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Public Statements

Freshman Republican Hour

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. LANCE. Thank you very much, Congresswoman Lummis, for your leadership. And certainly, it is a pleasure to be associated with this Special Order. And I commend you for your knowledge about what is occurring here in Washington. It's also a pleasure, always, to see our distinguished freshman colleague, Congresswoman Dahlkemper in the chair.

Madam Speaker, I rise today to draw this body's attention yet again to our ever increasing national debt. In the next day or so, we're going to be asked to vote to raise our Nation's statutory debt limit.

Back in April, the Democratic majority voted to raise the debt ceiling here in the House by $800 billion, and that would increase it to $13.29 trillion. That bill is still pending in the Senate. Now we are being told that due to the pace of spending of the administration and the congressional majority, an $800 billion increase in the debt ceiling will not be enough to get us through this fiscal year. We've been told that we will ultimately need to raise the debt limit by nearly $2 trillion, and that will be a total debt ceiling of roughly $14 trillion.

Some blame the previous administration and the previous majority for our current fiscal situation. The fact is that the $2 trillion increase needed for next year is roughly equal to the total budget deficits from 2001 to 2008. It is also true that prior to the onset of the economic crisis, the budget deficit had been decreasing for the previous 3 fiscal years, reaching a low of $160 billion in 2007.

2008 then saw a dramatic increase in the deficit as we started dealing with the fiscal crisis, and we hit a $454.8 billion deficit in 2008. Unfortunately, the deficit for fiscal year 2009, which ended on September 30, nearly quadrupled to $1.47 trillion due to the TARP program, as Congresswoman Lummis has explained, and spending in the stimulus bill and other aspects of spending this year. Now we are being told that for 2010, we must go another $2 trillion in debt.

I implore our colleagues to stand with us in insisting that we get this spending under control and do so now. The pace of irresponsible spending is not only unsustainable; it is dangerous to the long-term viability of our economy and, indeed, it is a matter of national security. This Congress must impose some kind of restriction on spending, and I will not be supporting any increase in our statutory debt limit unless it is directly attached to implementation of a bipartisan commission tasked with advising Congress on how to get its spending under control as quickly as possible.

I remain disappointed to hear that a $2 trillion increase may be attached to a bill to fund the military, including funding for our brave men and women currently serving in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. We all wholeheartedly support our military and believe it should be provided the funding it needs. The attempt, however, to use the military as a political tool to pass a potentially massive increase in our debt limit is terrible public policy. There should be an up-or-down vote on raising our debt ceiling.

As a matter of history, Madam Speaker, in this decade, in 2001 there was a budget surplus of $128 billion; in 2002 the deficit for that year was $157 billion; the next year $377; the next year $412; the year after that $318; the year after that $248; the year after that $160; and the year after that $454 for a total for the 8 prior years, from 2001 to 2008, of $2 trillion. That is 8 years. I am not excusing that. That is a great deal of money.

This year, however, in the fiscal year that ended on September 30, we had a 1-year deficit of $1.47 trillion. That's $2 trillion over the 8 years between 2001 and 2008, and in the fiscal year that ended this September 30, roughly $1.5 trillion. And that will be replicated again this year in the fiscal year in which we now find ourselves.

Mrs. LUMMIS. Will the gentleman yield briefly?

Mr. LANCE. Certainly.

Mrs. LUMMIS. And the consequence of what you're just saying, which is so critical to this discussion, is the chart that appears here. The interest payments on that debt create a checkmark. In other words, this is 2008, the beginning of this chart. And we were seeing a bit of a decline in the interest dollars that we were paying. But here we are, today, right here, the end of 2009, and from here on, because of that accumulated $2 trillion that you discussed over the earlier part of this decade, and then, the additional $1.4 trillion of this year alone, boy, those interest payments just take right off. And it creates this checkmark effect to the point that at the end of this chart, 2019, U.S. net interest payments over $800 billion.

My gosh, that is as much as the stimulus bill that we passed at the beginning of this year.

Mr. LANCE. Thank you, Congresswoman Lummis.

Madam Speaker, Congresswoman Lummis has pointed out what we are going to face over the course of this decade. And we have to pay our interest payments first before we feed any hungry children, before we engage in housing for those who need housing and jobs for those who need jobs. Before we even fund the military we have to fund our debt. It crowds out other needed spending. It also makes it much more difficult for there to be borrowing in the private sector, raising interest rates in the private sector to get this economy moving again.

