BLUE DOG COALITION -- (House of Representatives - March 07, 2006)
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. COOPER. Mr. Speaker, I am grateful to my friend from Arkansas, and I appreciate his yielding to me. I am about to say something that very few people in America know. Hardly anyone in Congress knows it. This is not a partisan comment. I am about to reveal a document printed by this administration that received less distribution than the secret NSA domestic wiretapping activities of the administration.
This is a document that coincidentally was revealed sometime close to Christmas Eve last December. It is a document that was issued without a press release. There was no press notification about this at all. Instead of being like the budget that my friend from Arkansas showed, that was distributed to every Congressman, every Senator's office, with great fanfare, this document was distributed to fewer than 20 Members of the House and Senate. It probably went to about a dozen. It was mailed in. It was not noticed, apparently, by anyone.
And what does the document reveal? Well, first of all, this is it. When I called the Department of the Treasury, they laughed when I asked for multiple copies. This is the Financial Report of the United States Government 2005. This is the closest thing our Nation has to an annual report. Most Americans are familiar with those. All public companies are required to issue an annual report so that the shareholders can find out how the company is doing. Well, this is the annual report for America, and yet it was hidden in plain sight. Hardly anyone knows about this document.
The first page is signed by the Secretary of the Treasury, John Snow, and the first page reveals a pretty shocking fact. It reveals the fact that for all that Mike Ross was talking about, about our terrible debt and deficit situation, situations that are driving up interest rates and putting a terrible debt burden on the backs of our kids and grandkids, according to that green document my colleague from Arkansas held up, the deficit last year was $319 billion. That is a lot of money. That is ``b'' for billion, or ``b'' as in, boy, that is a lot of money. Well, guess what this document shows on its first page, signed by Secretary of the Treasury John Snow? The real deficit last year for 2005 was not $319 billion, it was, get this, $760 billion.
So there are two big questions here. Why did the administration try to hide this from Congress and the American people? Why was there no press release? Why did it receive minimal distribution? And, second, why is the Secretary of the Treasury so heavily at odds with another part of the administration, the Office of Management and Budget and the director there, John Bolton? How could one gentleman say that the deficit was $319 billion last year and another gentleman say it was $760 billion?
Well, the difference is this: the budget of the United States uses what is called cash accounting, and only the tiniest businesses in America are even allowed to use cash accounting. Why? Because it gives you a very distorted picture of a business or of a government. This annual report for America, the financial report signed by Secretary of the Treasury Snow, uses real accounting. It is called accrual accounting, and it keeps the books in a much more accurate way.
So I think most Americans would be shocked, as my colleague from Arkansas knows, that the U.S. Government, Uncle Sam, is keeping two sets of books. One has relatively good news, the other has terrible news in it. And guess what, they are trying to hide the second set of books from the American people.
I would encourage people to go to the Blue Dog Web site. We can allow you to download this document, or you can go to the U.S. Treasury Web site and download the document. It will not be obvious, though, on the Treasury Web site. It is pretty well hidden on that Web site. It is pretty clear on the Blue Dog.com Web site. So I would encourage people to check this out and see what it says in cold hard print and ask the logical question of why the President's budget is so radically and totally different from the document issued by his own Treasury Department.
I thank the gentleman from Arkansas for yielding to me.
Mr. ROSS. I thank the gentleman from Tennessee for bringing this to the attention of America, the ``Financial Report of the United States Government for 2005,'' printed by our government, signed by our President's appointed Secretary of the Treasury, John Snow.
And as the gentleman from Tennessee has explained quite well, when our government says we have a $319 billion deficit for 2005, that is based on a form of accounting known as a cash-basis form of accounting. Now, I am a small business owner; and as a small business owner, our government does not allow me to base my business on a cash-basis form of accounting. I am required by our government to use an accrual-based form of accounting. And if I do not, I am in a lot of trouble with the IRS and will probably end up in jail.
