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Debt Crisis

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WOODALL. I came down to the floor today to talk about the fiscal crisis that we're having in America. There are those when I open the front page of the paper, Mr. Speaker, and I read the headline, it talks about having a debt limit vote crisis in this country. I went back, I looked, and apparently we've raised the debt limit over 70 times with a vote right here in this body. Apparently having a vote isn't particularly a complicated thing to do.

What we're having is a debt crisis. I think that's an important distinction. I was talking to a freshman colleague of mine yesterday about that. Understand that we can have the vote, Mr. Speaker. It's within the House's authority to bring a vote to raise the debt limit tomorrow. In fact, we brought that vote to the House already: Should we raise the debt ceiling or should we not? Mr. Speaker, we defeated it. We defeated it by a wide margin here in this body.

What we have is a debt crisis.

Now, Mr. Speaker, if it were just existing debt, perhaps we could work out a way to finance that, but it's not. It's continued borrowing each and every day to the tune of 42 cents of every dollar that we spend. In other words, if we paid for Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, interest on the national debt, those other mandatory spending programs, just those, Mr. Speaker, we've already spent every nickel in Federal revenue.

That means every nickel that we spend for education, every nickel that we spend for transportation, every nickel that we spend on national defense, on homeland security, on the environment, on the courts, every other nickel we borrow, with absolutely no plan, Mr. Speaker, for changing that going forward.

If the President were here today, Mr. Speaker, I would say we do not have a debt limit vote crisis. We have a debt crisis, and there is only one body in this town that has put together a budget that will address it. I am proud to say as a freshman in this Congress, as a freshman in this House, it was the U.S. House of Representatives that took on that responsibility, Mr. Speaker.

It's been 799 days since the United States Senate last passed a budget. Hear that. Three years ago since the Senate last passed a budget. Not a balanced budget, mind you, Mr. Speaker, but a budget at all.

These are serious challenges that require serious people to offer serious solutions, and the only one that has been offered in this town, Mr. Speaker, came from this body. I encourage the President to go back and take one more look at that, because when we come down to game day, come down to the crisis--understand what we're talking about when we talk about a crisis, we passed the debt limit back in May, Mr. Speaker, as you know. We've just been shuffling the books in this town because that's what Washington does so well: raiding this fund to pay that, raiding this fund to pay this, over and over and over again. Apparently the games just run out on August 2.

Mr. Speaker, the games cannot continue. The games must stop, and they must stop here, and we must lead as we have always led in this body.

We do not have a debt limit vote crisis. We have a debt crisis that is driven by our addiction to borrowing and spending. The borrowing and spending stops here, Mr. Speaker, and I thank you for your leadership on that.


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