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Public Statements

Expressing Sense of House Regarding Federal Budget

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. NUGENT. I would like to thank the chairman, Mr. Ryan, for allowing me to speak and allowing me to close. And I heard this is a sideshow. I don't think the American people see it as that.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to offer a resolution expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the passage of a fiscal year 2013 Federal budget is of national importance. You've heard it over and over again that this is the 1,000th day, 1,000 days, Mr. Speaker, since the Senate has not fulfilled its obligation. Think about all the things Americans have done and been able to accomplish in the last 1,000 days, and yet the Senate has failed to achieve this basic responsibility under the Budget Act of 1974.

It's astonishing. I've had two sons graduate from college, two sons go to war and come home again. Another son got married in that time period. And in that time, the citizens of Florida's Fifth Congressional District sent me to Washington to do this job to work for the American people.

That work undoubtedly includes passing a budget, as this House did on April 15 based on the leadership of Chairman Ryan. The Senate, on the other hand, hasn't produced a budget since 2009--I believe it's April of 2009--and didn't even bother to propose a budget this last year. The last time the Senate passed the budget, the CBO predicted that the deficit for 2011 would be $693 billion. In reality, it was twice, almost twice that, $1.3 trillion.

When I'm at home talking with people in my district, they're astounded that the Senate has not passed a budget in almost 3 years. They can't fathom how we can operate without a budget. In truth, Mr. Speaker, you've heard the other side even say that we haven't been operating smoothly. When I first got here, we had to do a CR. That's because we haven't done what we're supposed to do in the Senate and the House. The American people know that, and that's reflected in our approval ratings.

You see, in the real world, Americans routinely set budgets for themselves, their families, and their businesses. I had to set one when I was a sheriff. Unfortunately, the Senate doesn't operate in the real world. Rather, it has become a legislative graveyard, even for bills passed with bipartisan support.

The House, however, has acted. We've passed 27 bipartisan jobs bills that have been lost to the black hole that is the Senate. Some of those bills received an overwhelming majority of support. For instance, H.R. 1070, the Small Company Capital Formation Act, would allow small businesses to capture more capital in the early stages of their formation, and that passed in this House with 421 votes for and one opposed. That's a perfect example of legislation that should be public law, and it isn't because it's died in the Senate.

Now, I understand the Senate may not agree with everything in our bills that we pass, and that's fine. That's how the Founding Fathers envisioned it. But if you have objections, then put forth your own proposals and allow the normal process to work. Do not simply sit on the sidelines and decry every idea that comes out of the House of Representatives--ideas that we put forward.

In my opinion, there couldn't be a better example of putting politics before country than the Senate's refusal to pass a budget. Even those on the other side have said, it's a plan, we have to have a direction. That's what we ask. We don't have to agree on that direction; but at the end of the day, we have to have something to set our appropriators free to work with within the confines.

Rather than show Americans what priorities are, rather than show what they're willing to spend, where they want to cut and how much they want to increase taxes, and whether they believe our colossal debt is even an issue, the Senate has instead insisted on punting this issue entirely. This is not only a disservice to the American people; but, frankly, it's irresponsible. And when you hear them say the Republicans in the Senate are blocking a budget, you can't filibuster a budget in the Senate. The rules do not allow for it. So they could, if they wanted to, do their job and assist the American people in figuring out where they stand on issues of great national importance. Once again, we talked about spending, taxes, and how we move forward.

The Senate Democrats had the supermajority in the Senate, control of the House and the White House and still didn't pass a budget. I don't think it's too much to ask the Senate to produce a budget. I know Americans don't think so either.

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