However, our government, when we talk about the budget and the debt and the deficit and we talk about it in terms of this $319 billion, we find in this publication, the ``Financial Report of the United States of America for 2005,'' that it does not use a cash-basis form of accounting. It uses an accrual-basis form of accounting, and we know this only because the government, by law, requires the Secretary of the Treasury to print this document. He does not print tens of thousands of copies the way he does the budget. Only a handful are printed because they do not want the taxpayers of this country to know what is really going on here.
The truth is this: when we look at our government, the way our government requires businesses to report their dealings with the IRS, our deficit was not $319 billion in 2005. Again, there is no reason for us to try to make these numbers any worse than they already are. They are already as bad as they have ever been in the history of our country. And these are not our numbers. These are numbers from the Secretary of the Treasury, John Snow. The deficit for 2005 was not $319 billion when using the accrual-basis form of accounting; it was $760 billion. That is a difference of $441 billion.
Now, John Snow, Secretary of the Treasury, in this report said: ``Including these future financial responsibilities in this report gives a more complete and
long-range look at the government's finances.'' That is the Secretary of the Treasury, appointed by President Bush. That is John Snow, in his words, which can be found on page 1 of this report.
Mr. Speaker, I yield once again to the gentleman from Tennessee.
Mr. COOPER. I thank the gentleman for yielding, because there are probably some listeners who are confused about cash-basis accounting versus accrual accounting. The simplest way to explain it is this way. If you were to look at giant U.S. companies like General Motors or Ford, they would be just fine today if you look at them on a cash basis because they are generating cash. But if you look at them on a more accurate basis, the way the stock market does and the way investors do, you will see that a cash basis ignores future obligations. For example, for retirees, for health care, for other benefits and obligations that should be kept and that have to be acknowledged.
That is what accrual accounting does. And lest people be confused, accrual accounting is not cruel, the way it may sound. Accrual accounting is actually the most compassionate form of accounting, because cash-basis accounting forgets the retirees and the sick. Accrual accounting remembers them. And it is vital we remember all of our retirees and our sick because their health benefits matter, and we have to take them into account in this country.
I know the gentleman is about to show the rule for business. This is a tough rule, and I look forward to the gentleman's explanation.
Mr. ROSS. Well, every business in this country is required to use the accrual method if the business has inventory, if the business is a C corporation, or if gross annual sales exceed $5 million. So for any corporation, any business that meets one of these criteria, our government says you must use the accrual method of accounting.
Our own government, however, though requiring businesses to use the accrual method of accounting or you go to jail and get in a lot of trouble with the IRS, that is what the government says to businesses, but the government says, well, that makes us look like we are being even more fiscally irresponsible than we want, so we will not use this accrual business. We will go back and trick the taxpayers by using the cash basis of accounting.
At this time, I want to recognize a real leader within the Blue Dog Coalition, my friend and colleague from Georgia (Mr. DAVID SCOTT).
Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. It is great to be with you, Mr. Ross, and with my colleagues from the Blue Dogs and our distinguished cochairman.
I think this startling information that you have just made known to the American people speaks to the fundamental issue at hand, and it is, in one word, security. Financial security. We cannot have national security if we do not have financial security. We cannot even have homeland security if we do not have financial security or health care security. Whatever our security is, it is anchored in financial security.
With security comes the word ``confidence,'' and you have just shattered that realization by bringing this information to the forefront and revealing how badly we need to restore the confidence of the American people for this government's ability to handle their financial security.
But I will tell you something that really adds and complements what you have brought to the American people tonight, because I have a bit of information that ought to be startling as well. As we look at this report, as we basically see firsthand that the books have been cooked, so to speak, by this revealing document, which almost doubles the $319 billion deficit, because now we know it is $760 billion deficit by the words of the Treasury Secretary, but let me add this to this important discussion we are having this evening.
I do not believe the American people know that this President, President Bush, has borrowed more money from foreign governments in his 5 years than all of the preceding 42 Presidents in the history of this country.
I know the American people are shaking their heads and asking, is he saying what I think he is saying? Let me repeat it.
