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Public Statements

Requirement in Budget Submission with Respect to the Cost Per Taxpayer of the Deficit

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Unknown

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Mr. MESSER. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

First, I want to thank Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen for allowing the House to consider this measure, which will require the President's annual budget submission to Congress to include the cost per taxpayer of the deficit for each year the budget is projected to result in a deficit.

This bill is based on one simple principle: that each hardworking American taxpayer deserves to know how much the deficit costs them each year. This requirement would be a powerful reminder to the President and Congress that our decisions have real-world consequences for hardworking taxpayers.

It's long past time to hold Washington accountable for its wasteful spending. The massive national debt has ballooned to an unsustainable level because Washington has refused to make tough choices, instead, simply spending money we don't have and ignoring the explosive growth of entitlements. This abdication of responsibility is delaying the inevitable until there may not be any good choices left.

Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. MESSER. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate Representative Van Hollen and his comments. As he well knows, this Chamber has twice considered sequester replacement bills put forward by the House Republican leadership, voted on and passed out of this Chamber.

The alternatives are clear. I appreciate his recognition that this simple little calculation, while admittedly not going to change the planet Earth, it is important in providing budget transparency and helping the American taxpayer understand how much money we're spending here.

We often hear, as you're out in townhall meetings, How much is $1 trillion? And what this bill simply shows is that if you take $1 trillion, if that's the deficit in a given year, and divide it by 145 million taxpayers we have, it adds up to about $6,800 per taxpayer that we are adding to our debt every year.

Back where I come from in Indiana's Sixth Congressional District, that's a lot of money. He cited the number 750,000, and I would concede that $85 billion is a lot of money; but it represents about 2 percent of what we spend as a Nation every year in our $3.6 billion budget.

I came to the House floor yesterday and held up two pennies representing the two cents--the two percent--the two cents out of every dollar that we're asking Congress to trim out of our Federal budget. Does anybody in America really believe that our Federal Government is so efficient and so effective that we can't afford to trim two cents out of every dollar?

Now, clearly, we can do this in a more sensible way. I know of no one in either Chamber who is not arguing that we ought to find a more sensible way to bring these reductions forward, but bring them forward we must.

Now, with that, Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the distinguished gentleman from New Jersey (Mr. Garrett).

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Mr. MESSER. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, let me make three quick points: first, as to the underlying merits of the bill, transparency matters. It matters that we let the American people know what is happening here. This calculation called for under the bill shows that in recent years we've been racking up $6,800 in debt for every American taxpayer each year. That's a lot of money; secondly, we've heard from folks on the other side of the aisle about the need to close loopholes. I would submit that there is broad consensus that we need major tax reform. There is broad consensus that the loopholes that our Tax Code is riddled with should go away. The question is: Then what do you do with the money that comes from those reductions? Do you put it back in the American economy to help grow the economy? The best way to balance our budget and get this House back in fiscal order is to have a growing economy with more taxpayers who can therefore pay additional tax revenue because they have a job,

There has been a lot of talk on the other side of the aisle about the need for a balanced approach, but that balanced approach seems to ignore the fact that we had a $600 billion tax increase that passed this body on January 1. The President promised in his campaign 4-1 spending reductions to tax increases. We're not yet even to 1-1, and we talk in this Chamber about balance.

Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from Florida (Mr. Bilirakis).

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Mr. MESSER. Mr. Speaker, I think in this debate today, you're seeing two very different philosophies of how we move forward as a country: one side of the aisle, who believes that the key to America's future is raising taxes and growing government; and our side, who believes that the key to America's future is controlling spending and giving families tax relief now. Let's use tax reform to put more money in the pocket of the American taxpayer so they can spend it out in the economy.

The gentleman mentions the CBO many, many times over and over again and fails to mention that the leadership of CBO has said that a balanced budget in the long term will help grow our economy by as much as 1.7 percent each year annually if we balance this budget. He cites Majority Leader Cantor's statements on the sequester. We have virtual unanimity in this caucus that we need to replace the structure of those $85 billion in cuts, but our side of the aisle believes we need to replace them with other, more sensible budget reductions that get this government under control.

Mr. Speaker, with those comments, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished gentleman from Wisconsin (Mr. Duffy).

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Mr. MESSER. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the gentleman's help and comments on this bill. It's a good government bill. It's transparency. It makes sure that taxpayers know how much the Federal Government is racking up on their dime, and I'm hopeful that it will pass.

The gentleman makes a very important point, that this bill is not the cure-all of the world, and we have lots of work to do. Far too many families in this economy have had to come home and deal with a job loss.

I remind everybody in this Chamber that the $85 billion that we're talking about in this sequester, while a lot of money, is 2 percent of our total Federal Government $3.6 trillion budget. It's two pennies on every dollar.

We agree that this sequester should be replaced; we disagree on how. Surely we can find two pennies to save instead of raising taxes and taking more money out of the pocket of the American taxpayer.

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

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