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Motion to Instruct Conferees on H.R. 4297, Tax Relief Extension Reconciliation Act of 2005

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. Madam Speaker, I thank very much my distinguished friend from Tennessee. It is a pleasure and, quite frankly, an honor to be on the floor with you tonight to talk about this extraordinary problem and crisis that this country is faced with.

Without question, you are absolutely right. We cannot have national security if we do not have financial security, and we do not have financial security today. Now, let me just tell you and I hope the American people are paying attention to us tonight because we are here to state some important truths and facts about the financial health of this country, and our financial health is not well.

This President, this administration and this Republican-controlled Congress is heading us straight down the path of financial ruin and financial disaster.

Let me just give you one very salient point. Under this President, this Republican-controlled Congress, we have borrowed more money from foreign governments and from foreign interests than all of the preceding 42 Presidents in the history of the United States. Hear me again. If that does not wake you up and let you know that we are headed for disaster, this President, this Republican-controlled Congress has borrowed more money from foreign governments and foreign financial institutions than all of the preceding past 42 Presidents.

That means that since 1789, the very beginning of this country, to the year 2000, 211 years, through the Revolutionary War, through the foundation of the country, through the Spanish-American War, through the Civil War, through the Mexican War, through World War I, through a depression, through World War II, the Vietnam War, through the Korean War, through all of the upheavals, the economic downturns of this great country, through all of that, yet this President in the last 5 years has borrowed more money from foreign governments than all of our previous Presidents in this history. That is phenomenal. That lets you know that we are in serious, serious trouble.

As I have said time and time again, no greater founding father was there than Alexander Hamilton who founded the financial system of our country, and it was Alexander Hamilton who said, Woe be it unto this country if we fall under the heel of our finances being controlled by foreign interests. Alexander Hamilton himself was a foreigner, as were many of the Founding Fathers of this country. They understood that, and here we are today beholden on our financial security.

Here are the facts. In the last 211 years, from 1789 to 2000, under 42 Presidents, this country borrowed $1.01 trillion. In the last 5 years, under this Republican President and this Republican-led Congress, we have borrowed $1.05 trillion. That is not healthy. That is not the way you have got to go to have a solid country, and now we are here saying we are going to raise the debt ceiling so that we can borrow more. We are dealing with a budget that is ratcheted with devastating cuts time after time.

As the gentleman from Tennessee pointed out, just look at how this Nation is aching and hurting from the mismanagement of Katrina. Families still devastated, an entire important coastline of this country devastated.

And we cannot even deal with that. And some of the very programs, community block grants, being cut. Aid to our veterans, talk about national security, being cut by $2.1 billion. Help to our farmers, to help them with the drought, to help them with the devastation of Katrina, cut, all for the purpose of making unwise tax cuts to the top 10 percent of the wealthy in this country permanent at a time of such great uncertainty.

And then to borrow the rest of the money for the tax cuts from, guess where, from China, from Japan, from India and from OPEC. Now, let me tell you how serious this is, ladies and gentlemen. The U.S. is becoming too increasingly dependent on foreign lenders for our debt. We are handing over this country on a platter to foreign countries. The Dubai Ports deal was just the beginning, just the tip of the iceberg.

And I just want to say how proud I am to say I am a United States Congressman. Because finally this Congress stood up to this administration, both Democrats and Republicans, and said no, no more, and turned down that Dubai Ports deal. Can you imagine? How unwise, to turn our port security over. Even the thought of it.

And that is what disturbs me so much when we talk about security. When you talk about national security and financial security, that is the number one issue on the minds of America today. Two things: Can this government keep us safe as a country? Can they keep us alive? Can they keep our lives safe, and then can they keep our money safe? Well, you can't keep our money safe; you certainly can't keep our lives safe. And that is the particular situation we are in today.

Let me just tell you how serious this issue is. Foreign lenders hold a total of $2.174 trillion of our public debt. And quite honestly, in the last 10 years, they hold 90 percent of it. In other words, every dime that we are using for our government right now we are borrowing it from China and India. Japan, for example, now owns $682.8 billion of our debt. China owns $250 billion of our debt. England, the United Kingdom, owns $223 billion. The Caribbean Banking Center owns $115.3 billion. Taiwan, $71.3 billion. OPEC countries, OPEC, already in the Middle East we are so dependent on oil that they are holding us hostage on that now, but some of these same companies are holding our debt.

America, wake up. We have got to begin to step forward and take responsibility for our financial house. I am here to tell you there is nothing more important than keeping our money straight. Lord knows, if the American people across this country, if they ran their little families, if they ran their businesses the way we are running this government, it would be bankrupt.

So I am delighted to be here tonight to join with my distinguished colleague, Mr. Tanner, to talk about this issue. Because I believe that it is the number one issue facing the survival of this country. And let me just say this. If you look through the history books, JOHN, the history books are cluttered with the wreckage of so many great civilizations. And on the wretched bones of those great civilizations are written those pathetic words: Too late. They moved too late to save themselves.

Let us not move too late in this country. The American people are expecting us not to move too late, and we must not. And one of the first steps is to follow your lead and get some sanity. Let us instruct the conference committee to not increase the debt and let us not raise the debt ceiling limit.

Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. Madam Speaker, first, I want to respond to something my distinguished colleague from the other side said. Now you talk about smoke and mirrors. For him to say on our side that we are talking about raising taxes is so disingenuous. Nobody is talking about raising taxes. We are talking about fiscal responsibility and pay-as-you-go responsibilities.

We are saying that we do not want to cut vital services to the American people and then go borrow more money that we have to pay interest on. That, in effect, when you put it altogether, if anybody is talking about raising taxes, it is the Republicans. Somebody has to pay for this. You know who is going to pay for it, our grandchildren and our children based on their proposals.

No, sir, you are not going to be able to depend on Democrats this night that we are talking about raising taxes. Democrats are talking about keeping our taxes low and bringing fiscal responsibility back to this House.

You talk about responsibility. When Democrats were in control, when President Clinton was there, he left a several trillion dollar surplus. In just 5 years, this President and this Republican-led Congress has squandered that surplus. So when you talk about who is more responsible for the taxpayers' money, it is Democrats, not Republicans. And the American people are not going to be fooled by this smoke and mirrors of consistently trying to paint the Democrats as being for raising taxes and they for not. The Republicans are for raising taxes and raising the debt ceiling.

Madam Speaker, I want to show this chart. It is not as big as your chart, but the Republicans have increased the debt limit by $3 trillion. I have been here 4 years, and this is the fourth time that the Republicans have asked to raise the debt ceiling so they can borrow more money.

In June, 2002, they asked to raise the debt ceiling by $452 billion. In May, 2003, they asked to raise the debt ceiling by $984 billion. In November of 2004, they raised the debt ceiling by $800 billion, all of which we are borrowing against, against the best national security interests of this country, against the best financial security interests of this country.

Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I hope the gentleman appreciates the fact that I yielded him a minute to beat me up some more.

Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. Madam Speaker, will the gentleman yield?

Mr. RYAN of Wisconsin. I yield to the gentleman from Georgia.

Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. Madam Speaker, let me assure the gentleman it was not beating him up. He is a great gentleman, but it is some of the policies that have been emanating from the gentleman's leadership.

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