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Public Statements

The Federal Budget

Location: Washington, DC

House of Representatives
April 05, 2006


Mr. Speaker, I am joined this evening by Dr. Gingrey, who is a member of the Rules Committee and is going to have a few comments on the budget. Certainly, he is a gentleman who knows of compassion and how we should be working with and for our Federal man.

Mr. Speaker, I yield to the gentleman from Georgia.

Mr. GINGREY. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentlewoman from Tennessee. It is really an honor to be part of this hour discussion tonight with some of the most fiscally responsible Members of this body. My Republican colleagues on the Republican Study Committee, that you just heard from the gentleman from Texas, you will be hearing from others, the gentleman from New Jersey, the gentleman from North Carolina, the gentlewoman from Ohio. These are Members, Mr. Speaker, that get it. As Mr. Hensarling just said, this is really not green eye shade stuff; this is about people and values, as he so well pointed out. It is about real needs as distinct from just wanting more, more, more.

Mr. Speaker, my dad told me one time when I was just a teenager, he said, ``Somebody asked a very rich person one time, what would it take to make him happy?'' And the answer was, ``Just a little bit more.'' That is a problem that we have in trying to satisfy all of the wants and not necessarily just the real needs.

Mr. Speaker, my colleagues here tonight and on this side of the aisle are committed to restoring some fiscal sanity to this place, and I commend Mr. Hensarling in particular. I have told him in private that he is our modern day William Proxmire of the 109th, and indeed, the 108th Congress as we came in together in regarding to ferreting out waste, fraud, and abuse in this Federal Government. In fact, that was our class project that the gentlewoman from Tennessee and myself and others in the 108th class were determined to do, and that is what we are doing.

Mr. Speaker, we have talked about the other side and what they want to do and their plans. The tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 is an example of what they did not do. They voted no for those tax cuts. They said we cannot do that. That is going to, according to the Congressional Budget Office, when you do this static scoring, we are going to cut taxes, we are going to cut rates for everybody that pay taxes. We are going to lower capital gains, we are going to lower the tax on dividends, which indeed is a double taxation.

We are going to get rid of the marriage tax penalty. We are going to increase child tax credit from $600 to $1,000 per child. We are going to finally stomp dead the death tax. As Steve Forbes once said, there should be no taxation without respiration.

We did these things, and the opposition said, well, that is going to cost $1.3 trillion over 10 years. Mr. Speaker, you know, I know, my colleagues know, I hope the American people know that it did not cost us any money. We gained revenue, something like $250 billion over 10 years. That is what happened in 1960 under Democratic President Kennedy; it happened in 1980 under my colleague's favorite, maybe all-time favorite President Reagan. We cut taxes, we raised revenue, and it works. The opposition, they not only oppose that, but they also opposed health care reform, Medicare modernization, Prescription Drug Act. They said that is going to cost $750 billion over 10 years. But of course, actually, their plan, if we had done what they wanted us to do, would have probably cost $3 trillion over 10 years.

Mr. Speaker, the fact is, it was only going to cost that money if it did not work. And what we are finding today, as we are getting closer and closer to that deadline of May 15, the 6-month opportunity for seniors to take that option and sign up for prescription drug benefit, we are reaching our goal. We are beyond our goal. Seniors are saying, members of my own family, my mom, my brother, constituents in my district saying, ``Thank you, Congressman. We are saving money.'' I have had people spending $900 a month who found out they qualified for the low income supplement and now are spending $27 a month, they are saving $900 a month.

We wanted to do Social Security reform to give individuals an opportunity to have an individual personal account. What does the other side do? They fight that. They are the party of no, of negative.

But these are the things that this majority and particularly the Members here tonight, Mr. Speaker, are determined to do for the American people: To reform government, to save money, to let people put that money back into the family budget, as Mr. Hensarling has pushed so hard for.

This budget that we are going to vote on, this 2007 budget is a very fiscally sound, responsible budget. It virtually freezes nondefense discretionary spending at the 2006 level. Again, the other side will say, well, you are taking money away from the school children, you are taking money away from Head Start, you are taking money away from social welfare programs. Not at all, Mr. Speaker. All we are doing is putting a cap on discretionary spending, and then we are saying to the appropriators: You decide where that money needs to be spent. You decide whether cuts really need to be made and whether plus-ups need to be made. And that is the responsible way to do it.

In conclusion I want to say, too, to the chairman of the Budget Committee, the gentleman from Iowa (Mr. Nussle) and the great job that he has done and his willingness to include in this 2007 budget a rainy day fund. This is something that all of the Members here tonight who are speaking during this hour have been calling for and for a number of years saying, look, we know every year that we are going to have a hurricane, we are going to have a natural disaster.

It may not be every year, but all of a sudden you go a couple of years and then you have a Katrina. So we need to fund this based on a 10-year average of how much we spend on a natural disaster and emergency. So this is in the budget, $4 billion for each of the next 5 years. I think that is absolutely responsible.

In addition to that, we are going to come forward with a line item veto. The President needs it, the Congress wants it, and we are going to get that done. We are also going to have the earmark reforms that Congressman Flake has called for shine the light of day on those earmarks, some of which are very good and should be included in the budget; and last but not least, of course, a sunset commission.

Mr. Speaker, as I say, it is an honor. I know we want to hear from our other colleagues on this issue. But I commend the gentlewoman from Tennessee for her continued work on fiscal responsibility and putting together this hour tonight and giving us a chance to weigh in on it.


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