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Providing for Consideration of H.R. Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act of and Providing for Consideration of H.R. Scientific Research in the National Interest Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WELCH. Mr. Speaker, I respect the motivation that underlies this bill. We have got a debt in this country that is too large, and we have got to address it, but this is a nonresponse.

The job of addressing the debt belongs to Congress. It can't be outsourced. The Secretary of the Treasury has no more authority to address the debt than the Secretary of Agriculture or Education or the Democratic National Committee or the Republican Campaign Committee. This is a job that has to be done, but it is our job to do it.

Asking the Secretary of the Treasury to come in and talk about when that date certain will be on default when we set that date when we pass budgets means that we are asking somebody else to do our job and asking somebody who actually doesn't even have the authority to do the job. That belongs to Congress.

Every time we vote on either a tax cut or an appropriation bill, it has clear implications for how that will impact on the debt ceiling. It is debatable because there are fluctuations as to when we will hit that date.

But it is absolutely certain that, when we appropriate money or we pass tax cuts, in one case spending will go up, and in the other case revenues will go down.

What we have done is gone along in a kind of la-la land where we think we can cut taxes, we can raise spending, and then we are astonished when a year or so later there is actually a bill that comes due.

This is not the debt management bill. It is not the fiscal responsibility bill. It is the debt mismanagement and fiscal irresponsibility bill.

Think about the things that we have done. Mr. McGovern has been talking about it. But we had a war in Iraq, a trillion dollars. Nobody paid for that. We voted to spend a trillion dollars on tax cuts. We can have an argument about tax policy. But you know what, revenues went down.

Congress voted to spend $800 billion on the prescription drug program, something that had bipartisan support. Not paid for. And then just a few weeks ago we passed tax extenders that are going to reduce revenues by $2 trillion.

Actions have consequences. The consequences are ones that are inevitable and foreseeable as a result of the actions of this Congress. This Congress, instead of assuming its responsibility, tries to outsource it.


Mr. WELCH. To someone else, it is a dodge. That is all it is. It is us trying to fool the American people with a game of three-card Monte where we are pretending that the problem that we are decrying had somehow mysteriously evolved out of nowhere.

I respect the concern of the authors of this bill about our debt. What I don't respect is the failure of Congress to address it.


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