BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Ms. PELOSI. Madam Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding. I thank him; our ranking member on the Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Levin; and our ranking member on Budget, Mr. Van Hollen, for their leadership and the clarity they have brought to the debate on the floor today.
It's a curiosity what we have on the floor today. It's a subterfuge to distract from the matter at hand. Madam Speaker, once again, as has happened too often in the last 2 years, we have come to the floor at a moment when our Republican colleagues are threatening the full faith and credit of the United States of America and putting the stability of our economy on the line.
Too often, families and small businesses have faced uncertainty about the debt ceiling, funding our national government, our Tax Code, and the rest. Three months. Where is the certainty in 3 months? We should not even be having a debate. There should be no doubt that the full faith and credit of the United States will be honored, and that is what our Constitution says.
Too often, House Republicans have refused to acknowledge the negative impact of their action, choosing to return to the same tired, failed strategy, one that only serves to, again, weaken our economy and undermine our middle class. That track record must end.
Now, I'm hearing people say that we should go down this path of least resistance. That's what I call it. It's an easy way out, 3 months. But the fact is that that is a path to even more problems and, as Mr. Crowley has said, a path to another cliff.
Our country needs a clean, long-term debt ceiling increase and a bipartisan, balanced budget that protects Medicare and Social Security, invests in the future, and responsibly reduces the deficit. We all know that. We know that as we go forward to reduce the deficit we need growth in job creation, we need spending cuts, and we need revenue. Democrats have already agreed to $1.6 trillion in spending cuts. Democrats have already agreed to more than $1 trillion in Medicare savings to strengthen Medicare and to protect beneficiaries and not to affect their benefits. Democrats and Republicans came together to avert the fiscal cliff and raise revenues by de-linking the tax cut for the high end from the tax cut for the middle class.
We all agree that more can and must be done to get our fiscal house in order. But we must face the facts. Real, lasting deficit reduction will only be achieved through an approach that is balanced, fair, and focused on jobs and the prosperity of our middle class.
Unfortunately, this bill on the floor today fails to meet those standards. Americans and Members of Congress should remember two words about this legislation--two words: three months. Three months. That's how long Republicans are prepared to raise the debt ceiling. Today they really don't even address the debt ceiling issue--three months.
But Republican leaders are doing more. They have made promises to their fellow Republicans, to get their vote, to even go beyond the Ryan budget. This is like the Ryan budget on steroids. They have called this bill No Budget, No Pay. But who pays under the Republican budget? Seniors pay, ending the Medicare guarantee. Seniors, children, and people with disabilities pay, cutting Medicaid. Children pay because it will cut investments in their education, in their future, in their self-fulfillment, in the competitiveness of our country in the global economy. Veterans pay because of the gutting of our domestic spending priorities.
I don't think that we should ever link what we do here as to whether people get paid. We have a lot of work to do here. This linkage is a gimmick, it's a joke, and it's not right. It's designed to put people on the spot and say, you don't get paid, and in order to get paid, in order for Members of Congress to get paid, you must cut benefits for seniors and their Medicare guarantee, Medicaid and the rest. It's a false link. It shouldn't even be there in the first place, and it is wrong.
Again, this proposal is a missed opportunity. It does not relieve the uncertainty faced by small businesses, the markets, and the middle class. It is a gimmick unworthy of the fiscal and economic challenges that we face. This proposal does not have certainty. It does not have growth, and it does not have my support. I urge a ``no'' vote.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT