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Mr. WEBER of Texas. I thank the gentlewoman from Missouri.
Mr. Speaker, it is good to be here.
Mr. Speaker, since 1978, the debt ceiling has been raised 53 times, and 27 of these increases have been used as a negotiating tool both by Congress and the President. So why not now, Mr. President? Can we not negotiate now? And to borrow a somewhat trite phrase from days gone by, yes, we can.
Sadly, today we have a President who does not want to make any concessions with House Republicans. You know, Thomas Jefferson once said, ``Pride costs us more than hunger, thirst, and cold.'' Has pride gotten in the way, clouding the judgment of our President, do you think, Mr. Speaker? Has this President chosen party politics and his unworkable health care law over working with House Republicans toward fair solutions that would help hardworking Americans keep more money in their pockets?
Mr. Speaker, think with me here for a second. During the debt ceiling debate in March 2006, then-Senator Obama said:
The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government's reckless fiscal policies. Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ``the buck stops here.'' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.
Yet, here we are, 7 years later, and we are debating the exact same thing. Why is that okay, now, I would ask him, Mr. Speaker. Why is that okay, now, Mr. President? Do we have a failure of leadership? Can we admit that? Yes, we can.
It is a failure of leadership also for spewing such venomous rhetoric when the governing process doesn't go your way, calling Republicans names. It is a failure of not listening to the American people. Can we call this a failure of leadership? Yes, we can.
The American people want the government reopened. They want to make their own health care decisions. The shutdown the American people want is the out-of-control government spending, the $17 trillion debt that has been amassed that the President in his own words said ``is a failure of leadership,'' and then in another instance, ``unpatriotic.'' Mr. Speaker, House Republicans have put forth proposal after proposal to fund this government, to keep it open, to protect the American people from the President's hostile takeover of the health care system.
Sadly, we still have a President and a Senate majority leader acting like petulant children, refusing to come to the table to negotiate, prolonging that failure of leadership. Each day that passes, with the Affordable Care Act going into effect, our Nation's fiscal health gets worse--a failure of leadership. I love America too much to let it fall under these circumstances. I will not stand by and watch as our country crumbles because of a President who is not willing to work with us and come to the table and to carry out this prolonged failure of leadership.
I am Randy Weber, and America is worth fighting for. I thank the gentlewoman from Missouri for fighting alongside me and continuing this valiant effort.
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