Video archive of the US Congress

Senate Proceeding 03-15-11 on Mar 15th, 2011 :: 2:43:20 to 2:51:05
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John Cornyn

2:43:17 to 2:43:38( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: commit to you with senator snowe we'll try to get it pending on the list as soon as we can. cornyn: well, madam president, i've been waiting all day like all of my colleagues and i'm here on the floor to offer an amendment and i'm sorry that the senator thinks it's necessary to object. i'm not sure what harm it calls to get another amendment pending

John Cornyn

2:43:20 to 2:51:05( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: John Cornyn

John Cornyn

2:43:39 to 2:44:00( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: and i'm happy to vote on any of these amendments as the majority leader determines to set the votes, or the bill managers. but i will speak just briefly on the -- at amendment 186 that i will call up at the appropriate time. all of us can agree that the nation faces the greatest fiscal challenge in its history with

John Cornyn

2:44:01 to 2:44:21( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: growing deficits and record debt. currently the deficit being roughly 9.8% of our gross domestic product; the debt north of $14 trillion, so high that, in fact, we will be asked here sometime in the spring to consider voting on lifti the -- the debt limit n. effect, raising the --

John Cornyn

2:44:22 to 2:44:43( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: in effect, raising the debt limit on the nation's credit card because it's maxed out. according to the two cochairs of the fiscal commission, the nation could be facing a debt crisis, a lot of confidence that -- a loss of confidence that we would actually be able to pay back our debt and that crisis could come as soon as in

John Cornyn

2:44:44 to 2:45:05( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: the next two years. that's why the amendment i'm offering today, which i hope will enjoy broad, bipartisan support, establishes indeed a bipartisan united states authorization and sunset commission that will eliminate wasteful government spending. the amendment is modeled after the sunset process that was

John Cornyn

2:45:06 to 2:45:26( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: instituted in texas in 1977, which is over the years -- which has over the years eliminated over 50 state agencies and saved taxpayers more than $700 million. that may not seem like big money in washington terms, but that's a substantial amount of savings in texas. this is what the president's own fiscal commission had to say about such a concept.

John Cornyn

2:45:27 to 2:45:47( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: this is a quotation. "such a committee has been recommended many times and has found bipartisan support. the original and arguably the most effective committee exists at the state level in texas. the legislature created a sunset commission in 1977 to eliminate waste and inefficiency in

John Cornyn

2:45:48 to 2:46:08( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: government agencies. estimates from reviews conducted between 1982 and 2009 showed a 27-year savings of over $780 million, compared with expenditures of $28.6 million. based on savings achieved, for every dollar spent on the sunset

John Cornyn

2:46:09 to 2:46:29( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: commission, the state has received $27 in return. this commission, under my amendment, would be made up of eight members of congress that would focus on unauthorized programs that continue to receive taxpayers' money. as the chair knows, madam president, you know, one. biggest problems we have when it

John Cornyn

2:46:30 to 2:46:50( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: comes to unsupervised spend something the fact that the authorizing committees don't necessarily authorize a program but yet the appropriators, for one reason or another, have appropriated money and those are never given the kind of oversight that is really necessary. this means that congress has dropped the ball spending without authorization when it

John Cornyn

2:46:51 to 2:47:11( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: comes to doing the hard work of figuring out if these programs are working, but the spending nevertheless continues. as ronald reagan famously said, the closest thing to eternal life here on earth is a temporary government program. there is no such thing here in washington, d.c. the congressional budget office regularly finds that billions of dollars are being spent in

John Cornyn

2:47:12 to 2:47:33( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: unauthorized programs. in addition, the commission would focus on duplicative and redundant government programs annually identified by the government accountability office. the g.a.o., as we all recall, recently found that billions of taxpayer dollars are being spent on duplicative and redawn daunts government programs -- and redundant government prasms the

John Cornyn

2:47:34 to 2:47:56( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: federal government has more than 100 different programs dealing with surface transportation issues -- 100. 82 monitoring teacher quality, 80 for economic development, 47 for job training, and 17 different grant programs for disaster preparedness. i think common sense would tell

John Cornyn

2:47:57 to 2:48:18( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: us that that ki -- duplication is not efficient and is not effective use of taxpayer dollars. my amendment would review each program and submit the recommendations which must be considered by congress under procedures like we use under the budget act t could not be filibustered t would have to be voted on. congress would not be able to

John Cornyn

2:48:19 to 2:48:39( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: ignore the commission's reports. the amendment provides expedited procedures that would force congress to consider and debate the commission's work. congress would have two years to consider and pass the commission's recommendations or to reauthorize the program before it would be abollished by operation of law. in other words, the program is abollished if congress fails to

John Cornyn

2:48:40 to 2:49:00( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: reauthorize it twa years after the commission completes its review and analysis of the program. this commission would help force congress to do the necessary oversight to make sure that every taxpayer dollar is wisely spent. while we all do our best to ensthiewr proper oversight is given to each program, we don't have the tools currently

John Cornyn

2:49:01 to 2:49:21( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: available to monitor and review every program. this sunset commission would provide congress with those tools. it would improve government accountability, provide for greater openness in government decision making. programs that have simply outlived their usefulness or fail to spend taxpayer dollars efficiently are a burden, we know, on the american taxpayer

John Cornyn

2:49:22 to 2:49:44( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: and should be eliminated. but we simply zoo have the means to -- but we simply don't have the means to get there from here. congress has a spending floss place, and we should put together a sunset process for streamlining and eliminating government waste. that's what this amendment would dovment the commission would supplement the work of the congressional committees that are already in place that i know

John Cornyn

2:49:45 to 2:50:07( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: mean well and intend to do the oversight but simply never seem to get around to t it will not replace the work of those committees. it will supplement and i would say improve their oversight work. it will serve as another set of eyeballs keeping a close eye on the wallet belonging to the taxpayers. this commission will help congress answer a simple but powerful question:

John Cornyn

2:50:08 to 2:50:28( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: is this program still needed? is this program still needed? the sunset commission would help us make many programs more effective by giving them the attention they deserve and exposing their faults to the light of day. it will improve government accountability and provide for greater openness in government decision making. programs that outlive their

John Cornyn

2:50:29 to 2:50:50( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: usefulness or fail to spend tax dollars efficiently are a burden on the american taxpayer and must be eliminated or reformed. as we continue to face the mounting deficit and a struggling comirvetion shouldn't we be doing -- and a struggling economy, shouldn't be doing everything in our four spend less? imagine the tax dollars that

John Cornyn

2:50:51 to 2:51:07( Edit History Discussion )

John Cornyn: could be saved. it is my hope that our colleagues, mr. president, will join me in supporting a government-wide sunset comirks and i'd urge all of my colleagues to support this amendment so we can start setting our spending priorities

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