It is also ultimately a matter of national security, because who is purchasing our debt? It is being purchased by foreign nations, by China, by Saudi Arabia and by other nations across the globe. And ultimately, he who pays the piper calls the tune. And this is a matter of national security. And undoubtedly the American people will recognize now what Congress has not yet recognized, and that is we have to get our Federal spending under control.

No one in Congress thinks that we can balance the budget this year. However, we need a glide path toward a balanced budget. And instead, we have a rocket in the other direction with ever-rising levels of annual deficits.

The Congressional Budget Office predicts that by the end of this next decade, our total debt may approach $20 trillion. That is simply unacceptable. It places an undue burden on the next generation. For the first time in the history of this country, there is an open question whether the next generation will have a higher quality of life than this generation. The promise of America has always been that each generation works as hard as possible to make sure that our children will have a higher quality of life. Whether or not we will have a second American Century here in the 21st century the way the 20th century was an American Century is now in question based upon this fundamental issue that confronts all of us in Congress, and that is the issue of out-of-control Federal spending and a massive debt that is increasing enormously.

Let me state, Madam Speaker, that in the 1990s, with a Democratic President, President Clinton, and a Republican Congress, we did a better job. In 1997, the annual deficit that year was $21 billion. The next year, there was a surplus of $69 billion, the next year a surplus of $125 billion, the next year a surplus of $236 billion, that's in year 2000, the last year of the Clinton Presidency, and in the first year of the Presidency of George W. Bush, a surplus of $128 billion.

I want to give credit to President Clinton. I also want to give credit to the Republican Congress then in power. And I think that it is a responsibility of the Presidency and the Congress working together. In the 8 years of the Bush Presidency, 6 years with Republican control of the House and Senate, there was a combined debt in those 8 years, let me repeat, of $2 trillion, and in this last year, the fiscal year that ended on September 30, we had in that 1 year a deficit of over $1.5 trillion. And this year, we're going to have that amount yet again. I implore the White House to get serious on this issue of annual Federal deficits and the overall Federal debt.

We, the Republican freshmen, want to do our part. We came here to reform the system. We want to reform the system in a bipartisan way. And Congresswoman Lummis is taking the lead for the freshman class on this, in my judgment, the most important issue confronting the American Nation, as important as reforming the health care system, as important as the burden that we share with others around the world, including the brave young men and women who fight in Afghanistan and Iraq. Because this, the debt issue, is a matter of national security as well as a matter of economic prosperity.

I yield back to the congresswoman.

Mrs. LUMMIS. I applaud the gentleman from New Jersey for his view that we need to have tied to an increase in the national debt a mechanism that will begin to address this problem. One of the mechanisms is one that you mentioned that you support, and that would be legislation that would create a commission to begin to advise us on this structural deficit. And this chart illustrates why this structural deficit is so much worse than it has ever been.

One of the points in this chart you brought up in your discussion, and that was a point right here, this is the years when we had the Clinton Presidency and a Republican Congress, and you saw tax revenues increasing over expenditures as a percentage of gross domestic product and creating the very surplus that you discussed. But what's really interesting about this chart is the fact that it runs from the 1970s, actually from the year 1969 to 2009, so it's a 40-year chart that compares spending to gross domestic product, taxes to gross domestic product, and then the deficit to gross domestic product. And the amazing thing is that when you look at gross domestic product, that is, the value of everything we produce in this country every year, and use that as your constant, so we're comparing that over 40 years to the way that Congress has spent money, the way that Congress has taken in taxes, and then to the deficit, what you see is remarkable stability, remarkable stability for 40 years. It has always hovered around a little over 20 percent of gross domestic product in terms of spending, and around 18 percent in terms of taxes.

So there has been a structural deficit for all those years of roughly 2.4 percent, meaning for about 40 years we've taken in a little bit less in taxes than we've spent. And so it has created some deficits over time. But even the deficits have hovered within that average of about 2.4 percent. The average then is this dotted line down here, remarkably stable over 40 years.

Now, look at what is happening in the future. These are projections. The sources are the Congressional Budget Office and the Office of Management and Budget. So we're talking about government agencies that are projecting this. Here is the line for where we begin the next decade starting in January. Spending and taxes separate dramatically. As you can see, the year 2009, which is illustrated by this tremendous separation right here, this is where we are now, and the reason we've taken in less taxes is because of the recession. But the reason that we've spent so much are all the bills that we discussed from the beginning of this hour. It has just become completely out of the realm of anything we've ever seen in the last 40 years.

