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Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2012

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, D.C

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Mr. DUFFY. Madam Chairwoman, as a freshman in this House, it has been unique to sit and see one of the age-old tactics that takes place, scaring seniors, not to move the ball down the
field, but for political points. The gentleman was just referencing Medicare and telling the American people that it's not broken, that it's going to continue to work.

These are CBO charts. If you take a look at them, it's broken. We can't afford it.

We have to reform this program to save it, and to deny that is trying to scare seniors for your own political gain, and I think that's shameless.

Mr. GARAMENDI. Will the gentleman yield?

Mr. DUFFY. No, I won't.

I think we have to be honest with the American people, come out and say you know what, this is a program that if we can reform it, we can save it for our retirees. But not only that, those who are about to retire, 55 and older, we can save the program for them as well. And we can modify the program for those of us in later generations.

But let's not try to scare our seniors tonight and tell them that this plan is going to take away their care, because it's not. This plan, and its proposal, is that those who are 55 and older are going to continue to get the same plan that exists today.

The reforms are for future generations, and with those reforms we are guaranteeing that current retirees get the benefits that we promised them. If you say you care about our seniors, you would join with us, and we would all work to resolve this issue and make sure our grandmas and our grandpas continue to get the benefits that our country has promised them.

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Mr. DUFFY. Madam Chairwoman, in reference to one of the charts we just saw from the gentleman from California, I found it interesting that he laid out many different debts and deficits from prior Presidents, but the one he failed to present to this House was the one from President Obama. On the day that the President took office, we were projected, over the course of 10 years, to borrow $1.8 trillion, from the CBO, and today we are projected to borrow $9.4 trillion. We have inherited now a fiscal mess.

Let's review where we're at. This country owes $14 trillion. This year we are going to borrow $1.6 trillion. Last year we borrowed over $1 trillion. The year before that we borrowed over $1 trillion. Let's look out 10 years. For the next 10 years, on average, we're going to borrow $1 trillion every single year. This is unsustainable. We cannot continue on this course.

Listen, I wasn't a big fan of President Bush's spending, but his biggest year of deficit spending was $460 billion. That pales in comparison to the $1.6 trillion we're going to borrow today. I mean, I know we've all seen these charts so often, but this is our debt chart from the CBO. We have a sea of red, a sea of debt that we are going to leave off to the next generation. This is unconscionable.

What does this mean for future generations? This means higher interest rates. This means massive tax increases. This means a lower standard of living for our next generation. And I guess I will present to this House, if you were to ask your grandma and grandpa what they thought about leaving this off to our next generation, they would be outraged. They would be furious that this is their legacy, that this is what their grandchildren are going to inherit. We need to fix the problem.

Let's talk about the budget proposal that has been made.

Congressman Paul Ryan and the Budget Committee, they propose reducing spending by $6.2 trillion over the course of 10 years. Yes, they also talk about tax reform, a fair, flatter Tax Code. And you know what? We have to realize this isn't 1980. We are in a global marketplace. We compete against China and India, Mexico, Vietnam.

And you know what? This isn't just against Kansas and Kentucky. We have to engage. We have to have an environment where our businesses can compete, succeed, and win. And when they do, who benefits? The people that benefit are our families because they have jobs, they have opportunity. But if we build walls around this country with more mandates and more regulation and more taxes, we are going to see more businesses go overseas and fewer jobs for our families. And as we've been talking about tonight, we will have less revenue in the Federal Reserve.

I've heard a lot this evening, Madam Chairwoman, about Medicare and a lot of demagoguery across the aisle about what it's going to do. Let's be clear with the American people. Let's be honest with the American people that if we don't reform Medicare, the CBO says it's going broke in 9 years. We have to fix it. We have to fix it to make sure we can preserve it for our current seniors. So let's not sit here and scare people and tell our seniors we're taking away their Medicare. We are not. We are working on solutions that are going to preserve it.

And so when we talk about reform, to be clear, we're not talking about reform for our current seniors or even those who are about to retire. The reforms we are talking about are for my generation. And what's beautiful about this is if we reform Social Security, we get to guarantee the benefits for our current seniors, but then you allow me to plan for the benefits I'm going to have when I retire. And if we do it, we can succeed in this reform.

We've heard a lot about taxes as well. And so we all know here that the top tax rate, 35 percent, and a family who makes $350,000 a year falls into that tax category. And so I would, Madam Chairwoman, suggest to my friends on the left, why don't we do this. Let's bump that tax rate up--not to 35 percent, maybe 50 percent. No, let's go 100 percent. Let's take every dollar of a family that makes $350,000 a year or more, let's take every single dollar from them. And if we do that, we still can't balance the budget. So let's go to the next level. Let's go to the next highest rung of income earners, those who make $200,000 or more as a family. A mom makes $100,000; a dad makes $100,000. We would all agree they're wealthy. Let's take 100 percent of every dollar they make as well.

The Acting CHAIR. The time of the gentleman has expired.

Mr. BRADY of Texas. I yield the gentleman 1 additional minute.

Mr. DUFFY. And if you do that, you still can't balance the budget.

You cannot tax your way out of this problem. We have to reduce our spending. If we reduce our spending and we reform our Tax Code, we can bring prosperity back to this country. But to sit here in this House and tell the American people that we can tax our way out, the bottom line is you can tax every penny of every profit of the wealthiest Americans and you can't balance the budget.

Madam Chairwoman, I think we have to take a serious look at Congressman Ryan's budget. I'm willing to consider other commonsense solutions that are going to get this country back on track, but ones where we are going to demagogue plans and say we just have to raise taxes and not reform are not real solutions. That is going to give us more of the same.

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