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Ms. SCHWARTZ. I rise in opposition to this bill and to offer the final amendment that will not kill the bill or send it back to committee. If adopted, the bill, as amended, will immediately proceed to final passage.
This amendment rejects the rigid partisan view presented in this legislation that deficit reduction must be achieved by spending cuts alone, regardless of the consequences. Moving from one crisis to another and failing to meet our responsibilities, as Republicans have done time and time again, has hurt our economic growth. Most recently, in December, our economy contracted for the first time in 3 years as a result of delayed action by Republican leadership in the House.
This amendment makes clear that there's a better way. It recognizes that our Nation faces serious fiscal challenges. We agree, as the President does, that these fiscal challenges must be addressed. We believe that we must reduce the deficit over time and we must work to stabilize the debt. But we must do so in a way that does not hurt our economic recovery, that enables us to meet our obligations to our seniors and to our children and to our future, and ensures our economic competitiveness and economic growth.
Every bipartisan commission has said that the only way we can meet these goals--to reduce the deficit, to meet our obligations, and to make investments necessary for economic growth--is to do so in a balanced way with a combination of spending cuts and new revenues. And the American people agree. American consumers and American businesses agree. Economists and investors, workers and managers, older Americans and young adults all agree. We need a balanced approach. We need to find that common ground and we need to make decisions now that provide certainty and stability for our families, for our businesses, and for our Nation. Yet the Republicans reject this balanced approach. They prefer to place blame and to seek to deflect attention from the realities before us.
The automatic across-the-board cuts of $85 billion will go into effect in just 22 days. Rather than work with us and to work with the President to find a better way to avoid the sequester with a mix of cuts and revenue, they suggest a new budget process that may not be constitutional and surely will not be productive.
The bill before us is simply a political message. We should reject that narrow message. Instead, we should make clear that we are willing to find that balanced approach that enables us to put our great Nation on sound financial footing by providing certainty during economic recovery, reducing the deficit over time, sustaining Medicare for seniors now and into the future, protecting Social Security, and by creating opportunity for middle class Americans and investing in education, research, science, innovation, and infrastructure to ensure our economic competitiveness. Because if we do, we will not only reduce the deficit, we will expand opportunity and prosperity for all Americans.
I yield back the balance of my time.
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