President Bush has borrowed more money from foreign governments in his 5 years, since 2000, since he first took office, than all of the preceding 42 Presidents from 1789 to 2000, 211 years. Here are the figures. From 1789 to the year 2000 of our Nation's history, 42 U.S. Presidents borrowed a combined $1.01 trillion from foreign governments and foreign financial institutions, according to the Treasury Department.
And now, just in the last 5 years, President Bush has borrowed a staggering $1.05 trillion, larger than the total from all the previous 42 Presidents. If that does not tell you we have a crisis here, I do not know what does. And you combine that with this information that our co-chairman has brought to us about how the books were cooked; and, in fact, according to the more accurate accounting procedure, it is more than $760 billion.
It is remarkable. It is phenomenal. The American people deserve the truth. We have got to give it to them because, as the Bible says, you should know the truth. It is the truth that will set you free. We are going to set America free tonight.
Mr. ROSS. I thank the gentleman from Georgia (Mr. Scott) for his knowledgeable input about this debt and deficit and budget process. I might add, in defense of the President, the President, during his tenure in office, it is true that he has borrowed more money from foreign central banks and foreign investors than the previous 42 Presidents combined. But in fairness to the President, he could not do that alone. It took this Republican majority in this Congress to give him a budget to allow him to continue to raise the debt limit to allow him to borrow more money in the last 5 years than the previous 42 Presidents combined.
I think the American people are starting to get it at the youngest of ages. My teenage daughter was reading the paper today and she sent me an e-mail, and I will just read to you what my teenage daughter said after reading the paper this morning. She wrote, ``I read that they are wanting to increase the limit of the debt. Please do not let them do this. Make them start paying it back.'' That is a message from a 17-year-old junior in high school who is concerned about the reckless spending, the fiscal irresponsibility going on in our government because it is her generation, it is our children and grandchildren's generation that gets saddled with these bills.
I encourage folks every Tuesday night, as members of the Blue Dog Coalition, we are here on the floor talking about fiscal responsibility and about our ideas to balance the budget. We have a 12-point plan for meaningful budget reform that will allow us to have a balanced budget and allow us to get our fiscal house in order.
For folks that are interested in e-mailing us their thoughts, opinions or questions, I encourage them to do so at BlueDog@mail.house.gov. We are the Blue Dog Coalition, 37 members strong, fiscally conservative Democrats that are here to hold this Republican Congress responsible for a record deficit and a record debt.
Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Cooper).
Mr. COOPER. Mr. Speaker, let me say amen to my friend's comments from Georgia. That was outstanding.
I have the pleasure of serving on the Budget Committee and this week, probably on Thursday, we will start marking up the budget for the United States of America. That is one of the most serious responsibilities that we could ever undertake. It is an incredibly complex document and process. You are talking about $2.7 trillion. You are talking about not only all the defense programs, you are talking about Social Security and Medicare and a world of other programs, parks, agriculture, you name it; everything that the Federal Government is involved in.
In the span of a few short hours, we will be able to offer a few amendments, and we try to do this on a bipartisan basis. It is hard, but let me report on what happened last year in last year's markup.
I offered a number of the Blue Dog amendments as part of our 12-point plan for reform. They were individual, commonsense measures such as, for example, getting a cost estimate on every bill here so we know the cost of what we are voting on; having a recorded vote so that the members of this body go on record when large amounts of money are spent. We were one of the first groups in the country to go ahead and require transparency for earmarks so the public, everyone, would know what individual spending items were being requested. But probably, most importantly, we favored domestic spending caps so budget spending could not keep going up and up, and a pay-as-you-go approach so expansion of government was paid for, so that this generation paid our obligations, so we did not saddle future generations, including our men and women in uniform, with these terribly burdensome debts.
I offered that last year in the Budget Committee markup. My amendment passed on a 19-17 vote because four brave Republicans were willing to cross over and endorse a commonsense measure like that. But then the chairman of the committee realized that common sense had prevailed, and he leaned over and twisted the arm of a freshman Member of Congress and forced that gentleman to change his vote right in front of everybody. So then it was not a 19-17 victory for our side and common sense, suddenly it turned into an 18-18 tie, and, under the rules of the committee, you lose on a tie vote.
