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McCollum's Statement during February 26, 2013 Defense Subcommittee Hearing

February 26, 2013
Speech

Congresswoman Betty McCollum Remarks During the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Hearing
[As Prepared]

February 26, 2013

General Raymond T. Odierno, Chief of Staff of the Army
Admiral Jonathan W. Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations
General James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps
General Mark A. Welsh III, Chief of Staff of the Air Force
General Frank J. Grass, Chief, National Guard Bureau

 

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Let me start with a quote from President John Kennedy who said, “Our problems are man-made, therefore they can be solved by man.” 

This sequester is a folly, it is shameful, and it is a man-made mess that is completely and wholly reversible. 

Gentleman,

I absolutely believe your dire predictions of the consequences of sequestration on military readiness, capabilities, and our overall national security. We are shooting ourselves in the foot.

Responsible leaders would put spending, revenues, and tax expenditures on the table and come up with a compromise that protects the American people because this government provides services and protections for every American.

I voted against the Budget Control Act because I am strongly opposed to the idea of passing bad laws in the foolish hope they never take effect. For some reason this Congress acts likes it has the luxury of governing this great country with gimmicks and game playing. We do not have that luxury.

When I came to Congress in 2001 the Pentagon’s budget was $310 billion and the federal government was projected to have a 10-year budget surplus of over $5 trillion.

Since then the Pentagon’s budget has doubled and trillions of dollars of spending on wars, tax cuts, and programs has been put on a credit card.

For much of the past decade brave Americans in uniform have been serving and fighting in Afghanistan and in Iraq. 

Over a trillion dollars have been spent on the wars and not one penny of additional tax revenue was raised by Congress to pay for those wars. To fight these wars, absolute and total sacrifice was demanded from the military leaders here today, the men and women in your commands,and all of your families. 

You all delivered for us with honor. 

But the rest of the American people have been asked to sacrifice nothing, to contribute nothing extra. Now we see this Congress doing nothing but watching as education, public health, infrastructure investments, and military readiness are gutted. But again, taxes are off the table according to my Republican colleagues – even if it results in making our nation less secure, less protected.

As Americans, we need to pay for the government we want. We need to pay for a strong military and for the privilege of living in a free, democratic nation. And, if that means paying higher taxes then I am willing to pay higher taxes rather than kick kids out of Head Start and kick poor moms off of WIC.