Thursday, July 19, 2007

Garrett vs. Young - Video and Text

Over at Blue Jersey, Talking Points Memo, The Hill, and a number of other sites, everybody is talking about how Republican Representative Don Young of Alaska verbally smacked Representative Scott Garrett around like a thirdhand ragdoll.

I don't have video of Garrett's response, but his tepid parliamentary inquiry made him look scared (more on that later). Here's the text though, which could be read as being forceful, however that can't be confirmed. It was split due to his allotted time.

As the Representative from the Fifth District of the State of New Jersey, I remind the gentleman from Alaska that the State of New Jersey has 13 congressional Representatives from both sides of the aisle. And so when the gentleman from Alaska makes reference to our Representatives from the State of New Jersey not doing their job and not appropriately representing the people of the State, I remind him that it is an accusation not against simply this one gentleman who is standing at the microphone right now proposing this one amendment, but it is an entire body of 13 gentlemen from both sides of the aisle who I say, and I commend both Representatives from the Democrat and the Republican side of the aisle, for appropriately and admirably representing the good citizens from the State of New Jersey.

My colleagues from the other 12 districts do not need to be defended against these rash accusations by the gentleman from Alaska. But I do come to the floor now to appropriately defend them, nonetheless.


I also take up the comment that the gentleman from Texas was just making reference to which the gentleman from Alaska stated in his statement what was ``my money'' or it is Alaska's money. Well, maybe that is the problem we have had in this Congress for too long, even when Republicans were in the majority and now that the Democrats are the majority, too. Too many Members of Congress see the dollars that we appropriate here not as the taxpayers' dollar, but see it as their very own personal checking account. Maybe that is the fundamental problem that we have with why we spend more and more each year.

I remember when the Democrats were running for office this past election. They were railing against the Republican Party, that we were the party out of control, spending more and more and more. If they were elected to office, they would come here and rein things in when it came to spending. And I served on the Budget Committee when the Democrats were in the minority, and how they railed against us from the other side of the aisle. And at times I even agreed with them on some of the charges that they made, that we were spending too much money.

And now when the Democrats take control, what do they do? Give us the largest tax increase in U.S. history, and we see spending continue to go through the roof. Where do those dollars come from? They come from American taxpayers, from the family budgets, from men and women in Alaska and New Jersey and across this country, working hard just to get by, and yet they are being forced by the Democrats' tax increases to send more dollars here to Washington.

When the gentleman from Alaska comes forth and says it is "my money,'' maybe that is why in some respects when there are projects that are appropriated such as bridges to nowhere and the like, the American public says that is our dollars going to Washington, and it shouldn't be looked at for just such frivolous things as this.

The amendment that's before us right now is an appropriate amendment to say that the hard-earned tax dollars should go to programs that are necessary but be spent in an effective manner.

Members from all 50 States see the need to educate our children. Members from all 50 States, including the State of New Jersey, see the need to deal with the issue of Alaska native students, and that is why this administration has already requested appropriations of $1 billion for that, $118 million in other categorical aids such as that. So all we are doing is saying make sure that those dollars that come from New Jersey and elsewhere are spent effectively.

Finally, to close on this point of ``my money,'' maybe the gentleman from Alaska was not listening at the opening of my comments when I said that New Jersey taxpayers send a dollar to Washington and only get 63 cents back on the dollar, whereas his constituents, yes, they do much better. They send a dollar to Washington and then they get $1.80 back.

I would ask the gentleman from Alaska and other Members from the Democrat side of the aisle, where do they think that other 80 cents on the dollar is coming from? I will tell you it's coming from the good, hardworking taxpayers from the State of New Jersey and Connecticut and New York that are donor States to States like Alaska, that we are subsidizing their programs.

I would ask the gentleman from Alaska to refrain from, therefore, referring to it as his money. It is the taxpayers in the Fifth Congressional District and the rest of New Jersey, whether you're in a Democrat district or Republican district, who are helping fund these programs.

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