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Mr. NEAL. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
Let me call attention to some of the statements that have been offered here.
Mr. Reed, the reason you were invited to the floor to manage this time as a freshman Member of Congress is very simple. You weren't here for the reckless ride that the Republican Party took during the 8 years of the Bush administration. That's why you're here and the other freshmen who have come to the floor. You weren't here for this tirade of spending.
You said you'd cut up the credit card. So we're going to cut up the credit card for the VA hospitals after 35,000 men and women have been wounded serving us honorably in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Now, look. I voted against the war in Iraq, and I voted against the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003. Now a fact, not opinion: Bill Clinton says goodbye, and there is a $5.7 trillion surplus. He balanced budgets four times in 5 years. It has only happened five times since the end of World War II.
The gentleman from Arizona (Mr. Flake) is one of the few Republicans who will come to the House with a straight face and say, Let me tell you how we got here. He knows how we got here. Mr. Gingrey is a friend, and he knows how we got here. You can't cut taxes by $2.3 trillion and fight two wars and honor the commitment we have to those men and women who have served us honorably in Iraq and Afghanistan. While I was against the tax cuts and while I was against the war in Iraq, I'm going to vote for those appropriations to take care of those veterans' hospitals. You don't cut up the credit card when they come back. You use good judgment before you send them off.
What happened here during those 8 years with the prescription drug benefit? What happened during those 8 years with weapons of mass destruction? What happened with tax cuts? By the way, the corresponding argument on those tax cuts is: Tax cuts pay for themselves? Well, guess what. We're staring at a $15 trillion deficit and debt because of those reckless fiscal practices that took place.
For the Republican Party to make these arguments today about this issue--which, by the way, Mr. Flake is correct about again--is but a charade. You meet your obligations. You pay your bills. That's what the credit card is about and not to pontificate in front of this Chamber today about reckless spending when, for 8 years, nobody had the courage on that side to stand up and say enough is enough.
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