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Hearing of the House Rules Committee - H. Con. Res. 112 -- Concurrent Resolution of the Budget for Fiscal Year 2013


Location: Unknown

Chairman Dreier, Ranking Member Slaughter, and Members of the Committee, Thank you for the opportunity to testify on behalf of my amendment that seeks to offer the President's FY2013 Budget, scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), as a substitute to the underlying concurrent resolution. I am offering this amendment because I believe we should be here talking about policy - what the President wants to do to fix the country and what we want
to do to fix the country. I happen to be one of those Republicans - and have stated so publicly
from the Floor of the House - who believe the President wants the country to succeed; however,
the vision laid out in his budget is starkly different than the vision provided by the underlying
resolution. I believe it is time for us to put aside the talking points and have a substantive debate on the policy differences between the two visions. This amendment allows that debate to occur.

On February 13,2012, President Obama addressed a group of students about his FY2013 Budget

In the State of the Union I outlined a blueprint for an economy that is built to last. ... Today, we are releasing the details of that blueprint in the form of next year's budget. Don't worry I will not read it to you. It's long and a lot of numbers .... Part of our job is to bring down our deficit, and if Congress adopts this budget then, along with the cuts we've already made, we will be able to reduce our deficit by $4 trillion by 2022. I'm proposing some difficult cuts that frankly I wouldn't normally make if they weren't absolutely necessary, but they are. And the truth is we are going to have to make some tough choices if we are going to put this country back on a more sustainable path."

So, one would expect that the President would welcome us having this debate. I can understand
why the President might not want to talk about the numbers in his budget. But, after millions of
taxpayer dollars and hundreds of individuals worked over a year to detail his blueprint for the
country, I believe it's fair to debate those numbers. Specifically, it's fair to show the American
people how his blueprint proposes to reduce the deficit, cut programs, and makes tough choices
he believes puts the country on a more sustainable path.

More importantly perhaps, the Budget Committee dedicated an entire day reviewing the
President's budget with OMB Director Jeff Zients. It would seem that, if the document merits a
day's worth of hearings in ·committee, it should also merit debate on the House floor.

There is no question I have great disagreements with many aspects of the President's budget, but I offer this amendment today because apparently no one else will. There is no intention to
deceive anyone. It is simply my contention that a budget offered to the United State Congress by the President ofthe United States deserves to be examined and debated on the floor of the House of Representatives.

The Congressional Budget Office will not score speeches, but it does score numbers. My
amendment, like the underlying resolution, uses the CBO score of the President's numbers so the American people can see an honest, sincere, and fair comparison of the competing visions laid out by the underlying resolution and the President.

This is not the first time Congress or this Committee has considered such an amendment. During
consideration of the rule for the FY2000 budget, this Committee reported a resolution that made
in order an amendment offered by then Representative Tom Coburn to replace the underlying
House Budget with President Clinton's budget submission.

The other body on the other side of the Capitol likewise typically debates budgets that are not its own. While the Senate Majority Leader has refused for over 1,000 days to offer a Senate budget, he did not hesitate to make a motion to proceed to a vote on the FY2012 House Budget.

His reason was to ensure the American people understood where the Senate stood on the measure.

So, this Committee and this Congress have already established the importance of allowing a
substantive debate to occur on competing budget resolutions similar to my amendment. It is my
hope at the end of this debate, the American people will be able to say the House took a balanced approach towards providing a fair debate on the underlying resolution, the President's Budget, and any other substitute before you today.

To that end I respectfully urge you to rule the amendment in order. I am open to answering any
questions you have, and I yield back the balance of my time.

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