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Public Statements

Putting Our Nation's Fiscal House in Order

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SCALISE. I want to thank the gentlelady from Tennessee for her leadership and for hosting not only this hour, but for being so passionate about the need to control spending and to get our economy back on track. I know she was on one of the Sunday talk shows just this weekend talking about this issue and talking about conservative solutions to avert this so-called fiscal cliff. And if you look at how we got here and what American families are facing starting January 1, if nothing gets resolved out of Washington, it's an abyss that doesn't need to happen.

If you just go back and look at some of the promises made by President Obama when he was running for office, when he was running for reelection, he talked about working across the aisle. He talked about bipartisan solutions. He talked about it a lot, and the American people expected that the President would keep that promise. But before the ink was even dry, before some of the States had even confirmed and finalized their vote totals for this last election, the President comes out with a hyperpartisan solution. That's his approach.

First of all, when the President comes out with his plan to raise taxes on some and to not renew others and to threaten, literally, middle class families with a tax increase if some people don't get their taxes raised--there already was a bipartisan solution to avert this cliff.

Just a few months ago, here in this House, we passed a bill with 19 Democrat votes--a strong bipartisan vote--to make sure nobody sees their taxes go up, completely avoiding this coming crisis. We passed that bill and sent it over to Senate. Of course, the Senate has refused to take any action on it because President Obama, and his Treasury Secretary I think has confirmed this, they're eager to go off the cliff. They think they'll get political points by doing this. This is a political calculation by them to try to blame the other party, and let's have this crisis and then go and push more taxes on the American people.

I think if you look at what the message of this campaign was--there were a lot of messages. One was people wanted us to work together on bipartisan solutions. And we've got those bipartisan solutions to avert this crisis but also to avert so many of the other crises facing our Nation.

But another thing they said--and probably the loudest thing people said--is they wanted us to focus on the economy and creating jobs. That's the biggest concern for most families across this country. People I talk to in southeast Louisiana, they're concerned about a sluggish economy, and, in many cases, it's some of the policies coming out of Washington that are creating all of these problems.

If you want to say, will tax increases solve any of these problems, first of all, let's go back and look at history. We've gone and combed through and there has never been a time in modern history where raising taxes got you to a balanced budget. Never. It's never happened. The last time that a Republican House has balanced a Federal budget was back in the year 2000. Not that long ago. It seems like a long time ago. Washington has balanced its budget. We were living within our means back then, and we weren't doing it through tax increases. It was done through controlled spending.

The last time a Democrat House has balanced a Federal budget was 1969. So maybe there aren't many people around here on the Democrat side that know how to balance a budget. But you don't do it by raising taxes. In fact, John F. Kennedy when he pushed through his economic plan that got growth going in the mid-1960s, it was through tax cuts. Go back and look at the quotes. Some of the best quotes against growth in government, against tax increases were made by John F. Kennedy when he pushed for a tax cut that ultimately was passed by President Johnson.

So where do you get economic growth? Go back and look at those years. In the 1960s when they cut taxes, there was tremendous economic growth. A lot of jobs were created. In the 1980s when Ronald Reagan cut taxes, there was tremendous economic growth, one of the greatest times in history. Ultimately, if you look at the deficits in those periods, it came because you had a Congress that didn't control spending even with more money.

And then you look at the Bush tax cuts, because that's what we're talking about here today: the expiration of the 2001 and 2003 tax rates. When those tax cuts were put in place in 2003, after that happened, within 3 years of tax cuts, the Federal Government took in 40 percent more money. Now, you wouldn't believe that if you listen to some of the mainstream media. You would think that cutting taxes takes money away from government and you need to raise taxes to bring in revenue. The opposite is true when you look at history. Forget about what politicians in Washington tell you who want to take more of your money to go and spend it on Big Government. When they cut taxes in 2003, within 3 years the Federal Government took in 40 percent more money.


Mr. SCALISE. I thank the gentlelady from Tennessee again for yielding and the gentlelady from New York for pointing those important facts out, because if you look at an important point that was just brought up, under ObamaCare, there were more than 20 different tax increases in ObamaCare, many of which, by the way, hit the middle class. Sure, in ObamaCare the President went after those rich people that he despises so much. He's happy to take their campaign cash during elections, but he went after them in ObamaCare with tax increases. But he also went after middle class families. This medical device tax that hits January 1 hits every single American that has medical procedures.

Mrs. BLACKBURN. To the gentleman from Louisiana, I hate to interrupt, but the Speaker is telling me that our time has expired. We have so much to cover. We were joined by the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. DesJarlais) who's been on the phone. I regret that we are out of time. He has been doing a telephone town hall.

We have solutions. The fiscal house has to be brought into order. I thank my colleagues for joining me on the floor tonight to help make the point to the American people. We are going to stay with this fight and solve the problem. Our children and grandchildren deserve it.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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