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Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. COATS. Mr. President, article II, section 3 of the U.S. Constitution says that the President of the United States ``shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.''

Every President, dating all the way back from George Washington to our current President, has provided this to Congress on a yearly basis. So the State of the Union Address, which will be presented tomorrow by the President, is the continuation of a great tradition in our American government. But the State of the Union is more than just about the current state of our Union. It is about the future. It is about presenting to the American people a vision of what our country should look like and how we can get there. So before the President makes his case and sets out his priorities for the Nation, let's recognize where we are today.

What is the state of our great Nation today?

Today, America is nearly $16.5 trillion in debt--an increase of $6 trillion since the President took office in 2009.

Today, we are borrowing $40,000 per second. Just in the time I took to say that, we borrowed about $40,000. And every 10 seconds that goes by is another $400,000 that is being borrowed and, therefore, has to be repaid with interest.

Today, more than 12 million American people are looking for work, and that does not include the countless number of people who have given up looking.

And today, critical benefits and programs that our seniors and retirees need are on track to become unavailable.

Hovering around 8 percent unemployment for 49 months is a crisis that cannot be ignored. Sadly, it has, and it has become the new norm. We cannot allow that to happen.

Spending $1 trillion beyond our means each year is outrageous and unsustainable. And failing to address our massive national debt by careening from crisis to crisis in this body called Congress over now the last more than 2 years is a terrible way to run a country, to run a business, to run a family, to run anything.

So tomorrow night the President will tell the American people how he plans to lead, how he plans to turn this ship around and guide us to safer seas. We will not have the blame game and finger pointing. That does nothing to help us find solutions.

While jobs and economic recovery received barely a passing mention in the President's second inaugural address, I hope the President tomorrow evening will focus on the specific ways he will work with Congress to fix our Nation's fiscal house so we can strengthen our economy and help get Americans back to work.

There are four major topics I hope to hear from the President when he speaks to the American people tomorrow evening.

First, leadership. Time and time again, the President has refused to engage on meaningful action that would help us reduce the debt and spur economic growth. He continues to blame Congress for inaction but yet does not offer his own plans. Tomorrow night, the President needs to show the American people he is ready and fully willing to engage in the effort to lead us out of this malaise of economic uncertainty.

Second, recognition that spending is a problem. I hope the President will be honest with the American people about the extent of our spending problem and offer specific solutions. It is impossible to say with any credibility whatsoever that this gigantic bureaucracy cannot find waste, mismanagement, misuse of funds, duplication, egregious excess spending, and each agency of this government not commit to doing what is essential by trimming out the unessential.

This is a bureaucracy beyond description, and there is waste and plenty of money, as Senator Coburn and many others, including myself, have been down here talking about--clearly, spending on things the American people do not fully support, and if they knew the full extent of what the duplication was, they would demand changes. There is a real pot of funds to reach into in that regard, in order to deal with our crisis, in order to reduce and make our government more effective and more efficient.

The President keeps promising the American people that he will reduce the debt through a balanced approach. However, whenever he is asked for a plan, all we hear back is a call for more taxes. The President got what he wanted in the fiscal cliff--well over $600 billion of new taxes. And those will be added to taxes that will hit Americans as a result of the health care law. Included in ObamaCare is $1 trillion of new taxes--that has not been mentioned here, nor does the President mention it--$500 billion of which will directly affect the middle class.

So now it is time to look at the so-called other side of that balance. We need President Obama to offer a plan for serious spending reform. People whom I represent in Indiana and the American people will not support another tax increase. Spending, Mr. President--out-of-control wasteful spending by the Federal Government--is what must come next.

Third, reforming Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security.

I was pleased to hear the Senator from Michigan state that for 2 years he has been saying and committing to work to reform these programs. None of us here wants to see benefits that the American people, under Medicare and Medicaid and Social Security, are entitled to--none of us wants to take those away. We want to try to save those programs. But we all understand those programs are careening toward insolvency, and without reforms those who rely on those benefits will not receive those full benefits; and those who have to pay into them to keep those programs solvent will see dramatic increases in their taxes.

Reform for mandatory spending, particularly for Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, is something nobody wants to talk about. It is supposed to be the third rail of politics--touch it and you are gone. But this is the reality we face that we must address and have the will to take care of. And we need to address it now.

So I am hoping tomorrow evening the President will say he wants to lead a responsible bipartisan effort in terms of preserving these programs for not only those who are currently beneficiaries but for those future generations who will need funding to support their needs as they retire and grow older.

Fourth, progrowth policies. I hope the President will present specific ways to grow this economy and create jobs. We just heard some discussions here by the Senator from Rhode Island and the Senator from Michigan about closing loopholes and Tax Code reform. Once again, here is something on a bipartisan basis many of us have been talking about.

A Democrat from Oregon, Ron Wyden, and a conservative Republican from Indiana, Dan Coats, have joined together in putting forward a progrowth, competitive, comprehensive tax reform program. We agree closing egregious loopholes is very much a key to begin to present a more simple, a more fair, a more balanced Tax Code for our corporations and for the American taxpayer. What our plan does is not, though, taking the money gained from closing those loopholes and simply giving it to the government and saying spend more. We take it and use it to make that Tax Code more fair, to reduce rates so we can be more competitive, so we can spur economic growth and put people back to work.

American corporations pay the highest tax rate of any of the 36 countries in the world that are our direct competitors in terms of selling overseas. We have just moved into the last, the worst spot here, as one country reduced their tax rates significantly below what our corporate entities pay. So we want to lower those to make our companies more competitive, and that simply means that Americans have more jobs because we are exporting more goods to the rest of the world. By removing unnecessary regulatory burdens, we can also make it fair and more competitive, and we can usher in a new period of economic growth and bring new opportunity to many unemployed Americans.

I am looking for those four points. There may be more, but I think those are the four major issues that need to be addressed. I trust the President will come to this same conclusion. This is not an easy time for our country. We face many difficult challenges that demand bold solutions and demand real leadership. But, as I have said many times before on this Senate floor, these challenges, although great, are not insurmountable.

Republicans stand ready to work with our Democratic colleagues to address these critical and pressing issues. But, in reality, we cannot achieve the necessary solutions if the President continues to lead from behind and if he continues to say all that is needed is more tax revenue.

Now is the time to act on a long-term plan to address our dangerous debt and record high unemployment. Now is the time to rise above petty politics. Now is the time for gamesmanship to be taken off the floor. Now is the time to just get it done.

We owe it to every American still looking for work. We owe it to every college student hoping to use his or her skills in the workplace. We owe it to every child born today who will be saddled with $50,000 of national debt. And we owe it to previous generations who have sacrificed so much to provide us with the opportunities our generation has enjoyed.

I hope the President will show us tomorrow that he is ready to lead. After all, he is the leader elected by the American people.

We cannot solve our problems and enact a path to growth and prosperity without his engagement. This is the hope and change the American people are looking for tomorrow evening.

I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.


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