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Public Statements

Tax Extenders

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, as we look at the bill we are going to be voting on today, it is an interesting perspective if you are outside of America looking at it. Here is what people are saying. You are going to stimulate the economy with a 2-percent reduction in payroll taxes. You are not going to raise income tax rates. Then you are going to spend another $136 billion. But for all this you are going to borrow the money.

We spent 8 months on a deficit commission addressing the very real problems that are about to become acute for our country. I have no disregard for those who bring this bill to the floor. But to bring this bill to the floor without the opportunity to cut wasteful Washington spending to at least pay for the outflows that are going to come as a result of this bill, which will be the $136.4 billion I mentioned--without an opportunity to at least make an effort for the American people to see we understand that part of the waste and duplication and low priority items that the Federal Government is presently enabling to happen--to not offer and have the opportunity to offer a way to not charge that to our children and grandchildren denies the reality of everybody else in the world that is looking at our country.

This afternoon, or later this morning, I will be offering an amendment that will suspend the rule, including any requirements for germaneness, and we will have a vote. We are going to have an amendment that cuts $156 billion from the Federal Government to pay for the $136 billion that is actually going to go out the door in the next 11 or 12 months. It is not an easy vote. But the world is going to be looking to see if we get it.

Not only are the people in this country disgusted with our actions, that we continue to borrow and steal and beg from future generations, but the world financial markets are going to see this. You saw the reaction of Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, who worked for 8 months trying to drive an issue to get us back on course and create a future for us that will allow us to control our destiny rather than someone else doing it.

This is just a drop in the bucket--this amendment--to the waste, duplication, and the fraud. We are going to run trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see right now, with no grownups in the room to say we are going to quit doing that. We are going to continue to do that.

What are some of the things in this amendment? A congressional pay freeze; a cut in the executive branch and congressional budget of 15 percent; a freeze on the salaries and the size of the Federal Government; limiting what the government can spend on planning, travel, and new vehicles; selling unneeded and excess Federal property; stopping unemployment benefits to people who are millionaires--by the way, we are sending unemployment benefits to people who are unemployed and have assets in excess of $1 million; collecting unpaid taxes currently in excess of $4 billion owed by Federal employees and Members of Congress; force consolidation of duplicative programs; preventing fraud, taking some of the $100 billion that is defrauded from Medicare and Medicaid every year, and preventing that from happening by the FAST Act; streamlining defense spending and reducing foreign aid, including voluntary excess contributions to the United Nations.

The people of the world are astounded that we would spend another $136 billion and make no attempt to get rid of the excesses, waste, and duplication in our Federal Government. Because we are not allowed under the regular order to offer amendments--and I understand the purpose for that--this amendment will require 67 votes.

The American people are going to be looking, and they are going to say: Does the Senate get it? Do they understand the severity and the urgency of the problems that face our fiscal future?

When the Joint Chiefs of Staff of our entire military say that the greatest problem facing America is not our military challenges but our debt, it should give us all pause to consider the reality and impact of our excess.

I yield for Senator Chambliss.


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