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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 444, Require Presidential Leadership and No Deficit Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Ms. JACKSON LEE. My friend from Massachusetts is absolutely right. What most of America is waiting for is for us to address the very abyss that we've put ourselves in, the cliff that we've put ourselves in--the fact that we became hostage to this idea of a commission that was necessary because we could not get Members on both sides of the aisle to be able to work together on what should be cut. It was particularly because my friends on the other side of the aisle had Members who did not understand how government functioned. Republicans did not understand that government, in fact, is a rainy-day umbrella, that we are supposed to serve the American people.

So, while we are fiddling, one could say that Rome is burning, or maybe they could say that the cities and towns of America are asking us to finally answer the question. Under the laws that we adhere to, the President has a right to submit his budget. That should be very clear. No legislation here on the floor is going to dictate the President's budget.

There is a law that says it is supposed to be the first Monday in February. We will admit that. But what President has ever had the hostage-taking of the debt ceiling so that you can't write a budget if there are individuals in the Congress that won't do the normal business, which is to raise the debt ceiling so that the American people can be taken care of?

As we speak, however, the President has introduced, today, a short-term fix to avert the sequester. The Democrats have offered a way of averting the sequester. We have nothing from the Republicans except a resolution that says a request for a plan, the very plan that the President knows by law he is going to submit as long as he knows what the amount of money is we have to work on. And, of course, the budgeting process is going through the House. The chairman of the Budget, Mr. Ryan, the ranking member of the Budget, Mr. Van Hollen, we all know the regular order, and we're going to do our work.

But putting us on the floor today and ignoring what we should be doing, I'm saddened that my amendment that indicated that I wanted to make sure that the most vulnerable in any budget process, 15.1 percent of Americans living below the poverty line, which includes 21 percent of our Nation's children, I wanted to have a sense of Congress that whatever we did, we would not do anything to harm these vulnerable children who, through no fault of their own that they may be suffering from the kind of economy, or their parents are suffering so that they live in poverty, whatever we do, we should not do anything more to make their life more devastating.


Ms. JACKSON LEE. My other amendment had to do with the estate tax to raise revenue, and that would have been a reasonable debate to address what we can do to make the lives of Americans better.

Request a plan; a plan is not action. The President does a budget; we do a budget. Mr. Speaker, let's do our work and help the American people and avoid the sequester.


Ms. JACKSON LEE. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Let me just say, I don't think anyone on this side of the aisle is not prepared to work collaboratively on the question of the deficit, on the question of growing America's economy and working with our children. Can we find common ground that indicates that we must invest in our children at the same time that we are likewise talking about debt and deficit? And that's what the Democrats are talking about, investing in our children, making their lives better.


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