So it creates a structural deficit, meaning a very, very wide gap going forward between taxes and spending. This gap is projected by CBO to be between 5 and 6 percent. That's more than twice of what it has ever been over the last 40 years. And it goes on and on from there. And so you can see this projected deficit in the decade coming forward, down here, is an enormous gap over what it has been. That is what you were talking about when you said, will we give our children a better country than we received? And there is a real question about that now. And that is why we have to address it.

I know you're on a committee where Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has come, as am I, and said, you've got to come up with a plan to deal with this problem, this specific problem, the structural deficit. This is the structural deficit. And it is caused by the mismatch between taxes and spending. And while we as partisans get under each others' skin by saying, Democrats, you have spent too much; and the Democrats saying, Republicans, you gave tax cuts at a time when we were at war. Well, we're both right. And now here we are. I yield back.

Mr. LANCE. Thank you, Congresswoman.

Madam Speaker, the fact that for a generation, spending has been at roughly 20 percent of gross domestic product for 40 years is noteworthy. And the chart that Congresswoman Lummis has is extremely informative and revealing. However, we are entering a new era where as a percentage of gross domestic product, governmental spending is rising dramatically to 25 percent. This is a significant and very disturbing difference. And the fact that over the next decade our projected deficits are so much larger than they have been historically as a percentage of gross domestic product is also disturbing. And in a bipartisan fashion, we have to have a glide path toward fiscal responsibility.

I think that it is impossible to balance the budget until we get out of this deep recession. But once we are out of this deep recession, and in my judgment we are still in the recession, because unemployment rates in this country are at 10 percent, the highest they have been since 1983, a generation ago--once we get out of this deep recession, we have to have a plan to make sure that we move toward the historic average of no more than 20 percent of spending in the governmental sector at the Federal level as percentage of gross domestic product.

My own view is that we need a bipartisan commission to advise us, like the BRAC commission regarding the closing of military bases, and then there can be an up-or-down vote on what is recommended by that commission here in Congress. Some oppose that, but do not provide an alternative as to how we are going to do a better job. And to do nothing is to condemn the next generation to a lower standard of living. It is to condemn the next generation of businesses across this country with much higher interest rates because the government crowds out private-sector borrowing.

The government is the borrower of first resort.

And of course ultimately it could mean a lowering of the credit rating of the United States of America. Obviously, we now have the highest credit rating, but there are some who predict that over time that will not occur. And also, there are some who predict that there should be a new currency worldwide, that the dollar should no longer be the currency that is favored across the world. Obviously, all of us in Congress, including freshmen Republicans who are discussing this issue tonight, favor a continuation of the American currency.

The dollar is the currency that is honored across the world, but the Chinese, for example, have floated the idea that there should be a new international currency, not the dollar, regarding international trade. This is as a result of the fact of these ever-rising deficits year in and year out and the result of the fact of an overwhelming Federal debt, now at $12 trillion. In the next week before Christmas we're going to be asked to raise it to $14 trillion.

We are not going to be asked to raise it on a stand-alone vote on that issue. It is going to be part of a bill related, I believe, to the military. I call again for a stand-alone vote on this issue, and that stand-alone vote, Madam Speaker, should include the establishment of some sort of mechanism to get a handle on this situation, this, the most critical issue confronting us not only economically but also as a matter of national security.

I yield back to the Congresswoman from Wyoming.

BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT

Mr. LANCE. Thank you very much for yielding, Congresswoman Lummis.

In 1982 and 1983, President Reagan established a bipartisan commission to deal with the issue of Social Security. Based upon that bipartisan commission, action occurred here in the Congress with the support of the administration that had the result of making Social Security solvent for almost a generation. We now have another challenge regarding Social Security, and particularly Medicare and Medicaid. I think we should replicate what occurred in 1982 and 1983 with a Republican President, President Reagan, and a Democratically controlled House of Representatives--and the Democratic Party controlled the House of Representative from 1954 until 1994, for 40 years. We should come together in a bipartisan fashion to establish another commission to deal with the enormous Federal debt. This commission could also have the responsibility perhaps to discuss and evaluate the Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security issues. Perhaps there should be a second commission for that.