That was as close as we came last year to getting some of these commonsense principles involved. Even most State legislatures have rules like the ones I am describing. Most Americans would be outraged to learn we do not have these rules here.
We are going to try a similar approach on Thursday. I hope we prevail, and I hope Americans will tune in to see what happens, because we do try to work on a bipartisan basis. The Blue Dogs are Democrats and we are proud of that, but we reach across the aisle.
In fact, tonight, most of the Special Order is devoted to revealing the Republicans' Treasury report, because they did not want it to get the publicity that it deserves. This is one of the most important documents of government, and I have yet to meet another Member of Congress who knew about the existence of this document. It has been required by law to be published for over a decade now. Senator John Glenn of Ohio was the first person to author a bill to get this done. The former Secretary of Treasury, Bob Rubin, and the Clinton administration, championed this document. Back then the news was good. We were headed toward surpluses, and we achieved surpluses. But in the last 5 years, this document has been buried deep underground. I think it is high time we brought it above surface.
Mr. ROSS. I appreciate the co-chair for policy of the Blue Dog Coalition and a very important member of the Budget Committee bringing to the taxpayers' attention this little-known document, the financial report of the United States Government. Again, our debt is $8,270,909,436,190.
Now, as members of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, we do not come here on Tuesday nights to simply complain about how this Congress is out of control with its spending without also offering a solution. As the gentlemen from Tennessee and Georgia mentioned, we have a 12-point reform plan to cure our Nation's addiction to deficit spending. And I can tell you, one of the problems that taxpayers in this country have with this debt and with these deficits is the lack of accountability. I want to talk about that for a moment.
Some of you have heard this before and I am going to continue to talk about it until every one of these 11,000 fully furnished, brand new manufactured homes sitting in a pasture in Hope, Arkansas, get to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita.
Mr. COOPER. Are those the famous FEMA trailers?
Mr. ROSS. Those are the FEMA trailers. FEMA has spent an estimated $431 million of our tax money purchasing some 11,000 brand new, fully furnished, manufactured homes.
Mr. COOPER. Who is living in those homes?
Mr. ROSS. Nobody. Here is the story. FEMA shows up in Hope, Arkansas, my hometown. I now live 16 miles down the road in Prescott, Arkansas. They show up at city hall and say, we understand you have these inactive runways as a result of World War II. We want to use them as a so-called FEMA staging area.
The idea was these manufactured homes were going to come into Hope and then go to the people who lost their homes and everything they owned as a result of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita. They started coming. They started coming in October, and they came and they came, but they never went.
So as a result of that, 25 percent of them now sit on these inactive, closed military runways, and 75 percent of them are sitting in a cow pasture. That is 11,000 brand new, fully furnished, manufactured homes sitting in a pasture in Hope, Arkansas, and FEMA owns them, they have already bought them. And FEMA at the same time is spending our tax money to provide housing in hotels and motels for some 12,000 storm victims.
If that is not enough, we all know about the tent city that is set up near Pass Christian, Mississippi, where families in the winter are living in a tent while FEMA has 11,000 brand new, fully furnished manufactured homes sitting in a cow pasture in Hope, Arkansas. That is an aerial photo of some of the 11,000. There is the barbed-wire fence, and there are the manufactured homes. Most of them are 14 feet wide, 60 feet long. Some are 80 feet wide. And now that the drought is about to end and the rains are starting to set in, I do not have to tell you that they are going to be sinking. They are going to be sinking. They are going to be damaged.
What is FEMA's response? Oh, no, not to get them to the people that need them, the people living in hotels and motels and tents 6 months after the storm. Their response is we are going to spend $6-8 million graveling this 290-acre cow pasture so we can store these manufactured homes for a future disaster. FEMA refuses to move these manufactured homes into a flood zone.
Normally I would say that makes sense, but the reality is in this instance, everybody that lost their home as a result of Hurricane Katrina lost their home because they lived in a flood zone. FEMA says if you have land, we will give you a manufactured home. Everybody that lost their home as a result of Hurricane Katrina, they had land but it is in a flood zone. That is why they lost their home.
