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Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. FRANKS of Arizona. I certainly thank the gentleman.

Mr. Speaker, I believe it's important, first of all, in this challenge that we have with our Federal budget, to realize that all budgets, whether they are personal budgets or business budgets or budgets by governments, all of them eventually and inevitably come to balance. They either do so by wise fiscal policy or by catastrophic failure.

The fact is that this administration has spent us into the stone age and added to our deficit approximately $1 trillion a year since they came into office. Mr. Speaker, the result is that we have more people living in poverty under this administration than ever before. So there is something wrong with the equation.

Now, having listened to the debate over this reconciliation bill, it's clear to me that Republicans and Democrats have a very fundamental, philosophical difference over whether or not we should take steps to reduce the Federal deficit and avoid the arbitrary and inflexible automatic spending cuts that are set to go into effect next year.

Republicans propose to reduce the deficit and avoid the automatic sequestration by eliminating wasteful programs, wasteful government spending, and curbing fraud in government programs in general. The President, on the other hand, has proposed raising taxes on the American people and American families and businesses, while at the same time increasing Federal Government spending. I cannot think of a more stark contrast, Mr. Speaker.

My friends on the other side of the aisle have demagogued this reconciliation bill beyond recognition. The fact, however, remains that this bill reduces the deficit--not by some parade of horribles, but by stopping fraud, eliminating government slush funds and duplicative programs, and controlling runaway Federal spending. It does so while preventing devastating defense cuts that the Obama administration's own Defense Department has called ``unacceptable.'' And it does so by making sure that the domestic spending cuts that the President's own budget claimed will ``inflict great damage on critical domestic priorities'' do not go unaddressed.

As part of the reconciliation process, the Judiciary Committee, Mr. Speaker, has recommended reforms to our medical liability system to rein in unlimited lawsuits and to make health care more accessible and affordable to all Americans.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the Judiciary Committee's proposed medical liability reforms will reduce the deficit by more than $48 billion the very first year and beyond. The simple fact is that frivolous lawsuits drive physicians out of the practice of medicine in the primes of their careers, it pushes others away from high-risk medical specialties, and causes the vast majority of health care providers to practice defensive medicine. Studies indicate that the cost of health care lawsuit abuse is between $230 billion and $650 billion annually. The Judiciary Committee's proposal helps to eliminate the cause of this out-of-control lawsuit abuse.

Mr. Speaker, I would just urge my colleagues to join me in supporting this reconciliation package so that we can both reduce the Federal deficit and avoid the draconian sequestration of Defense Department funding that threatens serious harm to our national security.

Mr. Speaker, just a word on our national security. There is no more important thing to our economy of any kind than making sure that we are doing everything to be productive in a secure environment. If our national security is undermined, our economic security will be writing its own economic obituary.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time and thank the gentleman for yielding.


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