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Public Statements

Require Presidential Leadership and No Deficit Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CANTOR. I thank the gentleman.

Madam Chair, on Monday, the President missed the deadline for submitting his fiscal year 2014 budget. So, unfortunately, we haven't yet seen what the President will propose to address our exploding debt. But if the President's 2014 budget is similar to his plan from last year, it will never achieve balance, not next year, not in 10 years, and not even in 30 or 40 years. Apparently, the President does not believe we have a spending problem in America.

Unfortunately, the facts tell us that we do. Federal spending is 22 percent higher than it was in January of '09, and debt held by the public nearly doubled by the end of the President's first term after four consecutive trillion-dollar deficits.

The seriousness of this problem was underlined yesterday when the CBO told us that unless changes are made, Federal debt held by the public will reach 76 percent of our GDP by the end of this year, the highest level since 1950, when the bills were fresh from winning World War II.

The American people recognize that perpetual large Federal deficits threaten their economic security. That's why a recent Pew Research Center poll showed 72 percent of respondents said reducing the deficit should be a top priority for national leaders. That was second only to the 86 percent who cited strengthening the economy and improving the jobs outlook. Concern about the deficit has risen from ninth among 20 issues 4 years ago to third in last month's survey.

People are worried about what perpetual Federal overspending will mean to their future. Will taxes on low- and middle-income working families have to rise to pay the bills we're racking up? Will inflation kick in, eating away at the incomes of senior citizens living on fixed incomes who already struggle to pay for gas and groceries?

Will our economy stagnate as government demand for capital crowds out private-sector borrowers who want to expand their businesses? Will our kids be condemned to a lower standard of living once our overseas creditors become concerned we won't be able to pay them back? These are real concerns.

These are the reasons we brought the PLAN Act to the floor today. I thank the gentleman from Georgia for his leadership. Life teaches that if you don't have a plan, you're planning to fail. And this President does not have any plans to balance the Federal budget ever.

The House has developed a plan to balance the budget, and we voted on it twice. This year, we intend to improve on that plan and balance the budget even sooner than the 10 years our prior proposals called for. But we can't do it alone. We need to have the cooperation of the President and the other body to make any meaningful progress.

Last month, we enacted the No Budget, No Pay law which requires both Houses of Congress to adopt a budget by April 15. Now we are hearing that the other body is planning on producing its first budget since '09, so we're making some progress.

The PLAN Act is the next step in this process. It will require the President to tell us when he thinks a balanced budget can be achieved and how he'd get us there. If his budget submission does not balance, he'll have to submit a supplemental budget by April 1 telling us the earliest date when balance can be achieved, and he will have to show us the policies he will use to make that calculation.

This way, we can begin to develop a common destination. Until we are all headed in the same direction, we'll never get there. The public is telling us we need to reduce the deficit and balance the budget. The PLAN Act will help us do that, and I urge adoption of the bill.


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