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Emergency Mortgage Relief Program Termination Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HENSARLING. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chairman, the American people woke up several days ago to the very sad reality that this Nation has just incurred its single largest monthly deficit in the history of the Nation, $226 billion, which, by a back-of-the-envelope calculation, that is roughly $2,500 for every household in just 1 month. And, Mr. Chairman, February is the shortest month of the year. This is on top of our Nation's first trillion-dollar deficit, our Nation's second trillion-dollar deficit. And now, according to the budget presented by the President of the United States, the third-largest, the largest deficit, in America's history and the third trillion-dollar-plus deficit.

Mr. Chairman, the Nation is drowning in a sea of red ink. If we want to help job creators create jobs today, we have got to start taking away the uncertainty of this huge national debt. If we want to save our children from bankruptcy tomorrow, we have to start doing something about the national debt. But everybody says essentially: well, not in my backyard. Not with my programs. Not today. Let's do it some other day. Let's kick the can down the road.

But, Mr. Chairman, this is a Nation that is borrowing 40 cents on the dollar, much of it from the Chinese, and we are sending the bill to our children and grandchildren. This is a form of intergenerational theft. The Democratic whip, the gentleman from Maryland, when Republicans were in control and the deficit was a fraction, a fraction of what it is today, he termed it ``fiscal child abuse.'' The gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer) said that when the annual deficit was $200 billion. Now the monthly deficit is $200 billion. If we want to help create jobs today, if we want to spare our children bankruptcy, we have got to quit spending money we don't have.

And so this week, Mr. Chairman, House Republicans have brought a couple of bills to the floor to do something that is rarely ever done in this institution, and that is to save American families and save small businesses money: terminate a program. You know, as we are coming off the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan's birthday, I am reminded, and perhaps I don't have the quote exact, but he said something along the lines of the closest thing to eternal life on Earth is a Federal program.

So the bill we have before us today is a program that was originally authorized in 1975 and was never funded in its 35-year history. Now, a billion dollars has been allocated for this program. It is not out the door. Nobody has used that money. It is in a series of so-called foreclosure mitigation programs that the administration has put forth, almost all of which have been abject failures even by their own yardstick, by their own measurement.

Number one, the best foreclosure mitigation program in America is a job. It's a paycheck. It's not a government check, it's a paycheck. Job creators are hampered by the uncertainty of the national debt. Historic levels of debt will lead to historic levels of taxation, which leads to historic levels of unemployment.

The equation could not be more true. The equation could not be more elementary.

But don't take my word for it, Mr. Chairman. Let's hear from some of the job creators in America. Let's hear from the CEO of Caterpillar, which employs tens of thousands of people across our Nation: Unfunded entitlement programs, coupled with the coming wave of retiring baby boomers, will push the deficit to untenable levels. It is a train wreck.

Mike Jackson, the CEO of AutoNation, with 19,000 employees: The best thing that this town could do to help the economic recovery become sustainable is to deal with the deficit.

Bernie Marcus, the former chairman and CEO of Home Depot, with over 200,000 employees in the U.S.: If we continue this kind of policy, we are dead in the water. Businesspeople, they don't know what's coming--the debt, the budget. This debt we have is in the trillions. I'm going to have to pay for this somehow.

Mr. Chairman, these are just a few of the voices of job creators.

I am heartened to see that the unemployment rate ticked down last month. Frankly, it is attributable mostly to the fact that we now have a divided government. Job creators now know there is at least some check on the excesses of the Obama administration. It is a testament to the fact that, at the end of the last Congress, Republicans were successful in blocking, at least for 2 years, the single largest tax increase in America's history, and I don't know any American who believes that if you increase taxes on one's company that that's going to lead to a raise, to a bonus, or to employing more workers.

Finally, we have what Warren Buffett calls the regenerative nature of the free enterprise system. This is an economy that wants to recover; but since the Great Depression, we've never had a longer recession or a more tepid recovery, which is due to the policies of the President and of the previous Democratic Congresses. So, if we want to help create jobs today, we're going to have to show that we can put the Nation on a fiscally sustainable path.

Now, this is a $1 billion program where not $1 has left the door yet. I'm sitting here thinking, Mr. Chairman: If this body, after having 75, 76 some odd different government housing programs that add up to, roughly, 56 some odd billion dollars that, frankly, have grown at an exponential over the family budget--the family budget has to pay for the HUD budget--if we can't terminate, in order to save our children from bankruptcy, in order to help create jobs, one program at $1 billion where not one penny has left the door, how are we ever going to make the tough decisions that are necessary to save the country from bankruptcy?

Mr. Chairman, at some point, you've got to quit spending money you don't have. At some point, when do you ever say enough is enough? When do you say we are tired of borrowing money from the Chinese? Is it the future of our children? Is it their destiny to shine the shoes of the Chinese? Is it our children's destiny that one day they'll wait tables for the Chinese? It's not the dream I have for my 7-year-old son. It's not the dream I have for my 9-year-old daughter. It's not the American dream.

The American Dream is to leave your children with greater freedoms, greater opportunity, and a higher standard of living. That's what I believe the American Dream is.

