Victims' Rights Caucus

Speeches

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Mr. Chairman, part of our process in this country as a Republic and one reason we broke away from a monarchy was because of the fact that Americans, by nature, want things in the public view.

       Back in the days of the king, the king made all of the decisions and he made them based on any reason or lack of reason the king wished.

   Americans want their government to be public. That's why this House meets in public instead of in a back room someplace, because when you meet in back rooms, things seem to happen that are not in the favor or the benefit of the public or the American people.

   And in this whole appropriations process, the American public is watching us and we are being asked to appropriate billions of dollars for different projects, appropriations bills; but yet we don't know where the money is going. Now, most Americans probably would find that difficult to understand. I find that difficult to understand. Why you would ever appropriate taxpayer money, set it out here in some fund, you can call it a slush fund or a sludge fund it makes no difference. We don't know where the money is going. We are being told trust us, we are the government; we will decide later how to spend your money. Trust us.

   And how is that decision going to be made? It is going to be made really by one person and his staff, a good person no doubt, but will that decision be made upon partisan politics, how these false, fake, secret earmarks are going to be determined? Will it be based upon longevity in the House? Will it be based upon where a person happens to live in the United States? Will it be based upon other factors that are subjective as opposed to objective? Who knows. We don't know because we don't know, first of all, where the money is going and how those decisions will be made.

   But we are all asked in this House, including those on the other side, to write a letter and ask for one earmark, and then that letter will be reviewed by the staff. And the staff will meet with the one Member of Congress and the decision will be made whether to grant or not grant that earmark.

   It seems to me that one person should not have that ability, that authority, that power. It goes back to the phrase from Orwell's ``Animal Farm'' that all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others. And this is probably one of those examples.

   So why not be open about it? Why not be democratic about it and air those public earmarks in the public sector. Let's argue and debate them on the House floor. Let's vote them up, let's vote them down, but let the American people see exactly what those earmarks are and then they can see where we stand and see how we vote as 435 as opposed to one person.

   So deals made in back rooms are not good deals for the American public. All we are asking in this legislative body is that we take the taxpayers' money and we tell them up front where that money is going to be spent before we take it away from the taxpayers and say trust us, we are from the Federal Government, we are here to help you.

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