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Cut, Cap, and Balance

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. YOUNG of Indiana. I thank my colleague from Arizona for his learned words and eloquent words, quoting, Madam Speaker, Shakespeare. I'll begin by quoting Yogi Berra, that great fount of wit, wisdom, and good old American common sense. More recently, Yogi Berra said, When you come to a fork in the road, take it. We find ourselves as Americans right now certainly in a fork in the road--a fork in the road as a Nation. Either we must act boldly or some would say we face financial Armageddon. Unemployment is at 9.2 percent. Investment is down. Hiring is sluggish. The American people are anxious about where they're going to find jobs, where they're going to send their kids to school. People in southern Indiana ask me all the time what they're going to do as we fall further into the financial abyss. Our national debt is over $14 trillion--and growing.

We know we're not in the mess because the American people are taxed too little. We're in this mess because Washington spends too darned much. And we want to address that. So, as the President stands at this fork in the road, having no plan and refusing to lead, we know that we here in Congress must lead. We must act. We must, as we say in the United States Marine Corps, we must have a bias for action. Well, that's why we put forth this Cut, Cap, and Balance Act of 2011. It's a responsible action.

I'll briefly outline its finer points. First, it cuts total spending by $111 billion in fiscal year 2012. No changes to Social Security, no changes to Medicare, no changes to veterans' benefits. And considering the size and scope of the massive debt crisis we face in this country, it proposes a very modest cut of $111 billion next year--certainly a manageable down payment as we work to address this leviathan debt we face. It caps total Federal spending in the future as a portion of our economy--that is the cap component of this cut, cap, and balance plan--and brings down by the end of the decade our Federal spending to less than 20 percent as a proportion of our economy. That's the post-World War II average. Very sensible, very responsible. And then, finally, it balances our budget. It does so through a balanced budget amendment that will come up for a vote later, subject to the normal super majority requirements in each House of Congress. This works in 49 of the 50 States across this great Nation. It will work here in Washington, too. If we have the courage to pass it.

The cut, cap, and balance plan will restore confidence. It will restore confidence in investors around this world, people who are right now eyeballing this body, wondering whether or not we're going to pass a bold plan to address our financial situation and therefore maintain our high AAA credit rating. It will restore confidence in those who create jobs--the entrepreneurs, the innovators, the investors across the fruited plains whom people rely on for their family incomes. It will show them that we understand Washington has a problem, and we are prepared to address it in a very specific way.

Finally, this will calm down, this will restore confidence among those we represent. Yeah, we have a deficit in Washington. And it's not just a financial deficit. It's a leadership deficit. We need to show the American people we understand our Federal Government must balance its books, just like American families and businesses are making hard decisions and balancing their own books during this difficult time.

The President stands at this fork in the road. No plan, no action, no leadership. And he characteristically refuses to choose a path. We have laid out a path. The path is one of leadership. The path is one of choosing. I believe that to lead is to choose. We must choose. I encourage the members of this body, my esteemed colleagues, to choose the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act of 2011.


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