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Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2014

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CALVERT. Thank you, Mr. Ryan.

This is what principled, visionary, responsible leadership looks like. I commend Chairman Ryan and the entire team for this budget and for insisting on regular order. I also congratulate this body for finally forcing the Senate to do something--introduce a budget.

We owe it to our fellow Americans to be honest about the complex fiscal challenges and options before us. That's why today's debate is one of the most important we will have this year.

Nearly every day I hear from my hardworking constituents from southwestern Riverside County who have struggled tremendously over the last 5 years. Despite the challenges they face, they continue to make ends meet by making tough fiscal decisions, whether it's for themselves, their families, or for their businesses.

Most Americans don't understand why their elected officials can't do the same. Instead, they see us jumping from one crisis to the next, putting their lives and their well-being on a constant roller coaster. Frankly, I don't understand it either.

You can't hide from the statistics. You don't have to be on the Budget Committee to understand our fiscal situation. A balanced budget is not a radical idea; it's a responsible one that the citizens of Riverside County and those around this country practice themselves.

Economists across the spectrum agree that our current path is leading us to a debt crisis should we fail to act. Make no mistake: we're on the warning track, and we should reverse course before we slam into the wall. All Americans should have real concern about what this means for the future prosperity of their own families and of our own Nation.

Under the Obama administration, U.S. public debt as a percentage of GDP is over 70 percent and growing.

As we've see with European nations, there appears to be a tipping point in the debt-to-GDP ratio, and at our current rate we are nearing dangerous territory. The reserve currency status of the dollar and our rank among world economies will only carry us for so long.

So what effect does this level of debt have on an economy and its citizens when things go south?

All you have to do is look at countries like Cyprus, Spain, and Greece. In the case of Greece, you see a depressed environment where the unemployment rate is over 26 percent; severe austerity cuts and overhauls have gutted worker benefits and the safety net system, harming seniors and the country's poorest populace; taxes on families and businesses have increased at a sharp rate; and divisive and violent social unrest has become commonplace. Most recently, we have seen a proposal to bail out Cyprus banks that would raid the savings accounts of its own population.

These are the realities of a debt-ridden country. These are the realities of liberal policies that tax too much, spend too much, borrow too much, and produce far too few jobs. We cannot afford the path that we're on.

Thankfully, we have time to change America's course, and the House Republican budget provides a 10-year plan. It puts the brakes on our unsustainable spending levels, lays out thoughtful program reforms to ensure essential government services are solvent for generations to come, prioritizes a comprehensive restructuring of our Tax Code to simplify the system, and improves our fiscal condition in a way that will allow our economy to grow providing opportunity to those that work hard no matter what station in life they start at.

Fortunately, after being prodded along, the Senate is joining the House in this conversation after a 4-year absence. I don't favor their approach to the task before us--a plan that never balances with more failed stimulus spending and additional tax hikes. I suspect the President's budget will be similar, once we finally we receive it. However, we welcome their proposals because we will have clear options laid before the American people, and we can have a comprehensive and honest discussion about future choices.

Vice President Biden famously said: Show me your budget and I'll tell you what you value. Well, with no budget submitted, we're all forced to conclude that the White House values delay and obfuscation.

Even given this nonfeasance, as an optimist I know this process will allow us to find common ground. Addressing issues of this magnitude is never easy or pretty, but it is a process worth taking. House Republicans continue to stand ready to work with the President and our Democratic colleagues in Congress to meet the complex challenges before us so that we can get our Nation back to a path to prosperity. Thankfully, the House Republican budget does exactly that.

With that, I urge a ``yes'' vote on H. Con. Res. 25.


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