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Sheila J.
Democrat TX 18

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  • Requirement in Budget Submission With Respect to the Cost Per Taxpayer of the Deficit

    by Representative Sheila Jackson Lee

    Posted on 2013-03-05

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    JACKSON LEE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I rise to question H.R. 668, a bill to amend section 1105(a) of title 31, United States Code, to require that annual budget submissions of the President to Congress provide an estimate of the cost per taxpayer of the deficit. What does this bill accomplish--very little.

    More specifically, H.R. 668 requires the President to submit the pro rata cost for taxpayers for any deficit projected in the President's budget for a given fiscal year.

    While I support genuine bipartisan efforts to resolve our fiscal and budgetary issues, it is difficult to see how this bill proposes a productive use of the House's time and taxpayer dollars.

    H.R. 668 appears to be a politically motivated bill aimed at placing blame on the President for our deficit issues rather than proposing a sound, bipartisan solution that would provide a balanced approach to turning our annual budgets deficits into surpluses.

    This Congress cannot absolve itself of the duty to reach a bipartisan deal to mitigate the devastating effects of the sequester now imposed on the federal government.

    We must remember that this sequester was intended to be harmful to our nation's progress in the eyes of both parties, in order to incentivize this Congress to make the difficult choices necessary to forge a sustainable economic future.

    The cuts are arbitrary and are no substitute for sound policy: $42.7 billion in defense cuts (a 7.9 percent cut); $28.7 billion in domestic discretionary cuts (a 5.3 percent cut); $9.9 billion in Medicare cuts (a 2 percent cut); and $4 billion in other mandatory cuts (a 5.8 percent cut to nondefense programs, and a 7.8 percent cut to mandatory defense programs).

    Each day that passes under the sequester, it imperils our security, our economic recovery, and our families across this nation.

    From military readiness, to disaster and terrorism preparedness, to law enforcement and emergency responders, to education, to small business, to veterans care, to travel, to food safety, to vital research and innovation; there is virtually no facet of our way of life that will avoid being negatively impacted by the sequester.

    Aircraft purchases by the Air Force and Navy are cut by $3.5 billion.

    Military operations across the services are cut by about $13.5 billion.

    Military research is cut by $6.3 billion.

    The National Institutes of Health get cut by $1.6 billion.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are cut by about $323 million.

    Border security is cut by about $581 million.

    Immigration enforcement is cut by about $323 million.

    Airport security is cut by about $323 million.

    Head Start gets cut by $406 million, kicking 70,000 kids out of the program.

    FEMA's disaster relief budget is cut by $375 million.

    Public housing support is cut by about $1.94 billion.

    The FDA is cut by $206 million.

    NASA gets cut by $970 million.

    Special education is cut by $840 million.

    The Energy Department's program for securing our nuclear materials is cut by $650 million.

    The National Science Foundation gets cut by about $388 million.

    The FBI gets cut by $480 million.

    The federal prison system gets cut by $355 million.

    State Department diplomatic functions are cut by $650 million.

    Global health programs are cut by $433 million; the Millennium Challenge Corp. sees a $46 million cut, and USAID a cut of about $291 million.

    The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is cut by $55 million.

    The SEC is cut by $75.6 million.

    The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is cut by $2.6 million.

    The Library of Congress is cut by $31 million.

    The Patent and Trademark office is cut by $156 million.

    This is neither the way to govern, nor is it a permissible path forward. We cannot continue along this path of perpetual, self-imposed destruction--moving from manufactured crisis to manufactured crisis without providing the American people with certainty and clarity as to the future.

    In just three short weeks, the federal government faces another manufactured crisis; a shutdown that threatens to compound the effects of the sequester and further damage our [[Page H965]] economy, making it harder for families to endure.

    We must focus our efforts on working together to enact a continuing resolution in order to avoid a government shutdown, and to enact a plan that provides a healthy balance of revenues and spending cuts that will move us forward without devastating the middle class.

    Bills that do not serve any ostensible practical purpose and are simply meant to advance an ideological position should not occupy the House's time, and the American people expect more of their elected representatives.

    We must remember that the faces of those who are negatively impacted by the sequester are not of millionaires or billionaires; they are of average Americans who, through no fault of their own, have struggled through a tough economy and fiscal adversity.

    As we work together to get our Nation's fiscal house in order, we should strive to carefully consider the impact of decisions--or in this case, the lack of decisions--on the millions of middle and low-income Americans who are counting on us to come to an agreement.

    I look forward to working with my colleagues in Congress on both sides of the aisle on a long-term debt and deficit solution, and am confident that we can reach an agreement that will work for the benefit of all Americans.

    Mr. COLLINS of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this legislation and I thank the gentleman from Indiana for his continued leadership on this issue.

    =========================== NOTE =========================== March 5, 2013, on page H965, the following appeared: Mr. COLLINS. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong The online version should be corrected to read: Mr. COLLINS of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong ========================= END NOTE ========================= Last month, this administration stated that it was the most transparent in history. According to recent polls, only 26 percent of Americans agree.

    H.R. 668 requires this administration, and future administrations, to include a cost-per-taxpayer calculation of the Federal deficit in their annual budget submission.

    Transparency is not a political issue. Regardless of which side of the aisle we sit on, our constituents deserve to know how they are impacted by the decisions we make here in Washington.

    This legislation removes the excuses from those who wish to pretend that our country is not facing a fiscal crisis. It replaces rhetoric with fact.

    Hard-working men and women in my district, and across America, should know what our out-of-control spending here in Washington is costing them.

    The administration recently released their budget for Fiscal Year 2013. It forecasts a $901 billion deficit this year alone.

    My friends in the other body, on the other side of the aisle recently proposed a sequester replacement bill that would add $41.5 billion to the deficit in 2013. Over 10 years, the bill would add another $7.2 billion to the deficit.

    Taxpayers deserve to know what such proposals would cost them individually. This is a commonsense bill that already passed the House in the form of an amendment. This isn't a political issue, it is reasonable and rational legislation that lets the American people know we can be serious about their financial future, and the financial future of the country.

    I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the gentleman from Indiana (Mr. Messer) that the House suspend the rules and pass the bill, H.R. 668.

    The question was taken.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. In the opinion of the Chair, two-thirds being in the affirmative, the ayes have it.

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