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Cut, Cap, and Balance Act of 2011

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. DREIER. Mr. Speaker, today I will cast my vote in support of H.R. 2560, the Cut, Cap and Balance Act of 2011, despite having concerns about it. With the August 2 deadline for reaching a solution on our debt crisis fast approaching, I believe this measure is necessary in order to move the process forward.

However, I remain opposed to key provisions in H.R. 2560 and will continue to work vigorously for better solutions. My primary concern with this legislation is the requirement for a balanced budget amendment to the constitution. In 1995, I voted in favor of a balanced budget amendment. That effort ultimately failed in the Senate by a single vote. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that that was the right outcome. Just two short years later, we proved that we could balance the budget without altering our most inspired founding document.

What's more, the State of California has proved the futility of balanced budget amendments for years. Despite a constitutional mandate for balanced budgets, California persistently fails to live within its means and spend the taxpayers' money prudently and effectively.

Exercising our Article 1, Section 7 power of the purse with responsibility and discipline doesn't take a constitutional amendment. It simply takes the will to do the right thing.

We have already accomplished something that seemed impossible just a few months ago: we have fundamentally altered the conversation here in Washington. While the last two Congresses presided over an 82% increase in non-defense discretionary spending, we have already halted and reversed the growth in spending.

Now we are on the brink of enacting trillions--that's trillions with a ``T''--in spending cuts. While a final deal remains elusive, we have forged consensus on the central, fundamental point that no rise in the debt ceiling can be enacted without trillions in spending cuts. That is a tremendous achievement that seemed barely conceivable a short time ago. It is a testament to what can be achieved when we have the will and resolve to confront the great challenges we face.

We must now put that will and resolve toward a final deal that will not only make trillions in spending cuts, but also enact meaningful reforms that put us on the path to eliminating the deficit, paying down our debt and fostering growth and opportunity. These solutions are within reach. They are closer than they've been in years. The only question is whether we have the will to achieve them. I urge my colleagues, both Republicans and Democrats, to come together. To rise to the enormous challenges we confront and forge a deal that not only restores the vitality and solvency of our economy for ourselves, but for generations to come.

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