Mr. Speaker, I appeal to the President and to the director of FEMA, what is worse, to have 11,000 brand new, fully furnished manufactured homes spread out over Mississippi and Louisiana and Alabama with the storm victims who lost their homes and everything they owned in a bunch of different flood zones, or have them all grouped together in a cow pasture at the Hope airport, an area prone to tornadoes, an area that is going to have a tornado warning probably about every 10 days for the next 3 months?
Mr. Speaker, I am going to come to the floor of this Chamber and talk about this until FEMA gets moving, until FEMA comes to Hope, Arkansas, picks up these 11,000 manufactured homes they have purchased, and gets them to the people who desperately need them, people who for the sixth and seventh month in a row are living in hotel and motel rooms, people who are living literally in tents in Pass Christian, Mississippi.
This ran on the front page of the Arkansas Democratic Gazette back in December. I do not know if this gentleman is still living in this tent or not. He was in December. I can tell you about 100 families are living in tents in Pass Christian right now. It is appalling to know as a country we are allowing people to live in tents. He has found a job. He is back at work, doing the best he can for himself and his family. He is waiting on housing, and yet we have 11,000 brand new, fully furnished, manufactured homes purchased by FEMA, sitting in a cow pasture in Hope.
Mr. Speaker, I submit that as a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, this is the kind of government waste that turns people off. I grew up in a little country church outside of Prescott, Midway United Methodist Church, and I heard a lot of sermons about being a good steward, and I can tell you FEMA is not being a good steward of our tax money with what they are doing. It is a total disgrace. It is an outrage.
Mr. Speaker, I yield to Mr. Scott.
Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, Mr. Ross has so eloquently stated the great failure in our American government today. The whole situation of Hurricane Katrina marks one of the darkest spots in American history. But there is a pattern here of a lack of response. There is a pattern of whatever it goes through, security, homeland security, national security. Hurricane Katrina is just one example. We need look no closer than our port security. What a debacle.
That same kind of lack of proper research, proper debate, and you are absolutely right, a lackadaisical congressional leadership, a Republican leadership that simply has just bent over for this administration. We have made a mockery of what our Founding Fathers said we should be doing as checks and balances. That is why they set three branches of government: the judicial, executive and legislative branches.
It is our job to provide the oversight, the investigation, the enforcement arm, to be able to make sure that there is a proper check and balance. But this House of Representatives under this Republican leadership has all too often just caved in and caved down, and that is why we are in the shape that we are in today.
Now, if we can talk just for a moment, which I want to do, about this port security situation that again points up the same fallacies.
Mr. ROSS. It is about accountability.
Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. It is about accountability, and it is also about our budget. For example, if you remember, after 2001 Congress appropriated a total of $765 million for port security programs, including $173 million for FY 2006, to help our seaports adopt important security enhancements.
The Coast Guard came and told us they needed more like $6 billion. Yet, like last year, the President's budget once again proposed terminating funding dedicated to port security, and then turned right around and takes that $6 billion and says let's give it over here to a company that is owned by a country that has direct financial ties to terrorist organizations.
How do you figure this, that the President's budget would propose terminating that funding that our Coast Guard, the one main element we have checking our ports, asked for, advocate terminating it, and then turn right around and okay a deal that he says he did not even know about?
Now, the truth is plain here, and we owe it to the American people. There are some of us in Congress who are willing to stand up and tell the truth and deal with this, because our financial security is vital, is extraordinarily important.
I want to just touch upon one additional thing. I want to talk about just for a moment, as my good friend from Tennessee pointed to, this budget and the meanness of these cuts, but where they hurt the most are with our military families, are with our veterans.
I do not believe that the American people quite understand this or quite are aware that this budget would increase the health care costs for 1 million veterans. For the fourth year in a row, the budget raises health care costs for 1 million veterans by imposing new fees for veterans, costing them more than $2.6 billion over 5 years, and driving at least 200,000 veterans out of the system. That is what this budget does to our veterans.
