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Public Statements

Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. LEE. Madam President, I want to follow up on some of the comments made by my friend and colleague, the junior Senator from Virginia. I agree wholeheartedly that we need to have this debate. We need a budget. The American people want it, they deserve it, they have been without it for 4 years.

It is because we want this debate and it is because we want this issue debated in public that we have this concern. In other words, as the Senator from Texas pointed out a moment ago, there are a lot of issues that were discussed and debated and voted on when we were addressing the budget resolution a couple of months ago. We were here until 5 in the morning making sure we could get through all the amendments.

At no point during that very lengthy discussion in connection with the budget resolution did we discuss or address or have a vote on or in any way make a decision regarding the debt ceiling. That is a separate debate, one that did not come up in connection with the budget resolution. It is a debate that needs to happen. Just as the discussion of the budget resolution needs to move forward, we do need to have a public debate and ultimately a vote with regard to the debt ceiling. The American people expect us to have this debate. They expect us to have it in the light of day and not under cover of darkness behind closed doors, resulting in one of those infamous backroom deals that have given Washington its often much-deserved bad name.

The debt ceiling was not in the bill. It was not in the budget resolution. We have not debated it. All we are asking for is that the other side agree that they will not use budget reconciliation as a mechanism for working a backroom deal to raise the debt limit. The American people expect us to debate this, not in secret but in public. That is what we are trying to do.

I yield the floor.


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