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Public Statements

Amending the Education Sciences Reform Act of 2002

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. President, I rise today to support the budget agreement that has been so painstakingly negotiated over these past several weeks. This is not a perfect bill, but it will start to get our budget deficit under control. Failing to reach an agreement and allowing our nation to default is not an option.

Failing to raise the debt ceiling would mean failing to honor the obligations we have already made. Previous Congresses and administrations have always recognized this duty, raising the debt ceiling over 70 times since 1962. This is not a partisan issue. President George W. Bush signed seven debt ceiling increases and President Clinton signed four. President Reagan raised the debt ceiling 18 times.

We have also agreed to reduce our Nation's debt by over $2 trillion, which will help to put us on a more sustainable fiscal path. Much of this budget savings will be found by a new joint congressional committee. Their recommendations will likely be similar to the Bowles-Simpson recommendations, the Gang of 6 proposal, and other bipartisan efforts.

I must say that I am disappointed we could not get a broader agreement to reduce our deficit. We know what we need to do. Every bipartisan proposal works by putting everything on the table: domestic spending, defense, entitlements, and revenue. It is not a good sign that this bill would force only spending cuts if Congress fails to pass the joint committee's deficit reduction bill. Refusing to put everything on the table means refusing to truly solve our budget problem.

Our system of government is built on compromise. This deal shows that the Senate is still capable of governing, and now we need to return immediately to the most important job, getting our people back to work and getting the economy back on track.


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