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Public Statements

America's Debt Crisis

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. ROBY. Mr. Speaker, we face a budget crisis in this country.

America is broke. Without bold action, our budget situation will get worse--not better.

We also face a severe economic recession. The current national unemployment rate is 9.0 percent, and it has been as high as 10.1 percent back in April 2009.

With so many Americans out of work, the federal government should be doing everything in its power to encourage economic growth, not discourage it.

Cutting spending is critical to creating a pro-growth environment. Cutting spending is essential to sustained, free-market job creation.

House Republicans are the only group in Washington showing leadership on this issue.

We have voted repeatedly to cut spending in the short term. And we have passed a budget that would reduce spending by $6.2 trillion over ten years.

By contrast, it has been more than 750 days since Senate Democrats even passed a budget.

Recently, Sen. REID said: ``There's no need to have a Democratic budget in my opinion. It would be foolish for us to do a budget at this stage.''

That is a breathtaking statement for two reasons.

First, the Senate is required by law under the Congressional Budget Act to pass a budget.

Second, working families across America live within their means everyday by following a family budget. It's simple: they don't spend what they don't have.

So I ask: Why shouldn't Democrats in the Senate live by the same rule?

Now the White House is asking us to raise the debt limit. Secretary Geithner wrote, ``Never in our history has Congress failed to increase the debt limit when necessary.''

The White House wants a clean increase in the debt limit. That means they want Congress to approve more debt without cutting back on any spending.

That is a failed policy. The vote we took tonight is a clear indicator that House Republicans reject that approach.

Our message is clear: We will not vote to raise the debt limit without significant reforms that change the culture of spending in Washington.

The American people already owe more than $14 trillion in debt. Much of it is owed to foreign nations, some of whom are hostile to American interests.

Allowing the government to take on more debt without cutting back on spending is simply irresponsible. Doing so would continue to erode America's financial strength and threaten the prosperity for future generations of Americans.

Raising the debt ceiling without spending cuts--akin to simply printing more money--would likely cause the value of the dollar to plunge and the cost of imports, especially gas and oil, to increase.

This would result in a significant increase to the cost of running a household or a business. The volatility and uncertainty would cause businesses to delay investing, growing, and creating new jobs.

The statutory debt limit was intended as a check on government spending. But what good is a debt limit that is always increased?

Instead of addressing the root cause of the growing debt, past Congresses have raised the limit ten times in the last ten years.

I, like many of my colleagues, were sent to Congress to put an end to that.

Our vote tonight is a tangible sign of the commitment we made to our constituents.

But the truth is that Democrats spent this money. They made this mess. They should help clean it up.

If the White House wants us to consider raising the debt limit, they should be at the table proposing significant reforms that yield trillions--not billions--in savings to the American people.

So far, that hasn't happened.

Tomorrow, the President has invited House Republicans to the White House to discuss the debt ceiling.

His request for a clean increase in the debt limit was rejected tonight. I hope that tomorrow President Obama will offer serious proposals to cure Washington's addiction to spending.

No lip service.

No gimmicks.

No smoke and mirrors.

The American people don't want more political posturing. They want transformational reform. They want commonsense leadership. They want discipline and fiscal responsibility.

I hope that is what the President proposes tomorrow. I look forward to evaluating his ideas.


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