It would double the copayment for prescription drugs from $8 to $15. That is what this budget does to veterans. It imposes an enrollment fee of $250 a year for category 7 and category 8 veterans, those who make as little as $26,000 a year. If increases health care costs for military retirees. The budget increases TRICARE health premiums for 3.1 million of the Nation's military retirees under 65. The premiums will double.
It fails to address the strain on our troops. I just returned from Iraq and Afghanistan. I was there talking with the troops. Despite recent reports of the tremendous strain that the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have placed on our troops, the President's budget fails to fund and plan adequately to recruit the number of forces that are authorized under the law to help with that strain. The budget would fund 17,000 fewer Army National Guard and 5,000 fewer Army Reserve than are authorized by law. But it does not just stop there. It goes on and on.
You talk about your folks in Hope, Arkansas, and what they are faced with. Let me tell you what my people are faced with so much in Georgia, in one county, Cobb County alone, just from the cuts in the Community Development Block Grant program.
This is what the President has proposed cutting: one center that is in great need of help in terms of being built and being sustained through the Community Block Grant program of $3.1 million, the Ron Anderson Center over in Powder Springs in Cobb County. Another center for senior citizens where they need it the most, cut out of this budget, another $2.5 million. Those community block grants are the lifeblood of many communities in Hope, Arkansas; in Tennessee; and all over.
Now, I mention this, as we will mention a few other things. There is so much in this budget that goes at the heart of cutting out almost the heart and the hope of our people.
You showed an extraordinary picture there a moment ago, Mr. Ross. You showed a victim down there under just a cover, all he had, just sitting there. It showed great hurt, great need. There is a great hurting and a great need of the American people, and we do not need to pass this budget that cuts the very programs that will help our people in need.
Mr. ROSS. Again, it takes a lot of skill for this administration, this Republican-led Congress, to give us the largest budget deficit ever in our Nation's history while also managing to cut all the programs that matter to people at the same time. How do they do that? By tacking on tax cut after tax cut.
Following us this evening, I am pretty confident that the other side will show up, which I think probably is an indication that we are making progress here in getting our message out about trying to restore some fiscal discipline and common sense to our Nation's government, and they will probably talk about how we had an opportunity to cut, to cut, $40 billion in spending and how we voted against it.
But what they will not tell you is that it was $40 billion in cuts to the most vulnerable people in our society. Medicaid, eight out of 10 seniors in Arkansas are on Medicaid. One out of five people in Arkansas are on Medicaid. Cuts to Medicaid, cuts to student loans to the tune of $40 billion, followed by what are we doing this week and next week? About $90 billion in additional tax cuts for those earning over $400,000 a year.
I wasn't real good at math back in high school or college, Mr. Speaker, but the last time I checked, $90 billion in tax cuts from borrowed money because we don't have a surplus and $40 billion in cuts from the poor, the disabled, elderly and college students equals $50 billion in new spending. Only in Washington would you entitle a bill that increases the national debt by $50 billion the Deficit Reduction Act. Yet that is exactly what we will probably hear more about tonight, just as we did last week.
I yield to the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Cooper).
Mr. COOPER. The gentleman makes an excellent point. I would like to challenge those who speak after us, if they even know about the existence of this ``Financial Report for the United States in 2005.'' I bet that no Republican in the House even knows this report exists, even though it is signed by the Secretary of the Treasury, it is an official U.S. Government document, and it reveals the true deficit for America last year as being $760 billion.
If my friend would put back up the Blue Dog debt and deficit sign, please, I think it is very important that people compare that. Those numbers are truly staggering, $8.2 trillion debt; and your individual share back home is $27,000 for every man, woman, and child.
But, guess what? That is the good news. If you look at this document from the Department of Treasury, guess what our real debt is? It is not $8.2 trillion. I wish it were. It is a staggering $46 trillion. That is an unimaginable figure, $46 trillion. That is an unimaginable sum of money.
But get this: every American's share, every man woman and child in this country, the share isn't $27,000 like you have on your sign; the share is $156,000 apiece. For every full-time worker's family, the share is $375,000 apiece.
