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Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, let me begin by expressing my appreciation not only to the gentleman from North Charleston for his superb management of this rule, but also to salute my friend from Lawrenceville, Georgia (Mr. Woodall), who serves from the Rules Committee to the Committee on the Budget.
We actually have clearly changed the entire trajectory with the budget that we are going to consider with this rule. And I should say that, as I listened to the exchange that took place between Messrs. VAN HOLLEN and KINGSTON earlier, we've changed the debate.
In the last session of Congress, Mr. Speaker, there was not a budget considered. We didn't go through this. Yet we are going to have every single substitute--from the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus, Mr. Cooper, the Democratic substitute--all considered, and we're going to have a free-flowing debate today and tomorrow on that.
Now, Mr. Speaker, let me just say that yesterday I stood here at 1:30 just as the President was getting ready to deliver his speech, and I indicated some real hope and optimism by virtue of the fact that early indications were that the President would be talking about the need for entitlement reform. I have to say that I was more than disappointed in the fact that the speech was a little more political than I thought it could have been, and it was at best a very first step, but a little too modest for my tastes.
Madam Speaker, it is essential that we work in a bipartisan way to take on the burden and the cost of Medicare especially, and Social Security as well. Why? So that we can save, not abolish, Medicare and Social Security. The American people have been compelled throughout their entire lifetimes to pay the FICA tax. They in fact should have an opportunity to have what are much needed health care and retirement benefits. And the course that we're on right now, Madam Speaker, has created a scenario whereby they will be lost. That's why we are working to save it. It can only be done, I believe, Madam Speaker, if we do it in a bipartisan way.
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