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Full Faith and Credit Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SAM JOHNSON of Texas. Madam Speaker, as I meet with my constituents back home, they tell me loud and clear their concerns about our record debt and deficits. We are nearly $17 trillion in debt. That comes out to about $53,000 per person.

My constituents back home get it. They've had to make tough choices to live within their means and they expect Washington to do the same.

My Republican colleagues and I have been committed to getting our fiscal house in order, growing our economy, and getting America back to work. In fact, we passed a budget that balances in 10 years. On the other hand, the President's and the Senate Democrats' budgets never balance--ever.

Hardworking taxpayers and their children and grandchildren deserve better. We need to leave them a stronger and more secure America, not a mountain of debt.

Madam Speaker, the bill we are considering today, the Full Faith and Credit Act, would require Treasury to make good on debt payments. The bill also enables Treasury to pay Social Security benefits to seniors, survivors, and those with disabilities and their families. Madam Speaker, let me say that again. Under this bill, seniors will get their checks, and those on disability will get their checks.

Back in 1996, we passed similar legislation to H.R. 807. Then Social Security was getting more in revenues than it was paying out in benefits, so full Social Security benefits could be paid without hitting the debt limit.

Today, there aren't enough revenues to pay Social Security benefits. To make up the difference, Treasury has to redeem the debt it owes Social Security by borrowing from the public. This may cause a small increase in the debt, because when Treasury redeems Social Security IOUs, it must pay any interest accrued on that debt. Our bill exempts this interest from counting against the debt limit.

Madam Speaker, according to CBO, Social Security's cash shortfall is projected to reach $77 billion this year. Over 10 years, Social Security's shortfall will total $1.3 trillion. These cash shortfalls are permanent and are growing each and every year.

Madam Speaker, in closing, we owe it to the American people. In fact, we must come together to preserve and protect Social Security.


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