine arts. now, mr. chairman, i'm not here to tell you that all earmarks are bad. i'm not even here to tell you that somehow this is a bad use of somebody's money. i've never been a particular fan of the earmark system, but i don't come here to debate that today. i've heard a number of people say, well, relative to the federal budget, this is the pennies and nickels. well, yes, maybe it is. i hope, number one, i'm never in congress so long i consider $2 million to be pennies and nickels, but if it is, you know if you don't start saving the pennies and nickels, how will you ever save the dollars? frankly, with the oppressive treatment we have in the rules committee, the amendments republicans would offer that would save the billions of dollars somehow those are never quite made in order.
so, mr. chairman, why is this important? i think it's important because we need to take stock of where we are as a nation. since president obama was elected, we have seen now the highest deficit we've ever seen in our nation's history. it's over $1 trillion, and mr. chairman, it's on its way to $1.8 trillion. that means since the democrats have taken control of this house, the federal deficit has increased 10 fold. the national debt, the national debt is being tripled under their watch. under their budget. tripled. more debt in the next 10 years than in the previous 220. so, yes, maybe $2 million is small, relative to that. but mr. chairman if you don't change the culture of spending, how are you ever going to change the spending? and i wish the spe o