Space Launch Liability Indemnification Extension Actby Representative Sam Farr
Posted on 2014-01-15
FARR. Thank you very much, and thank you, Mr. Chairman, for
getting us back into regular order. I really praise the work of this
committee. I am proud to be on it. I am proud of the ranking member in
bringing this to fruition.
Madam Speaker, while we celebrate success--and this is one--we have to remember that we are still underfunding America. While we are praising America's need to grow, we are cutting, squeezing, and trimming government's ability to meet that population growth, particularly in my own State of California.
We have got to get back to regular order of allowing the revenue. We have got to have some increases in revenue. Yeah, we have got to mind the store and we have to do cuts, squeezes, and trims, but what we are doing is we are leaving the poorest populations in this country at risk.
I came out of the war on poverty. There is still a lot of poverty in America. Secretary Vilsack pointed out to the chair of the subcommittee that I am the ranking member on that there are 400 counties in the United States that are still by census the poorest counties in the United States--really, really poor. They are in the Third World, and they are in the United States.
Our committee, our agriculture outreach in the food programs and in the economic development--water and rural electricity and all those things--are the solutions, and in the communications systems, the broadband, and so on. We've got to address this, and we don't have enough money to do that.
I praise the Chair's ability to get back on order, but while I am going to support this bill, let's hope that next year we really get back in order and bring the fiscal affairs to the United States in good sound position, not just cut, squeeze, and trim.
We need to get our business done around here and this is a solid step in the right direction.
There are pros and cons to this bill, as there is with all bills. I've already mentioned the pro: it'll get the business of FY14 appropriations done and we can move on.
But the cons of the bill worry me: the funding levels, though higher or at the President's budget request still fall short, for me, in terms of doing right by critical programs.
Our colleagues from the other side of the aisle like to point out that this bill represents the 4th year in a row that appropriations ``continues the downward trend in federal spending.'' I think if that is our goal, we are shortsighted to the many other unfunded needs in our country.
It's not enough to keep programs at level funding. Where's the investment in the future? Where's the projection for a growing population? Where's the support for new and different initiatives that we can't imagine today? Transportation, Infrastructure, Health Care, Food Aid, Job Assistance, Economic Development, Education and Science, Ag Research.
There are myriad issues that, yes, get funded, but at levels not sufficient to produce real advancements.
I don't want my country to be standing still.
I want it to move forward.
This bill should get passed, but it shouldn't be considered a victory for robust investment.
If anything it should be the floor from which we begin to plan future years' growth, and beyond.