But it is clear, based upon the chart that Congresswoman Lummis has in front of the Chamber, that Medicare and Medicaid are rising rapidly. The largest cohort is the baby boom generation, those born between 1946 and 1964. Those of us who are on the floor this evening are in that generation. Obviously, Congresswoman Lummis is at the end of that cohort, whereas Congressman Coffman and I are in the middle of that cohort. Let me say that it is the responsibility of us working together to address this issue.

Let me also say that we count funds that go into the Social Security Trust Fund as part of Federal revenues. If we had segregated them separately, our annual deficits would be even higher than they are. And when I state that the deficit for the year that ended September 30 of roughly $1.5 trillion--precisely $1.47 trillion--that includes the monies that are paid into the Social Security Fund. So if we were to place them in a separate pot of money, the annual deficit would be even higher than it already is.

Mrs. LUMMIS. Will the gentlemen yield?

Mr. LANCE. I certainly will.

Mrs. LUMMIS. Will the gentleman remind us to whom has the so-called Social Security Trust Fund been lent?

And I yield back.

Mr. LANCE. Thank you.

It has been lent to the fact that we are funding these programs that we cannot pay, and really the deficit is much higher than that. And Medicare will be in the red in the next several years, and Social Security not too far beyond that.

Mrs. LUMMIS. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. LANCE. Certainly.

Mrs. LUMMIS. Are you telling me that Social Security dollars that Americans paid into a Social Security Trust Fund have been lent to the Federal Government to spend on these programs we've been discussing tonight?

And I yield back.

Mr. LANCE. I thank you for yielding, Congresswoman.

Absolutely, 100 percent accurate. It is not going for the purposes for which it was intended based upon the Social Security program established in 1935. I do believe that those who established the Social Security program--Franklin Roosevelt, distinguished Members of Congress, including Sam Rayburn, Francis Perkins, the Secretary of Labor--that that generation would be appalled by how we use Social Security funds in this year of 2009.

And I yield back to the Congresswoman.

Mrs. LUMMIS. And I yield to the gentleman from Colorado.

Mr. COFFMAN of Colorado. Thank you, Congresswoman Lummis.

I think there is a fear of the American people, as well as some of us in Congress that are here tonight discussing this issue, and that is that the health reform bill that has passed the House and they are debating iterations of it over in the United States Senate, that both versions--the one that is being debated in the Senate that we're aware of and that which was passed in the House--plant the seeds for new entitlements. And so I think that the American people are distrustful because they know what government promised in terms of what the impact of Social Security would be. They can remember what the impact of what Medicare would be and how explosive the realities of those are in terms of Federal deficits, and now the rising debt for this country, and how damaging that will be. And so I think there is real concern, and that concern is very legitimate.

So I think that before the Congress of the United States engages in new entitlements, it needs to take care of the ones that we have and get them under control so that they don't totally envelop this country's budget and capacity to borrow.

Mrs. LUMMIS. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. COFFMAN of Colorado. Yes.

Mrs. LUMMIS. Is it true that the health care bill that passed the House of Representatives a few weeks ago accumulated about 10 years of taxes and fees to pay 6 or 7 years of benefits?

And I yield back.

Mr. COFFMAN of Colorado. Thank you, Congresswoman Lummis.

Yes, that's accurate. Because what it did is the--I don't think the benefits were effective until 2013, but the taxes started right away. And so it is deceptive in terms of saying that--you have to use some fuzzy math, some new accounting, new age accounting, to be able to say that it's deficit neutral.

Mrs. LUMMIS. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. COFFMAN of Colorado. Yes.

Mrs. LUMMIS. Are you saying that, then, 10 years of taxes are going to begin right away under the House health care bill and the benefits are not going to begin to be paid out until year 2013?

Mr. COFFMAN of Colorado. That's correct.

Mrs. LUMMIS. And so what happens at the end of 10 years?

Mr. COFFMAN of Colorado. Well, as in all, it seems, programs that Congress starts, unfortunately, historically they've been financially disingenuous, because at that point in time, clearly we are moving forward into a deficit situation.

Mrs. LUMMIS. You are telling me that there is going to be a structural deficit in the very health care bill that we passed, in addition to the structural deficit we have been discussing tonight?

Mr. COFFMAN of Colorado. Welcome to government accounting, and I think that that's unfortunate.

I would hope that the American people would grow to understand this particular issue and ought to express their concern to their Members of Congress, because we already have deficits and debts that are out of control, and I believe that can very well choke off the ability for this economy to ever recover because of interest rates and inflation that are derived from deficits, prolonged deficit spending. This is merely going to exacerbate the problem.