If we can't terminate one program from which the Obama administration itself says we're going to lose 98 cents on the dollar--I didn't say it; it was the Obama administration that said it, losing 98 cents on the dollar. If we can't do this, Mr. Chairman, I have great fear and great trepidation for the future.

So I urge my colleagues to take one small, tiny baby step towards the path of fiscal sustainability. Take one measured baby step, and tell job creators in

America we are going to put the Nation's fiscal house in order. Go ahead. It's safe to invest in America again. It's safe to create jobs.

We're going to get this done. Take one tiny step today to help create those jobs and save our children from a pathway to bankruptcy.

I reserve the balance of my time.


Mr. HENSARLING. Madam Chair, again, we cannot lose sight of the fact that our Nation is drowning in a sea of red ink. It is a sea of red ink that continues to hamper job creation. Job creators today are uncertain of our future.

They know, though, they know that historic levels of debt lead to historic levels of taxation, which can only lead to historic levels of unemployment. They are looking for some signal from this body that we get it, that we get it, that we are going to stop borrowing 40 cents on the dollar, much of it from the Chinese, and sending the bill to our children and our grandchildren.

Again, when the annual deficit, the annual deficit was $200 billion and dropping, as opposed to the monthly deficit, which is now over 200 billion, but when the annual deficit was 200 billion, the gentleman from Maryland, the Democratic whip, said that was fiscal child abuse.

Now, my friends on the other side of the aisle are introducing the term ``mean spirited.'' I don't know. Is fiscal child abuse mean spirited? It's their term, Madam Chair. I will let them reflect upon that.

Now I hear the ranking member talk about fiscal responsibility, and he points to one item: cotton. We have heard cotton throughout this debate. But I would note that the ranking member apparently voted for the conference report on the farm bill which includes cotton subsidies that he comes to this floor to decry.

He speaks about a WTO decision, but it's the Obama administration that says that countervailing measures would have cost this country more than 800 million. I suppose we could have that debate, but I would recommend that the ranking member have the debate with the Obama administration, because that's where many of us got the information.


Mr. HENSARLING. Reclaiming my time, I would just point out to the ranking member that was not the vote before us. And if there was a chance to get out the cotton subsidies--and I must admit people on both sides of the aisle vote for them, but the opportunity was at the point of the conference report on the farm bill which the gentleman from Massachusetts voted for.

But to put this again in a larger context, we on this side of the aisle fervently believe that you will not have job creation until you put the Nation on a fiscally sustainable path. We are talking about $1 billion here. If we can't do it on this program, what program can we do it on?

And I must admit, I also find it ironic how many of my friends on the other side of the aisle will come to the floor and say, You know what? There are people in this Nation trying to force loans onto people who are unemployed, people who can't afford to pay it back, people who are in debt. That's predatory lending, and now they want the government to do the same thing.


Mr. HENSARLING. We heard throughout the debate there needs to be a consistency, a consistency of debate. So let me get this right. A payday lender is guilty of predatory lending if they loan money to somebody who is underwater, to somebody who may be struggling, but if the Federal Government does it, it's something else. It's noble. I don't see the consistency in the debate there, Madam Chair.

But again, most importantly, when does the day arrive that we quit spending money we do not have? I say today is that day.


Mr. HENSARLING. Madam Chair, I would note that the gentlelady from California's economic program known as the stimulus has helped another 3 million of our fellow citizens lose their jobs.

Mr. HENSARLING. Madam Chair, I make the point of order that the amendment violates clause 10 of rule XXI known as the cut-go rule.

I have been advised by the chair of the Committee on the Budget that the amendment would cause a net increase in mandatory spending relative to the bill in the period specified in the rule.

Accordingly, the point of order lies, and I ask for a ruling from the chair.


Mr. HENSARLING. Madam Chair, we can do better than trillions of dollars of debt that is borrowed from the Chinese and the bills are sent to our children and grandchildren. When the annual deficit was $200 billion and falling, another gentleman from Maryland, the distinguished Democratic whip, said it was fiscal child abuse. Now we have a monthly deficit equaling that annual deficit.

So I listened carefully to this gentleman from Maryland. And when I go to church on Sunday, I'm going to be very glad in my heart, in my head, that I did not commit an act of fiscal child abuse on my children or anybody else's children or grandchildren. We have got to stop spending money we don't have.

I yield back the balance of my time.


Mr. HENSARLING. Mr. Speaker, reclaiming my time, the distinguished chairman of the Financial Services Committee brought to our attention something that, I believe, every veteran now knows, which is that the biggest threat to our national security is our national debt.

I am not a veteran. My brother was. He fought during the Cold War. My father was. He fought during Korea. My grandfather was. He fought during World War II. So I know veterans, Mr. Speaker, and there are no citizens in our country who are more passionate about the preservation of our national security than our veterans. There is no veteran I know of who would not put country before self. There is no veteran I know of who wants to mortgage our Nation's future to China. There is no veteran I know of who wouldn't be ashamed and embarrassed to have China foreclose on our Nation because of the national debt that has been run up by our friends on the other side of the aisle.

If we want to have a secure Nation, if we want jobs, if we want to save America from bankruptcy for our children, we've got to quit spending money we don't have. Veterans put country before self.

Mr. Speaker, at this time, I yield to the distinguished chairman of the Veterans' Affairs Committee, the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Miller).


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