Funding Bill is Reflection of Prioritiesby Representative Henry C. "Hank" Johnson Jr.
Posted on 2015-12-17
JOHNSON of Georgia. I thank the gentlewoman.
Today, we are just about ready to vote on an omnibus spending bill, which is a part of the tax extender bill that we, or that some passed today. I did not vote for it. I was opposed to the tax extender bill, which added $622 billion to the Nation's long-term debt, unpaid for, and largely tax cuts to the wealthy.
There are some features in the tax extenders bill that were appealing. For instance, it enhanced the child tax credit. It made it permanent, along with the enhanced earned income tax credit. Those are important for middle class people, working people. Those are very important, and we did the right thing on those.
But, unfortunately, they represented a small part of that $622 billion, two-thirds of which was a giveaway to the wealthy through various tax loopholes. So Congress did that dirty deed today, and it blew a hole in the Nation's long-term debt.
And you know what is going to happen? Because while you have reduced the amount of resources that the Federal Government takes in to be able to give back to the people who are governed, in the form of transportation dollars, healthcare dollars, education dollars, national security dollars, things that we have to pay for; in other words, you can't have the freedoms that we enjoy and the prosperity that we all enjoy, without having a government that lays down this infrastructure, and that is what our tax receipts pay for.
We have been cutting Federal revenues since 1980. It has been almost 40 years we have been on an incessant cutting of government. We have been spending a lot of money. We have been spending without paying for it. That is what has created the debt, largely because of wars, unfought wars, and tax cuts.
So while we have things to pay for, we haven't been paying for them with tax moneys. We have been paying for them with the promise of taking in tax moneys, and we continue to increase the debt by cutting taxes.
So how do you then pay for the government that we need when you are cutting these taxes? Well, we pay for this government every year when we have these spending bills that come up, and they tend to always come up at the end of the year, when everybody is ready to go home, and when government is about to shut down because it hasn't been funded.
So what did we do this year? We did the same thing we did this year that we did in previous years, and that is to wait till the last minute, put together a 2,000-plus-page spending bill, and then we spring it on Members of Congress in the dead of night, and give us 2 days, 2 full days to be able to read through it, and then vote on it. We are scheduled to vote on it tomorrow.
It is not a great way of doing bills in this country, and that is what we have been doing, giving away resources. We did that today. Tomorrow we will pass this spending bill. They call it two bills, but really it is one bill that has been split into two parts. The first dirty deed was done today. The next dirty deed will be done tomorrow, the spending bill.
Now, the spending bill has a lot of stuff in there that should not be in there. Why should you have a spending bill, and then you turn around and give away the Nation's resources, the Nation's oil? You're going to remove a 40-year prohibition on the production of crude oil to be sent overseas for refinement. You are going to remove that ban in a spending bill that was unleashed on us just 2 days ago, 2,000 pages, a spending bill.
But why are you giving a break to the oil industry? Why are we going to vote to remove that ban on sending our precious oil offshore to be refined, thus costing us good middle class jobs here in America? Those refinery workers, they are going to lose their jobs because we are going to allow the oil to be exported so that it can be refined in a foreign nation by workers who are not paid commensurate to what we are paid over here, and then we are going to import our own oil back into our country at a higher price. It doesn't make sense, ladies and gentlemen.
We need to be weaned from foreign oil, and we do that through producing our own oil. But if we are going to then send our oil overseas to be refined, then the only person, the only folks that are getting rich off of that are the oil companies. They have been getting rich for a long time, and we are giving them another opportunity to make billions and billions of dollars more. It is the oil that belongs to this country. And so it is wrong that we do that.
This is one of the features in our spending bill tomorrow, and I disagree with that. I think most Americans probably do, and many Members of Congress do also.
But, yet, there will be many who will pass this bill just simply to get out of here and keep the government open, and that is not a great way of doing business. That is not the way we should do business in this country. America deserves better. The citizens deserve better.
Mrs. WATSON COLEMAN. I want to thank the gentleman from Georgia. I [[Page H9684]] appreciate his comments and thank him for sharing his wisdom and experience with us.
Mr. Speaker, I yield to my classmate and colleague from Arizona (Mr. Gallego).