Mrs. LUMMIS. I thank the gentleman from Colorado for raising that point.

Mr. LANCE. This has the potential of bringing about generational conflict, because we rely on the working generation to fund programs through the taxes that they pay, not only the income tax, but also payroll taxes such as Social Security and Medicare. If the next generation, beginning in the workforce, is going to shoulder this tremendous burden regarding our debt, and, in addition, shoulder a tremendous burden regarding Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid, there is the potential of generational conflict.

It is incumbent upon those of us who serve here to make sure that that generational conflict does not occur. It is the height of irresponsibility and, might I suggest, it is, indeed, immoral to place on the backs of the next generation this ever-increasing Federal debt. This is new in its percentage.

As you have rightly pointed out over the course of the last generation, spending has been at roughly 20 percent of GDP. It is going to expand greatly, and the chart indicates, to 25 percent, and some have indicated--some economists have made it, increased it to 30 percent of GDP. That is a dramatic and unprecedented expansion.

The yearly deficit for the fiscal year that just ended on September 30 was the most amount of money, as a yearly deficit, as a percentage of GDP, since 1945 at the very end of World War II, when we were fighting for our existence and, obviously, during World War II, the most extensive war in the history of the human condition. We were in a situation where we had to have deficit spending.

But the fiscal year that ended on September 30, 2009, had the highest annual deficit as a percentage of GDP since 1945. Let me repeat: That I believe that in this new fiscal year that runs from October 1, 2009, until September 30, 2010, we are likely to have an annual deficit that approaches the $1.5 trillion annual deficit of last year.

This is simply unacceptable. Before we raise the debt ceiling, as the majority intends to do in the next week, we should have a fundamental discussion about where we are headed. We certainly should have an up-or-down vote in this regard.

I have written the Speaker of the House for an up-or-down vote. I am joined by freshman Republican colleagues in this request and, instead, we are likely to have a vote that is part of a larger appropriations act for the Defense Department.

Mr. COFFMAN of Colorado. Congresswoman Lummis, you and I were both State treasurers; you from the State of Wyoming, myself from the State of Colorado.

One thing that we had, I am sure that you had in the State of Wyoming, was a balanced budget requirement that every year we had to balance the budget. It created a sense of fiscal discipline where you had to make tough decisions in terms of tradeoffs. You simply couldn't have everything and drive your State into deficits and further into debt.

What is absolutely essential to have in the Congress of the United States is a balanced budget requirement where the tradeoffs have to be made, where hard decisions have to be made, where there has to be a reference point that at the end of the day, revenues have to equal expenditures. Without that, I really fear for the future of the country, I think, for the first time in my life, when we look at these deficits, when you look at the debt, when we think about the future of the country.

I know that Democrats have pointed to Republicans and said, well, you did it in the past. Now it's our turn.

Well, but, you know, I used to use that with my mother when I was growing up. I used to say all the other kids are doing it. My mother didn't buy it, and the American people aren't buying it today.

The American people aren't buying it, and they realize, I think, that they have unease about what is going on in the Congress of the United States. They have an extraordinary feeling of insecurity about what is happening in this country, not simply because the way the economy is right now, but they understand that the political class in Washington, led by the majority party, is pushing this country over a cliff, and the American people get it.

Mrs. LUMMIS. The alarm you expressed is shared by others. I would like to quote one sentence from this article to which I referred earlier by John Maggs in the National Journal, ``The Debt Problem is Worse Than You Think,'' for your reaction.

``Simply put, even alarmists may be underestimating the size of the problem, how quickly it will become unbearable, and how poorly prepared our political system is to deal with it.''

Your reaction?

Mr. COFFMAN of Colorado. Well, the tragedy of what I have seen in my first year here in Congress, as one of your fellow freshmen here, is that it is all about the politics of the moment. It is all about the immediacy of how can we placate the American people through spending and not the consequences of what's going to happen to the next generation.

The only thing is that it's done at such a rapid pace right now that it's going to envelop this generation even before it hits the next generation in terms of its adverse effects.

I just think it's extraordinary. Again, I believe that the deficits are such, and I think the American people are beginning to understand, that unless Congress can control its spending, that the ability of this economy to ever fully recover, that the consequences of this level of debt, in terms of higher inflation, in terms of higher interest rates, will choke off this economy's ability to ever fully recover.

In addition, the situation is so bad that internationally the focus is on the United States and the mismanagement of fiscal policy, where you have a country like China, the largest holder of U.S. public debt, foreign holder of U.S. public debt, stating their concern about what America is doing to itself.

