If I were John Boehner (someone I am very thankful I am not), this is the speech I would give to the American people if given the opportunity.
Let me begin with a quote: “The fact that we’re here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. Leadership means ‘The buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”
This was not a quote from one of my Republican colleagues in the last couple of months. This was a quote from then Senator Barack Obama in 2006.
It seems that the President’s plan has changed since then. “The buck stops here,” has morphed into blaming his predecessor for his problems. Spending has skyrocketed on his watch — far beyond what happened under his predecessor — the economy is failing, and the addition to our debt burden has been larger than that of all previous Presidents combined. It is now my turn to stand and oppose a debt ceiling increase without significant changes to the way we spend the American people’s money.
My House colleagues and I have put forth a plan that would raise the debt ceiling in exchange for just such a significant change. It is called “Cut, Cap and Balance”. It requires that we cut one hundred billion dollars from the fiscal year 2012 budget, because the American people have learned that cuts that are proposed to take place 6 or 7 years down the road never actually happen. It requires that we cap spending at a constant level relative to our GDP, so that we keep money in the private sector where it can grow, instead of in the government where it stagnates. Finally, it includes the passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution to be passed to the states for ratification.
A CNN/Gallup poll from the past week shows that the American people overwhelmingly favor this plan. There is not a single demographic that is opposed to it. Even 63% of self-described Democrats approve of it.
It seems, however, that President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid want no part of this plan, which is somewhat ironic given the President’s recent statement that, “It’s time to listen to the American people.” Listening to the American people has not been the strong suit of these two men in the last two and a half years. In the last 20 months, they used fraud, deceit and bribery to force through a health care plan that the American people clearly said they didn’t want and still don’t, and as a result of that, the American people rejected their party at the ballot box at levels not seen in over a century. Despite this, their tone-deafness continues.
Instead, the President has chosen to go out and lie directly to the faces of the American people. He has stated that if the debt ceiling is not increased, we may not have the money to service our debt, or send out Social Security checks or military paychecks. These are absolute lies. The amount of money coming into the treasury would be more than enough to cover all of these things, and the President and his treasury secretary know it. The only reason any of these things would not happen is if the President were to choose not to do so. These are the sorts of scare tactics that his party has used over the past half-century, but times are changing. The American people see through those sorts of lies now. They are better informed than my Democratic colleagues think they are.
Another demand that has been made of me and my party is that we make compromises in order to get a deal done. It is impossible to compromise, however, when the other side has yet to even propose a plan. Earlier this year, Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan put together a budget proposal that would start us on the path of reducing the size of government and getting our spending back under control. President Obama put together a proposal of his own that was recognized as a budget-buster even by his own party, as the Senate rejected it 97-0. Senator Reid and his colleagues in the Senate have been even more derelict in their duties, as they have refused to even offer a budget in over 800 days, despite the Constitution mandating that we pass a budget each year.
We have seen similar behavior in this debate. The House has passed “Cut, Cap and Balance”, but the Senate recently voted to not even allow debate on the bill, as though a plan that the American people overwhelmingly approve of was not worthy of their time. I can cite twenty current Democratic Senators who have spoken in favor of a Balanced Budget Amendment in the past, but it seems their tone has changed. The President gave a speech on April 13th that he and his supporters claim is his plan, but it has no specifics. The Congressional Budget Office’s response to the request to score the President’s plan was, “We cannot estimate speeches.” Quite simply, there is currently no other plan on the table besides our bill for discussion.
Every proposal we have made has been met with nothing from the Democrats except, “Your plan sucks.” From now on, until a serious offer is put on the table, any requests for compromise from the Democrats will be met with, “Where’s your plan?”
The only things that have been given to us by the President to this point are vague proposals to cut spending several years down the road – which the American people rightly don’t believe would actually happen – and demands for tax increases. While we are willing to compromise in several areas, this is one area where we will not yield. If your child took your credit card and bought several thousand dollars’ worth of things you couldn’t afford online without your permission, then demanded an increase in his allowance to help pay for them, how would you respond?
A tax increase in this economy would be an automatic job-killer, and with unemployment well over nine percent, America cannot afford any more job losses. As my colleague in the Senate, Marco Rubio, eloquently stated, “We don’t need more taxes, we need more taxpayers.” If we stop threatening the American people with more tax increases and more burdensome regulation such as ObamaCare, we will get the economy growing again, get people back to work, and revenue coming into the government will take care of itself.
Let me conclude by saying that we will be more than happy to work with our Democrat colleagues in the Senate and the President if they are willing to put forth a plan with specific spending cuts in the near-term and long-term, and no tax increases. If the President and his party are unwilling to put forth a serious proposal, then there will be no debt limit increase. We know the media will attempt to blame us, but the American people know that we are the only ones who have an actual plan. This situation is too important for political games; the viability and stability of our nation’s economy is at stake. We will fight to preserve this great land of ours, knowing that the American people are behind us in this fight. Thank you.