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Public Statements

Spending Cuts in the Federal Government

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. Madam Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman from Missouri yielding, and I know that when he was referring to my medical expertise in regard to knowing that subject inside and out, no pun was intended when he mentioned that.

I do know a lot more about health care, probably, than I do about government spending, but one thing's for sure, Madam Speaker, as the gentleman pointed out: We are spending way too much money. And I think the figures today, this year, last year, we spent a third more than we took in. I mean, you know, we have a revenue stream from taxation of the American people, and yet we went beyond that by $1 trillion of borrowed money; and, of course, of the nondomestic creditors, the largest one is China. They hold a lot of our debt. They happen to be, now, the second largest economy in the world at $9 trillion GDP.

We had about a $15 trillion GDP, but the thing that is so scary and frightening about that is we owe $14 trillion. So our debt to GDP ratio is approaching 100 percent. So, you know, when we stand up, Madam Speaker, as we're doing right now and talk about this issue, we're almost in panic, and we should be because we're right on the precipice, right on the edge of becoming part of the PIGS acronym--Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, Spain.

And, you know, we point the finger at them. But goodness gracious, it's like the Bible scripture that I'm sure the Representative from Missouri probably knows by heart. But it goes something like, If you've got a plank in your own eye, you shouldn't be pointing out the speck in somebody else's. We've got a plank in our own eye. And this is why in this 112th Congress, we have a huge challenge, don't we, my colleagues? We have a huge challenge. We're up to it. We're up to it, and I hope that we are going to be up to it on both sides of the aisle.

Mr. AKIN. So let's say that we get what you've been working for, and let's just say by some great miracle that we were able to stop that ObamaCare. Now that would save a whole, whole lot of money, wouldn't it, in terms of--

Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. Well, reclaiming the time that the gentleman yielded to me, Madam Speaker. Absolutely. The gentleman from Washington, our esteemed colleague, a physician, Mr. McDermott was on the floor a little earlier talking about, well, what we were trying to do in repealing ObamaCare, or the formal recognition of that bill, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Mr. AKIN. I call it socialized medicine. That's easier, but go ahead.

Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. That's a lot easier, socialized medicine, Madam Speaker; but that's essentially what it is. That is essentially what the former majority party was pushing towards.

But the gentleman who spoke said, Well, it's a stunt. These Republicans know they can't repeal ObamaCare. And, furthermore, even if they did, it would be at a cost of $200 billion. And what I pointed out to him, Madam Speaker, as he was leaving the floor was, You know, that's really interesting. It's going to cost us $200 billion, if that's accurate, to repeal while it cost us $1.1 trillion to enact. So you can literally go broke saving money, can't you. And by golly, we're going to repeal it because that's what the American people want.

If we fall short in our efforts, despite 110 percent on this side of the aisle or, well, in this body and in the other body, then we have a backup plan B. And I know my colleagues would like to talk about that.

So I will yield back to the gentleman from Missouri, and let's continue the discussion.

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Mr. GINGREY of Georgia. Madam Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman yielding back to me. And I know we've got two other colleagues on the floor that want to speak. I can only stay for a few more minutes because of a prior engagement, so thank you for giving me an opportunity kind of in front of the queue, if you will.

But I'll tell you, one of the things in regard to how you cut, is it by picking and choosing, or in one fell swoop across the board?

You know, we just passed a bill, last vote of the day, in regard to our own budgets. And that was a 5 percent across-the-board cut, Madam Speaker, in our member representational account, our expense account that we're allotted each year to pay the salaries of our staff members, and to have a round trip flight back to our districts once a week. And those budgets vary a little bit, depending on, obviously somebody from California is going to have more travel expense than somebody like myself and Representative Graves from Georgia. But we just basically voted to cut 5 percent.

And I, quite honestly, and this question that has come up, Madam Speaker, my colleagues talk about, well, how do you do it? I just think we more and more need to look at this thing and say there are no sacred cows. And let these Departments make their case for why maybe there shouldn't be an across-the-board, 2 percent, 3 percent, 4 percent cut. I know I voted in favor of that every time it comes up on these appropriations bills. We didn't get to vote on any in the 111th Congress because our Democratic colleagues didn't get their work done. But this is something we need to really look at carefully.

I know that most people, Madam Speaker, are reluctant to talk about cutting Homeland Security and cutting national defense, particularly when we have two wars going on and certainly not wanting to cut the veterans benefits. But there's waste, fraud and abuse and duplication of things across every spectrum of this Federal Government. If we're going to get serious about it, we need to have an adult conversation.

And, Madam Speaker and my colleagues, that includes entitlements as well, because if we don't address entitlements, we're looking at one-sixth of the budget; and we're never going to get there just addressing that small portion of the budget.

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