Alaskan Congressman Don Young spoke on the floor of the United States House of Representatives today against a biased, uninformed, and senseless amendment to the Labor, HHS, and Education Appropriations bill, to eliminate funding for the Alaska Native Education Equity program. The amendment, introduced by Rep. Garrett (NJ-R) specifically targets constituents of Alaska as not needing the ample amount of funding for education others in the country receive without question. With many Members from both sides of the aisle supporting Rep. Young in his efforts to defend his state, this amendment failed by vote of 74-352.
Congressman Youngâ€™s remarks as given:
â€œMy friends, this is a sad day in this body. Apparently the students of New Jersey are trying to take money from Alaskan students, pitting State against State, instead of talking about education.
â€œI am a little bit chagrined with the gentleman from New Jersey. This is supposed to be a House of honor. You didnâ€™t tell me you were going to offer this amendment. You didnâ€™t talk to the gentleman from Hawaii on the amendment. You are attacking two States that are not contiguous to the United States. This is a harmful thing to do. We are a new State. I have poverty that you donâ€™t even think of, and yet you say you want my money; my money for my students that need to be educated, goes to New Jersey.
â€œThis is a sad day for the House.
â€œI want to thank the Chairman and the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Committee for putting this (funding) in the bill. And if we continue this, we will be called biting one another, very much like the mink in my State that kill their own. There is always another day when those who bite will be killed, too, and I am very good at that.
â€œI just think it is a disgrace to have one State, the education of one State, being pitted against another State. This is education! These are needy students; (they are) a minority that has been neglected, has not been helped to the degree they should have been over the centuries. I can truthfully say and pridefully say we have been good in the last years, over the last 35 years. I have provided education and supported education. My people have risen and become leaders because this Congress saw the wisdom in providing us with money!
â€œAnd now we have an individual from a State that doesnâ€™t have the greatest reputation in the world, trying to take money from one State to give another State. If that is the case, then letâ€™s just all have a big donnybrook right here. Iâ€™m ready. Iâ€™m really ready because what we are doing is dead wrong.
â€œI told the gentleman here about two years ago, shame on you. Shame on you. Shame on each one of you. And the guys that are trying not to spend money and the guys that are trying to balance the budget, to take and attack education in States, Hawaii, and Alaska, that have the least representation as far as numbers go. And if there is guilt here, it is because I have been able to represent my State better than New Jersey. I would suggest New Jersey ought to elect some new Congressmen, I suggest respectfully, that can do the job. I believe that is really true. If they canâ€™t do the job, elect somebody new. I have (gotten it done). I am going to continue to do it. I am going to fight for my State, and I am going to fight for my State every time!â€