Mrs. LUMMIS. Are you prepared to say that the Republicans were wrong when they simultaneously passed Medicare part D, the Bush tax cuts, and tried to sustain that during wartime. Are you prepared to say that?

Mr. COFFMAN of Colorado. They were absolutely wrong. There is no question about it.

Mrs. LUMMIS. I would like to ask the gentleman from New Jersey, do you agree with that? Do you think we were wrong?

Mr. LANCE. I campaigned last year against the policies, when it was a Republican President and a Republican-controlled Congress that had these deficits. I point out that over the 8 years there was a $2 trillion deficit. That was too large. It's even larger now, and we have to work in a bipartisan fashion to get this under control.

Let me also say that I commend both the Congresswoman from Wyoming and the Congressman from Colorado, both having been State treasurers, because you had constitutions in your State that required a balanced budget.

Unfortunately, in New Jersey, we have had a system where we have borrowed without voter approval for about 15 years. That was put to an end last November when we changed our State Constitution. My constitutional amendment, the Lance amendment, that prohibits further borrowing in New Jersey without voter approval. New Jersey is in the equivalent situation of California, and we have not discussed here the fact that there are quite a few States, including California and New Jersey, that have tremendous annual deficits.

Of course, this comes out of the other pocket of taxpayers' in these States, and taxpayers are burdened not only here at the Federal level but at the State level as well.

I certainly agree that we have to work in a bipartisan capacity. I also agree with my colleague from Colorado that simply because, in the first decade of this century, the 8 years from 2001 to 2008, there was a deficit of $2 trillion, that does not mean that we should continue on this route and, indeed, accelerate on this route of irresponsible spending. Two wrongs do not make a right.

I agree with my colleague from Colorado. My late mother, when my twin brother and I were children in the little town of Glen Gardner, Hunterdon County, New Jersey we would say other children are doing this. My late mother would say, I don't care what other kids in Glen Gardner do. You are not going to do that.

We have to acknowledge that, what occurred in the past, recognize that there has been overspending. There is overspending now. It has accelerated, a yearly deficit of $1.5 trillion, to be replicated, in my judgment, this year. This will mean leadership will pass to China or to some other Nation in the world. And all of the democratic values we share together, freedom of speech, in which I am now engaged, freedom of association together here on the floor of the House of Representatives, freedom of religion and all of the other values we share together, is ultimately based on American leadership.

We do not want that leadership to pass to some other place on Earth, to China, to India or to some other country as a result of these massive Federal deficits year in and year out and an overall Federal deficit now of $12 trillion and rising, based upon nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis, to $20 trillion in the course of the next 10 years or so.

Mrs. LUMMIS. It is the rare man who has a constitutional amendment named after him. The Lance amendment in New Jersey will help right the ship in New Jersey. We compliment you for that work.

We are now about to begin to summarize. I would ask the gentleman from Colorado to summarize this evening's discussion.

Mr. COFFMAN of Colorado. As freshmen we went to an orientation where part of it was on the financial crisis which has morphed into an economic crisis. And we had economists from all political stripes brief us. They said, You know, that it was right to do a stimulus, it was right to deficit spend, but it had to be very temporary. It had to end with 2010 because the economy was expected to improve and you didn't want public-sector borrowing colliding with a greater demand for private sector-borrowing.

It also said that it also needed to be timely and that it needed to be fast-acting. Unfortunately, it hasn't been. Also it needed to be targeted, and they differed about what being targeted was. But it was interesting, the fact that they all felt you had to start controlling the deficit by the end of 2010 or you were going to have dramatic effects on the ability of the economy to fully recover.

It seems that when we look at this $787 billion stimulus bill, more money, I think, will be spent in 2011 than has been spent this year. It hasn't been fast-acting. It certainly isn't temporary, and it goes on, and I would argue that it is not targeted, although the economists differed on what was targeted.

One thing they did say: They questioned if you went to the bureaucracy, if you chose government to be the stimulus, would it be fast enough? Could the government bureaucracy and the Federal Government move the money through fast enough? Clearly we have been able to see that it hasn't been able to get the money out the door to make a difference to the economy.

Mrs. LUMMIS. I wish to thank my Republican colleagues this evening, the gentleman from Ohio, the gentleman from New Jersey, and the gentleman from Colorado. We are hoping that in the next year we will see a bipartisan effort to address this problem.


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