Mr. ROSS. If the gentleman would yield, the point is we are not trying to make this any worse than it is. We wish it wasn't bad. We wish we had a balanced budget. We wish the debt was being paid down. We wish we were not deficit spending. We don't have to try to make the numbers any worse than they already are. They already are setting records.
Just to clarify, the difference between these numbers and your numbers, the difference between the numbers in the budget and the numbers in the financial report of the United States Government is basically this simple: our government, our budget uses a cash-basis form of accounting, which gets you to these numbers.
Mr. COOPER. Which is illegal for most every business in America.
Mr. Ross. Yet our very government, which uses a cash-base form of accounting, requires every business in America for the most part to use an accrual base of accounting.
Mr. COOPER. This is real accounting, and people back home need to know that for every working family, it is a $375,000 obligation already. So what the gentleman is talking about, this $27,000, that is the price of a pretty nice car. This is the price of a luxury home. This is what every working family already owes to pay for the promises this Congress and this administration have already made for our Social Security beneficiaries, our Medicare beneficiaries, so many other good and worthy programs.
As my friend, the gentleman from Georgia, pointed out, today we are having to borrow most of this money from foreign countries. President Bush has borrowed more money himself from foreign nations than all previous Presidents in American history combined. That is a staggering thing to comprehend.
I appreciate the gentleman yielding.
Mr. ROSS. Based on the accrual-basis form of accounting, the real United States deficit in 2005 was $760 billion.
Mr. COOPER. Over twice as large as the administration will admit.
If the gentleman will yield for one more moment, the Director of Office of Management and Budget, Josh Bolton, says the deficit is only $319 billion; it is actually getting smaller, it is turning up. He says the President in just a few years will cut the deficit in half.
That is according to the cash basis. According to accrual, according to real accounting, guess what? The deficit is $760 billion, and getting bigger all the time. So it is going in the opposite direction from what Director Bolton says. So who do you believe, Director Bolton of the OMB, or the Secretary of the Treasury, John Snow?
I think the American people need to know that both of these documents exist, both of them are official U.S. Government documents, put out by the Republican administration; but this is the one they have tried to keep hidden from the American people.
Mr. ROSS. A highlight from the financial report of the United States Government, this official government publication, you can find this on page 23, of the 26 agencies scored under the President's management agenda, 17 of them were deemed to have ``any of a number of serious flaws when it comes to financial performance.''
Then you go on to page 28, and this is a quote from David Walker, the Comptroller General of the United States of America: ``The current financial reporting model cash-basis accounting provides a potentially unrealistic and misleading picture of the Federal Government's overall performance, financial condition and future fiscal outlook,'' which is exactly why our government requires businesses to not use the cash-based form of accounting, rather accrual-based form of accounting.
Yet when you hear from our government, they never want to quote this report. They want to report the budget which uses what the Comptroller General of the United States refers to as an unrealistic and misleading picture, through the cash-based form of accounting.
I yield to the gentleman from Georgia, Mr. Scott.
Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. When you combine this with the startling revelation that half of this debt is being held by foreign countries, I go back to that word ``security.'' Is it in our best security interest to have our financial well-being held in the hands of foreign countries? That is about as ridiculous as holding our port security in the hands of a foreign company owned by a country that had terrorist dealings, that provided nuclear materials to Iran, a country where two of the hijackers came from. This word ``security'' needs to reverberate throughout the American psyche.
We are depending too much on our financial security and our national security and port security from foreign interests. We Americans need to control our ports, and we need to have Americans at ports where they are originating shipments coming in.
And we need to check 100 percent of our cargo. Mr. Ross, if Hong Kong can check 100 percent of its cargo coming into its ports, and it checks 22 million cargo pieces a year, we check only 11, Hong Kong is not even a terrorist target and we are. Hong Kong checks 100 percent.
They are not a terrorist target; we are a terrorist target, do not check but 5 percent. As Ethan Hunt said in Mission Impossible, the NOC list is out. It is out in the open. They know that we do not check but 5 percent of our cargo.
