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Public Statements

American Jobs and the National Debt

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. QUAYLE. I thank the gentleman from Arkansas for yielding and for talking about these important issues, and one thing that I do want to talk about is something you just said: kicking the can down the road. We can no longer afford to do that because every year we do not address and solve the problems related to our mandatory spending, they add close to $10 trillion each year to our unfunded liabilities. Those are the liabilities that are going to be put on the backs of our children and our grandchildren. So kicking the can down the road is no longer an option.

Now, I want to get back to something the gentleman from Arkansas talked about earlier, and that is about making America competitive in the global marketplace. We live in a global economy. Nothing is going to change that, but what America has to do and what we have to do here in the House is to make America the most competitive country on the face of the Earth. We need to make America the best place and the safest place to do business, and that's what we were charged to do when we came in in this 112th Congress, and that's what we've been doing from day one.

Because when we came in here, we said we were going to do two things. We were going to get the American people back to work by creating jobs and pro-growth economic policies, and we were going to rein in our out-of-control Federal spending. And we've been doing that.

Since day one, week by week, we have been addressing our problem with out-of-control government spending. Sometimes it was millions of dollars here, other times it's billions, and still other times it's been trillion dollars of savings to be able to make our country prosperous again. That right there is the charge of my generation and our generation to return America's prosperity. That's what we're doing here in the House. That's what the Republican House majority has been doing since day one of the 112th Congress.

One of the things that we did just a few weeks ago was we passed a 2012 budget plan that sets our fiscal course on the right path. It sets us up so that we will have that prosperity, so that the crushing burden of government spending is not passed on to future generations. Immediately, practically before the vote was even cast, we heard from our friends on the other side of the aisle that we were starting to end Medicare as we know it. Funny thing how short their memory is, because Medicare as we know it was actually ended by the previous Congress when they passed ObamaCare.

And Medicare as we know it was ended in two different ways. First, they took over $500 billion out of Medicare to fund their government takeover of health care, and the second thing and the most dangerous thing that they did was they established the Independent Payment Advisory Board. What this is, a lot of people don't really know what it is, but it's a bureaucratic 15-person panel that will actually determine how we are going to provide health care to our seniors. Now, these are not elected officials, these are appointed by the President, and they will be making decisions on how to reduce our Medicare costs by actually preventing certain treatments to our patients, to our seniors. This will get in the middle of the doctor-patient relationship, which is one of the most important relationships that there is. We need to have the trust between our doctors and patients and not taking dictates from a 15-person panel of bureaucrats here in Washington, D.C.

The great thing is that there's really no oversight. Now, Congress can go in and say, well, we don't agree with the independent advisory board, but you know what it takes, it takes an act of two-thirds majority in the House to override one of their decisions. Now, I've only been here 4 months, but I can tell you, two-thirds majority is almost near impossible.

So this is what we have to do: we have to educate and tell everybody and get the facts out to the American people because, like the other gentleman from Arkansas said, after the 2012 budget was passed, I, too, had a teletown hall and one of my first questions was from a caller in my district who was on Medicare and asked, Are you really getting rid of Medicare for me because I rely on it. That's when I had to tell her the facts that, no, absolutely not. Those who are in or near retirement, their benefits will not change because they have planned for those benefits to be there. However, we are going to save Medicare from the implosion that will occur if we do nothing because in 9 years, 9 short years, Medicare will be bankrupt and the 2012 budget that the House Republicans passed will save Medicare bankruptcy, put us on strong fiscal footing going forward, and return America's prosperity to future generations.

I thank the gentleman for yielding.


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