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Public Statements

Amending the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. MORAN. Mr. President, thank you for recognizing me.

I am honored to be, once again, on the Senate floor. I have spoken many times about the issue that is now before us for a vote in just a few minutes.

This is a significant point in our country's financial history--a time in which politics has played its course and decisions have to be made. I come here at this moment with no real joy. I think we have put the American people through a lot--certainly, over the last several months--as we asked them to follow along as we discussed this idea of raising the debt ceiling.

There was some thought by many of us that we could use this moment of raising the debt ceiling to make some significant changes in the way we do business in Washington, DC. In fact, on March 22 of this year, I wrote President Obama a letter indicating I could not vote to raise the debt ceiling unless I saw substantial reductions in spending and structural changes in the way we do business in the Congress and Washington, DC.

Why I say there is no joy for me to be here today, in my view, we have failed to do either one. There are no substantial reductions in spending, and there are no significant changes in the way Washington, DC, does business.

This country needs certainty, and I have said all along we need to raise the debt ceiling. There needs to be that certainty. I have said it would be irresponsible for us not to raise the debt ceiling, but I have said all along it would be equally as irresponsible if we raised the debt ceiling without meeting the criteria I have outlined.

While we will have a discussion among all of us that continues today--and we will probably play quarterback and Friday morning quarterback after this is over to figure out what we have accomplished--but, in my view, it is important to know there are no cuts in this bill. There is only a reduction in the growth of spending, and that reduction is so small--$21 billion reduced in the first year in the growth in spending.

In Kansas, when we hear the word ``billion,'' we think that is a lot of money, and it is. So I think Kansans will hear the words ``$21 billion'' and think: Oh, my, they are finally doing something significant. But the truth is, we spend $4 billion more each day than we take in, and that $21 billion, if realized, in the slowing of the growth of spending, will be gone in less than a week. This legislation does not cut spending.

While we promote a balanced budget amendment, which I think is so critical to our success in changing the structure of how we do things, there is no balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution in this agreement or one that will necessarily be sent to the States for ratification. Our national debt will continue to grow and, in fact, at the end of 10 years, if everything in this legislation is accomplished--and I think we have to be skeptical about that--our national debt will grow and reach $22 trillion. We are at $14.3 trillion or $14.4 trillion now. Ten years from now, with this legislation in place, $22 trillion. Over the next three decades, our debt will become three times the size of our entire economy.

We have talked about changing the way we look at things in Washington, DC. For the first time--and I agree with this--we are talking about reducing the growth of spending by the amount we are raising the debt ceiling. But can you imagine a family back in Kansas congratulating themselves for changing the topic without ever changing their spending patterns? Kansas families, when they are in trouble for spending too much money, cut the budget today. We are not doing that. They do not just slow the growth, and they do not wait for 10 years to see it realized.

The problem is today, and I think this is a significant problem. People will say we need to raise the debt ceiling today or our credit worthiness will be judged by the rating agencies and we will be downgraded. I worry that even with the passage of this bill, its effects are so minimal in spending that the downgrade will occur regardless.

So this is a time for us to make the tough choices as compared to kicking the can down the road one more time.

It is an honor to serve in the Senate. Nothing in my life, my background, would ever suggest I would have this opportunity. I am honored to serve Kansans, and I will do my best to make the right decisions on their behalf. But as I have listened to Kansans for the last 2 years on the topic of what is important to them, the economy matters, and the first thing we have to do is get our fiscal house in order so the economy can grow and people can find jobs and get better jobs.

While my assumption, based upon the news reports, is the legislation I oppose will pass today, I pledge myself to my Kansas constituents that I will work hard to see that every dime that is possible to be saved occurs, and I will redouble my efforts to see we grow the economy and put Americans back to work because the revenues we need to balance our books are not increases in taxes.

The revenue we need to balance our books is a strong and growing economy so every American can put food on their family's table, save for their children's education, and prepare for their own retirement, and that we are blessed with the opportunity in this country to see every American child be able to pursue the American dream.

I thank the Presiding Officer.


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