But the point I wanted to make in terms of the foreign lenders is, because I think it is important, Mr. Ross, that the American people know who is holding our debt. Let me just tell them for a minute. Japan holds $682.8 billion of our debt.
Communist China, Communist China holds $250 billion of our debt. Great Britain, $223 billion. The Caribbean banking centers, $115 billion; Taiwan, $71 billion; OPEC countries, $67 billion; Korea, $66 billion; Germany, $65 billion; Canada, $53 billion; Hong Kong $46 billion.
This is not in the best interests of the security of this country and it has to change,
Mr. ROSS. The gentleman is so right in his assessments. We do need to be borrowing money from foreign central banks and foreign investors. And, in fact, I believe it should be an American company that manages our ports. And with the cuts, we know what has happened in terms of our country becoming way too dependent on foreign oil.
And yet, if we are not careful with the proposed cuts to agriculture, we are going to become dependent on foreign countries like Brazil for our food and fiber. Let me tell you, Mr. Speaker, I submit to you that having a safe and reliable source for food and fiber here at home from America's farm families is every bit as much critical to our national security as oil is.
Now, the gentleman from Georgia made some good points. And, you know, this is not partisan debate. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue. It may be the first time in 50 years the Republicans have controlled the White House, House and Senate. It may be the Republican leadership that has given us the largest budget deficit ever in our Nation's history for the sixth year in a row.
But it is not a Democrat or Republican issue, it is an American issue, because this debt, this reckless spending, affects all of us as citizens of this country and as taxpayers. And, Mr. Speaker, we are all citizens of this country, first and foremost.
But to validate what the gentleman from Georgia is saying, again I quote from David Walker, the Comptroller General of the United States of America, found on page 28 of the Financial Report of the United States Government for 2005, ``Continuing on this unsustainable path will gradually erode, if not suddenly damage our economy, our standard of living, and ultimately our national security.''
He goes on to say, ``More troubling still, the Federal Government's financial condition and long-term fiscal outlook is continuing to deteriorate.''
And I cannot thank the gentleman from Tennessee enough for making the people of this country aware of this little-known document. I yield to the gentleman from Tennessee.
Mr. COOPER. Mr. Speaker, you know the 9/11 Commission did a great job in their report. It became a best seller. It was in bookstores all over America, because everybody in America wanted to find out what really happened on that terrible day.
You know, this is a lot like the 9/11 Commission report, because it is very readable, and it needs to be in every bookstore in America. And yet hardly anyone in Congress has seen it, hardly anyone in the Senate has seen it. Everybody needs to read this document, because it is the annual report for America.
It reveals the terrible truth that the real 2005 fiscal deficit for America was not $319 billion, it was $760 billion. And every living American worker already today owes $375,000 apiece. That is what this document says. It is not thick. If you do not find it in the bookstore yet, and it will be months probably before that happens, take it off the Web site.
Look at the BlueDogDemocrats.dot.com. If you do not trust our Web site, go to www.gao.gov, that is the Government Accountability Office, or download it from the U.S. Treasury Web site. But this is a truly startling and amazing document, and hardly anybody even knows it exists.
So I encourage folks not to take our word for it, go look at it yourself and see what you think about the fiscal finances of our country after you read this book.
Mr. ROSS. Now we have about 6 or 7 minutes left this evening to talk about being good stewards of our tax money, about being good stewards of the public trust.
But as I promised at the beginning of this hour, our national debt, about an hour ago, was $8,270,909,436,190. In the last 60 minutes, our national debt has gone up approximately $41,666.000.
Mr. COOPER. Forty-one million dollars in an hour?
Mr. ROSS. In 60 minutes, in 1 hour, our national debt has increased to the tune of approximately $41,666,000 and some change. And so you can see an hour ago what the debt was: $8,270,909,436,190. That is no longer true. It is now $8,270,951,102,190.
Mr. COOPER. That much damage was done to our Nation's future just in 1 hour.
Mr. ROSS. In the last hour.
Mr. COOPER. And that will continue every hour, every night.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT