Roe Statement on Amendment Offered to FY 2010 CJS Appropriations Act
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressman Phil Roe, M.D. (TN-1) offered an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2010 Commerce-Justice-Science Appropriations Act that would fully fund President Obama’s request for the Federal Prison System but reject Congressional Democrats’ attempts to spend even more.
The amendment would have rejected an extra $97.4 million that the House Appropriations Committee added to the President’s request. The following is Congressman Roe’s statement on the House floor regarding his amendment:
"Mister Speaker, I yield myself two and a half minutes.
"I believe the level of spending in this bill is irresponsible in light of our deficits, but I also know my view is in the minority. This is about priorities and it’s about morals. This year, we are going to pass one point eight TRILLION dollars in new debt onto our children’s generation. I would argue that passing this level of debt onto our next generation is immoral.
"So far, there has not been one iota of interest in setting priorities from the majority. Instead, they have chosen to fund everything generously and call that “priority setting.” That’s their prerogative. They won the election and they are entitled to run our nation’s credit card well past its limit to never-before-seen levels. When it comes to spending and budgets, it’s clear from past debates there is no interest in adopting Republican ideas from my friends on the other side of the aisle, so I went to a source you might not think a Republican would look in: President Obama’s budget.
"The President has requested nearly six billion for the Federal Prison System. The Democratic Congress has increased that by $97.4 million. We’re trying to support the President and show a little bit of fiscal restraint by adopting the President’s budgeted level. In percentage terms, this means we are growing the program at 6.8 percent instead of 8.6 percent. If it passes, the amendment’s impact will not be huge, but it sends a message – however small – that this Congress is not completely tone deaf to concerns about the deficit and runaway spending.
"It’s important to note this is not a vote on whether to cut the program. It is a vote on whether to provide the program the President’s proposed increase or to provide the Democratic Leadership’s proposed increase."
The final vote for Roe's amendment was 140-283.