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America's Future

Floor Speech

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. I thank the gentleman for those kind remarks.

I know that we all share in expressing how much we have enjoyed having these gentlemen with us. We also want to recognize someone. I want to yield to the gentleman from Florida, who has been with us for all too short a period of time. Mr. West is here for his last day on this floor. I know that each of us joins in saying thank you to him.

He came to this floor and, Mr. Speaker, he does not back down from the fight. I think that he runs toward that fight when it is a fight for freedom, when it is a fight for getting this government under control and returning us to our constitutional principles, because he is a constitutional conservative.

As we have, this week, stood on this floor and have discussed the issues that are in front of us, the issues that the media have termed the ``fiscal cliff,'' you know, many of us have talked about this, that this day was coming. Indeed, the Republicans in the House have been working on this issue for months. My goodness, we sent bills starting in May over to the Senate. They've been sitting on Harry Reid's desk, some of them--the last one went over September 19--and they have chosen not to take up those bills.

It's important to note that in that lesson of looking at what the Senate chose not to do and what the leader of the Senate chose not to do, we have people in the House that chose to take an action that would prohibit higher taxes on all Americans. It would prohibit the sequestration from taking place on our military, and it would enable us to move toward a pathway of fiscal responsibility and economic growth and renaissance in this Nation.

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Mrs. BLACKBURN. We thank the gentleman from Florida for yielding back, and we thank him so much for his service to this House.

Mr. Speaker, as we close for the Christmas season, I do want to make just a few comments about what has transpired today. And I think it is so noteworthy that those Members who are departing have stood on this floor tonight and have talked about what it means to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, and how grateful we are that they have chosen that service. And we each have shared a commitment to make certain that we are committed to pushing--pushing--the Federal Government to get its fiscal house in order.

Indeed, Mr. Hensarling many times has said that that is our primary goal as conservatives because we know that the greatest threat to our Nation's security is our nation's debt. Many of us talk about Admiral Mullen's comments on July 6, 2010, when he said that the greatest threat to our Nation's security is our Nation's debt.

This week, as we have looked at the so-called fiscal cliff, as we have looked at the expiration of the tax cuts, as we have worked through the growing and just boiling and rolling debt that is sweeping over this government, as we have watched this deficit climb higher every year, we have sought to find a solution to this.

As I mentioned earlier in our remarks, we have stood in this House, and going back to May 10, we passed reconciliation August 1, we passed an extension of all the 2001, 2003 tax reductions--they're called the Bush tax cuts. We passed a sequester bill on the 2nd, and on September 19, we passed a pathway to tax reform.

Mr. Speaker, what is so significant about that is that those pieces of legislation left here, some of them with a bipartisan vote, all with a strong vote from this body, and they traveled across to the Senate. And from May to September, they found their place on Harry Reid's desk. What is so sad about this is that Harry Reid made his choice. The Senate made their choice. And their choice was to not take up those pieces of legislation.

This crisis that we have had, our so-called crisis, the fiscal cliff crisis and Taxmageddon, all of this is a crisis of their making because it is a crisis of inaction. But, Mr. Speaker, many times, that is what happens here. It is inaction, what does not get done, that causes the situation where there is a rush to the last minute.

We have had the American people watching closely, and we have had the comments from the President, the comments from different ones in the Cabinet, and the comments from the Senate. But I remind my colleagues that we took our actions here in the body, we sent that legislation, and we did it because we understand that $16 trillion worth of debt and annual deficits of $1 trillion are far too much for our children and grandchildren.

The speakers tonight who have joined me on this floor have talked about how we have hopes and dreams for our children, for our grandchildren, for the futures of our families. You know what? If you're facing $16 trillion, $20 trillion, $25 trillion worth of debt as a nation, it is very difficult to see those hopes and dreams come true.

My concern as I look at my grandchildren is that the decisions--maybe the selfishness even--of people in Washington who want to tax too much and want to spend too much, who are taxing and spending not their money, but my children and grandchildren's money, children of the next generation, leaders maybe even a generation or more away, they are spending their money, because at this point we are borrowing 46 cents of every dollar we spend. It's not sustainable.

That is why we have very thoughtfully, over the last several months, approached this issue, and it's why this week we have worked with our leadership to find a solution to this, to look at different angles. And the decision came that the best decision for this, the best way to approach it, the best way to make certain we address this is to stand firm on the actions that the House has taken and for the Senate to take up the legislation that they've had the opportunity to take up since September 19. They could take up any bill and amend it. They could vote on it. They could send it back to us. They could go to conference.

You see, as we talk about our children and their future and as we talk about this amount of debt, what we do not want to do is to cap our children's future and trade to the people that hold our debt. If we're not careful, that's exactly what is going to happen.

As we have gone through this process this week, as my colleagues have all watched it and said exactly what has happened, what are the decisions, what are the consequences of the decisions we have made, are we going to resolve it, I do believe that you are going to see a resolution to this. It will happen because the American people are saying to us and they're saying to the President, It is time to get this spending under control. Our children deserve better of us. They have the right to live free lives, to dream big dreams, and to make those dreams come true.

I do want to say a ``thank you'' to our leadership. I think the way that Speaker Boehner has handled these issues this week, the way he has worked with the Members in this body to show respect to them, to show respect for their opinions and respect for their constituents, I think that that has been a true sign of leadership that was willing to listen and then willing to move the way the body wanted to move.

And the decision was made by the body not to move forward on the Plan B. But I think in making that decision, what you will see is our leadership moving forward more committed and with individuals even more prepared to get to work and to get this solved and to do what the American people are expecting us to do, which is to get this spending under control. They have sent the message loud and clear: Washington does not have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem. It has an out-of-control spending problem and an insatiable appetite for the taxpayers' money.

As we have worked through this week, as we've talked to our constituents--and so many of us in this body have done telephone town halls and we have been on the phone and we have answered emails. And we know that there is no limit to how much money, how much of other people's money government will try to spend. There's no limit to how much of the taxpayers' money. So the American people have sent the message to us and we all have sent it to our leadership, and they have listened and they have responded.

The time to get the spending under control is now. The time to stop kicking the can down the road is now. And we will head away for Christmas and return, I think, with a strength and a resolve and a courage to address the fiscal issues of this Nation. The House, where the spending bills and appropriation process begins, we will tackle this with strength, with resolve, with courage to get the job done so that, just as my colleagues have said here tonight, so that future generations have a brighter future and so that we will continue to stand for the cause of freedom.

With that, I yield back the balance of my time.


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