(D-GA) gave the following speech before the Georgia Black Chamber
of Commerce, January 7, 2006.
I have been given a most unenviable task.
I am to pay homage to the legacy of Del Delaper [a noted minority
Thank all of you for allowing me to represent
you in Washington, DC, and give you a Washington Report - all
in five minutes.
Now, for those of us who knew Del, we can only speak
of his interminable commitment to the financial freedom of
black people. That, indeed, was the unfinished dream of Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr. For we must remember that it was at the
dawning of the Poor People’s Campaign, the submission to America
of the "bounced check to the Negro," and the launching
of the demand to Congress for an economic bill of rights that
Dr. King was cut down by snipers’ bullets at a Memphis, Tennessee
But Del didn’t let the dream die with Dr. King.
His labor of love was to cradle and nurture the black entrepreneurial
spirit - for we all know that the long road to freedom lies
at the end of self-sufficiency. And so, for Del and for Lou,
the Georgia Black Chamber was a labor of love. And so
it must be for all of us. Thank you for being here this
But now, in my remaining minutes, what
can I say but that in 1968, Dr. King was demanding 12 billion
dollars for jobs for those able to work, incomes for those
unable to work, and an end to discrimination. Finally,
a decade later, President Carter signed into law, the Humphrey-Hawkins
Full Employment and Balanced Growth Act.
How far from the ideals of Dr. King and this legislation has this Administration
taken our country?
When I return to Washington and take up the budget,
the Republican majority will be forced to raise the debt limit
beyond its current 8.2 trillion dollars.
They will try to hide that vote from you because it exposes the dismal
fiscal stewardship of the party that is supposed to represent fiscal
restraint. But today, our economy teeters on the brink
due to the profligate spending of the White House and the Congress.
Record deficit. Record national debt. Record trade deficit.
Yet just a quick read of a few of the December headlines reveals:
December 2, 2005: Halliburton got bonuses for over billing
taxpayers by $169 million
December 2, 2005: Halliburton workers get paid 50 cents an
hour in Iraq
December 6, 2005: Navy awards another $6.5 million to Halliburton for
December 15, 2005: Another Halliburton employee involved in
bribery - that is, other than Dick Cheney who is under investigation
in France for bribing Nigerian officials
December 27, 2005: Halliburton stalls Pentagon proposal banning forced
labor, human trafficking - yes, Halliburton and DynCorp reportedly
still trade in young girls and women
December 29, 2005: Navy awards Halliburton another $20 million
for Hurricane Wilma cleanup.
Now that takes care of our Vice President who still
receives a check from Halliburton in what they call deferred
compensation; but we can’t finish our report on the State of
Washington, DC without also acknowledging the fattening portfolios
of Donald Rumsfeld and our President (through his father, of
Suffice it to say that $4 billion dollars this year was set aside
for bird flu and giving liability protections for flu drug manufacturers.
No one is asking why bird flu? But never
mind that pesky little detail. Donald Rumsfeld will be
happy since he owns shares in the company that holds the patent
for Tamiflu, reputed to be the only drug that treats bird flu.
So what if we stockpile for bird flu and it ends up being swine?
You’ve only lost your ability to sue and the $4 billion dollars
down payment on flu preparedness that this Administration has
sold you. But you really don’t have to worry if they stockpile
the wrong vaccine for the wrong flu; the Congressional Budget
Office says the likelihood of a flu pandemic is less than one-third
of one percent, anyway.
Finally, I can’t leave this discussion without mentioning the Bush family
portfolio and the fact that Carlyle is currently investing in bioweapons
labs, satellite communications, and the military industrial
complex that Eisenhower warned us against. The more we fight,
the more they make! Just dial Carlyle when the next disaster strikes.
Oops. That remark will certainly warrant a few wiretaps. But
don’t worry. It’s all to protect you. From me.
At the same time, first Iraq under Hussein - well, he’s been taken
care of now - but both Iran and China signal a switch in their
reserves away from the dollar. I hope their prescription
for that isn’t war against Iran or China next.
So instead of protecting the American people at a time of great economic
uncertainty, Hurricane Katrina unveiled for us the utter lack
of will on the part of this Administration to focus on the true needs
of the American people.
And sadly, this month I will be forced to vote on
an extension of the Patriot Act and a budget that takes $40
billion away from the sick, the poor, the elderly, single parents
needing child support, college students and their families.
No segment of the American population is left outside the crosshairs
of this budgetary weapon of mass destruction called the Bush
Administration and the Republican Congress. Except, of
course, for the wealthy who roll away with an additional $70
billion in tax cuts and the no bid, sweetheart deal government
contracts to which they’ve become accustomed.
The only word left in my vocabulary to describe what is happening
to our country is "sinful." And what I’ve described
for you in these few short minutes is only the tip of the iceberg
of a sea change in the culture of public policy making in Washington,
DC. There was a time when the United States government
was known as caring and nurturing of people both at home and
abroad. But now, I have to agree with Kanye West. Not only
does George Bush not like Black people, his policies hurt all
of us. And as a Democrat in a majority Republican House,
Senate, White House, and Supreme Court, you can count on me
to do what I can to keep up the good fight for you in Washington,
Thank you for inviting me to share with you this morning; congratulations
on surviving 2005; Best Wishes for 2006!