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Public Statements

The Budget

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. WOODALL. Mr. Speaker, I've come down here to talk about the budget. I am a freshman on the Budget Committee. The President's budget arrived on Monday of this week. Here in the Budget Committee, we had the acting OMB Director with us yesterday, we have the Treasury Secretary with us today, and we're exploring this budget.

Now, I must tell you, Mr. Speaker, I may be a hard core conservative Republican from the Deep South, but I am grateful to this President for releasing a budget. A budget is a moral document, Mr. Speaker. It is a moral document that talks about what your priorities are for us, as a Nation.

Our rule book for the country is the Constitution of the United States. That's the rule book by which everything we do in this Nation must comply. The rule book for our finances is the budget that we pass each year. As we all know, as it has been said dozens of times before, the Senate has not passed a budget in over 1,000 days. The majority leader has said he was not going to pass a budget again this year. The Democratic Budget Committee chairman said, But I promised to pass a budget this year. The majority leader said, Well, you can pass a budget, but I'm not going to have it considered on the House floor. That's wrong. What the President did in releasing a budget this week, that's right.

I will tell you, there are a couple of things that need to be in a budget, Mr. Speaker. The budget needs to talk about spending restraint. I don't think there's a family in this country that believes the Federal Government is spending too little. Spending restraint must be a component of every budget. The President laid out his ideas this week.

Repairing the safety net, Mr. Speaker, making sure that the safety net that families depend on when hard times come, making sure that that safety net is resilient, that it is, in fact, a spring and not a cushion, that it is a pathway out instead of a lifestyle choice, those things are important. The budget should contain those.

Entitlement reform, Mr. Speaker, and I want to say earned entitlements, because the men and women of this country have been paying 15.3 percent of their income if they're in my generation, a little less in earlier generations, but they have been paying out of their paychecks to gain access to Social Security and Medicare. But those two programs, as we all know, are underfunded, are headed towards financial crisis, and a budget should talk about what your solutions are to restore faith in those programs for all Americans.

And tax reform, Mr. Speaker, tax reform, there's not a person in this country, Mr. Speaker, that likes the Tax Code the way it is. There's not a Congressman in this room who, if they sat down with a blank sheet of paper today, would craft this United States Tax Code to govern our Nation. It's in need of reform, and we can do that.

But, Mr. Speaker, of safety restraint, of repairing the safety net, of entitlement reform, and of tax reform, the President's budget was devoid of any--of any. Nothing to save Medicare for future generations. Nothing to protect Social Security for these generations and further. Nothing to change those safety net programs, Mr. Speaker, to ensure that they are that hand up instead of that handout. Nothing to build upon our work ethic that we have in this country by reforming the Tax Code and bringing businesses back to American shores.

I encourage folks to go and look at that budget. They can see it at www.omb.gov. That's the Office of Management and Budget. It's the White House Web site where they can view that budget. I encourage them to tune in to the Budget Committee, Mr. Speaker. We are, again, having hearings on that budget all week and will continue into the future.

And then I encourage folks to look at the process that happens here in this body, Mr. Speaker, where absolutely any Member of Congress can introduce absolutely any budget that expresses their priorities, an open process where absolutely all budget ideas are considered. It is a hallmark of this institution, Mr. Speaker. I welcomed it last year and was proud of the result of this debate. It was once the Paul Ryan budget, then the House Budget Committee budget, then the House budget for all of the land. I look forward to that process continuing again this year.


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