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Public Statements

Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. BROOKS. I support Representative Broun's motion to instruct. Let me explain why.

For six decades, America has been the greatest Nation in history. We are blessed with a standard of living envied by the world, a military unmatched in history, freedoms that others can only dream of.

Why is America great? Because Americans before us sacrificed so that their children, their grandchildren, their country would enjoy a better future.

Our Founding Fathers exemplified America's spirit when they stated in the Declaration of Independence:

And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

In contrast, today's Washington abandons America's foundational principles. Today's Washington supports unsustainable spending binges that abandon our children and grandchildren and America's future.

Perhaps a refresher is needed to emphasize America's financial plight.

Mr. Speaker, let me first direct your attention to this deficit chart. As the chart reflects, America suffers from three consecutive, record-breaking, and unsustainable trillion-dollar deficits, and we are in the midst of a fourth trillion-dollar deficit that is projected for this year.

Think about that for a moment.

In fiscal year 2011, Washington borrowed 36 cents for every dollar it spent. No household or business could survive borrowing 36 cents for it to operate. Similarly, no nation can survive that either. As a result, America blew through the $15 trillion accumulated debt mark in November of last year. This year, America is going to blow through the $16 trillion debt mark.

Mr. Speaker, the next chart reflects spending for FY 2010 and FY 2011. In FY 2010, the cost of America's debt service was $196 billion. In FY 2011, the cost of America's debt service was $221 billion. They're relatively small slices of those pies. However, in just 1 year, the cost to American taxpayers to service America's debt increased by $25 billion.

To put that into perspective, $25 billion is more than NASA's entire budget--and this is at record low interest rates. If America's creditors become as insecure as the creditors of Greece, Spain, Italy, and any number of other nations and if interest rates go up accordingly, America's debt service would jump to the $800 billion-a-year range, making debt service more costly than our entire budget for national defense, our entire budget for Social Security, or our entire budget for Medicare. Consequently, if we had this small slice of the pie increase to $800 billion a year, every other service provided by the Federal Government would have to shrink.

So that we are clear, reckless, out-of-control spending is the cause of America's deficits.

In fiscal year 2007, when Nancy Pelosi became House Speaker and when Harry Reid became the Senate Majority Leader, America spent $2.7 trillion. In FY 2011, America spent $3.6 trillion. In just 4 years, Federal Government spending went up $900 billion--a 33 percent increase. Simply stated, there is no end in sight to Washington's reckless and irresponsible spending.

Mr. Speaker, if Washington does not gain wisdom and backbone, if Washington does not change its reckless spending habit, then there will be an American insolvency and bankruptcy. For emphasis, the question is not ``if.'' The questions are ``when?'' and ``how much damage will be done to our Nation from that insolvency and bankruptcy?'' President Obama's Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Mike Mullen, gave insight when he stated, ``I think the biggest threat we have to our national security is our debt.''

And he is right. Already, America's out-of-control spending threatens to force the firing of 700,000 national defense personnel starting in a mere 7 months, on January 1 of 2013. Let me emphasize that: threatened with 700,000 lost jobs. No enemy has ever undermined America's national defense so badly.

But it does not end with the decimation of America's national defense, which may leave America at the mercy of our enemies abroad. America's insolvency and bankruptcy risk the elimination of Social Security and Medicare, thereby breaching our obligations to our elderly and leaving them impoverished and without medical care.
To summarize the danger to America, think back to the Great Depression in the 1930s and imagine how bad it would have been if then the Federal Government had been insolvent. As you do this, remember the result of the Great Depression--an ensuing war that killed tens of millions of men, women, and children worldwide.

All of this brings me to Paul Broun's motion to instruct. The transportation bill is a microcosm of what threatens America. We enjoy, roughly, $37 billion in expected highway revenue, yet some in Washington seek to spend, roughly, $51 billion. That's $14 billion a year that we don't have.

Now, there are solutions to this budget gap that I could support. We could cut $14 billion in foreign aid and spend it on American roads, but my colleagues across the aisle oppose that. We could cut welfare and stop paying $14 billion a year to people to not work and instead pay $14 billion a year to people to work on buildings and bridges, but my colleagues across the aisle oppose that. There are plenty of solutions out there, but simply borrowing another $14 billion a year we don't have is not one of them.

Mr. Speaker, I cannot in good conscience support a transportation bill that spends, roughly, $14 billion we don't have, thereby accelerating America on its path to insolvency and bankruptcy.

In that vein, I thank Congressman Paul Broun for filing his motion to instruct and for displaying the leadership America so sorely needs. Congressman Broun is a man of principle. He has the intellect to understand the economic disaster that awaits America if Washington does not live within its means. More importantly, Mr. Broun has the backbone to do something about it. It is an honor to stand with Congressman Broun and to support his motion to instruct.


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