APPOINTMENT OF CONFEREES ON S. CON. RES. 95, CONCURRENT RESOLUTION ON THE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2005 -- (House of Representatives - March 30, 2004)
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Mr. COOPER. Mr. Speaker, the last point made by my friend from Texas (Mr. Stenholm) is entirely true. The House and the Senate have been under Republican control for some time now. The spending that has occurred on their watch exceeds the highest levels previously in American history, exceeded spending rate of growth under LBJ.
It is wrong for them to deny responsibility for the spending surge that has occurred. The Heritage Foundation, the CATO Institute, other conservative Republican think tanks have pointed out the spending explosion has taken place under their watch, under their leadership, with their votes. The vote we are about to cast on the motion to instruct is one of the most important votes that we will cast in this Congress or in many people's careers in this Congress because PAYGO, pay-as-you-go, is one of the most important principles that we have in this body to control spending and to get our deficit under control.
This is not a theory. It has worked and worked well beginning with the first President Bush through the Clinton administration to tame budget deficits.
But now we are faced with the largest budget deficit in American history. We need that same spending control device. It is not theory. Ask Chairman Greenspan, one of the great economists of our time. He could remember the very day that the previous PAYGO requirement expired, September 30, 2002, because that was a black day in modern American history. It basically told this Congress and the Republican majority, spend as you will.
We need PAYGO back and we need real PAYGO, not fake PAYGO, not play-go, not pretend-as-you-go. We need real PAYGO, the way our bipartisan Senate has passed it, so that we can get our budget deficit under control.
This is a kitchen-table issue. People back home understand it. I am happy to defend this in any civic club in America, because small business men and women, they understand they have to pay their bills. One has to pay their bills. They cannot understand why this Congress gets so wrapped up in some sort of ideology or something we forget to pay our bills, and that is why we have the largest budget deficit in American history going on today under Republican leadership.
We have to have PAYGO. It should have been passed in the budget last week. It was not. This is a chance to try to correct that mistake.
So I would urge my colleagues, men and women of goodwill on both sides of the aisle, to set partisanship aside, to think common sense again, to think kitchen table, to follow the advice of Alan Greenspan, to follow the leadership of the bipartisan Senate vote on this issue and have real PAYGO again. Pay as you go so that we will not increase our deficit anymore.
As my friend, the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Stenholm) said, we will stop digging the hole that we are in. It is already $521 billion deep. It is not just a 1-year hole. We are facing such a massive structural budget deficit that the President's own budget as submitted to this Congress said that the current path we are on is unsustainable.