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Continuing Resolution

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Maryland (Mr. Hoyer).

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer

legislator photo

If our country continues on a course of fiscal irresponsibility and continues to pile debt on our children, we will all feel the consequences, no matter our party. It is vital that our two parties work together, Mr. Speaker, to put our fiscal house in order. So when I tell the House how disappointed I am in the proposal that is on the floor on spending for the rest of the fiscal year, I'm coming from a perspective of real worry about our debt, a defining challenge that must be seriously met. Sadly, that's not the seriousness we see in the Republicans' spending bills for the rest of this fiscal year.

Republicans began the new Congress by passing a rules package that paves the way to add nearly $5 trillion to the deficit. Why do I say that? Because the Republican rules provide for $4.7 trillion, to be exact, in additional spending that is not paid for over the next 10 years, while at the same time suggesting reductions in spending, which I think we need to effect. I may disagree with the specifics, but we need to effect reductions in spending. However, if you project $1 trillion in reduced spending and $5 trillion in additional unpaid-for expenditure, it doesn't take much of a mathematician to get you to $4 trillion of additional deficits. This is in the context of the $5 trillion they've authorized themselves to borrow from our children and in the context of the Republican record of fiscal irresponsibility in the past where, as I pointed out, every Republican administration with which I've served has run over a trillion dollars of deficit--$1.4 trillion for Mr. Reagan, about $1.1 trillion for the first President Bush, and $3.6 trillion or $3.7 trillion for the second President Bush--as contrasted with a $62.9 billion surplus under the Clinton administration.

Time and again, Republicans have used the rhetoric of spending cuts as a cover for massive borrowing, for record surplus to turn into record deficits--a $5.6 trillion projected surplus in 2001 turned into about a $5 trillion projected deficit in the following 8 years under President Bush--and for budgets that year after year did far more fiscal damage than they promised. This time, unfortunately, is no different.

But let's look at the actual cuts proposed in this spending bill. They're shortsighted and indiscriminate. Even as they fail to change our long-term fiscal picture for the better, these cuts recklessly damage programs essential to America's competitive edge. I agree that reducing spending is and must be a part of the fiscal solution, but let's reduce spending wisely instead of doing it in such a way that costs America jobs.

When we talk about cutting investments in education, in innovation, and in infrastructure, we are talking about cutting tomorrow's jobs, because those are exactly the investments that will build the technologies and industries of the future and help American workers stay competitive in a global economy. The Association of General Contractors said that just yesterday in USA Today.

The spending bill on the floor today would make it harder for deserving students to afford college, meaning a less educated, less competitive workforce. Every businessperson that I've talked to says that's not the way to go.

It would cut 20,000 researchers supported by the National Science Foundation and $2.5 billion in cancer and other disease research at the National Institutes of Health, meaning an America in danger of losing its place as the world's innovation leader. If we do that, we will not be the kind of country Americans want to be.

It would lead to the loss of 25,000 construction jobs and leave our air traffic control system stuck in the last century, meaning an America with an infrastructure falling further and further behind our competitors.

We need spending discipline. Everyone in America knows that, and everyone in this House knows that--but not at the cost of our future and our jobs. I suggest to you that the rules adopted in this House not only did not effect discipline; they ignored and threw out the door discipline, and said that they could borrow $4.7 trillion and not pay for it.

I can't sum up the central issue any better than Jack Lew, our Director of OMB, who said this: ``We must take care to avoid indiscriminate cuts in areas critical to long-term growth, like education, innovation, and infrastructure, cuts that would stifle the economy just as it begins to recover.'' Now, who was making a similar statement like that? Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO. Who was he doing it with? Mr. Tom Donohue, the president of the United States Chamber of Commerce. ``That, in turn, would deprive us of one of the most powerful drivers of deficit reduction, a growing economy,'' concluded Jack Lew.

The President's bipartisan fiscal commission agrees. It found that indiscriminate cuts to investments in growth would ``interfere with the ongoing economic recovery.'' Both commissions concluded that short-term substantial cuts in research, education, and innovation would be harmful to bringing this economy back to where we want it to be.

Therefore, I urge my Republicans friends: Listen to the economic and business leaders who understand the value of public investment, not as a replacement for the private sector, but in partnership with the private sector. That's the partnership that Democrats are striving for with our Make It in America agenda. ``Make it in America,'' of course, means two things:

Number one, you're going to make it. You're going to succeed. You're going to have the opportunity to get opportunities. Of course, ``make it in America'' also means that we are going to make ``it'' in America. We are going to manufacture and grow it in America and sell it here and around the world. The President wants to double our exports over the next 5 years. We can do that; we should do that, and Americans believe that, if we do that, we will remain the great economic engine that they believe our country needs to be.

We have a set of bills that helps create an environment for American companies to create jobs here and to manufacture more goods here in America so that more middle class families will be able to make it in America. Let's cut needless spending but preserve our investments in growth, and let's work together to build the bipartisan support that is essential to the hard choices our long-term fiscal problems demand.

I tell my friends on the other side of the aisle, when you look at your rules package and when you contemplate the fact that you have provided for an additional $4.7 trillion of spending without paying for it and at the same time you project a $100 billion cut per year over 10 years, $1 trillion, it is quite obvious that there is a $4 trillion hole that you have created.

Reforming the Tax Code to grow our economy and reduce the deficit is absolutely essential, in my view, eliminating wasteful defense spending that doesn't keep us safer, and keeping our entitlement programs solvent for generations to come.

Those are the challenges that both Republicans and Democrats need to face together: to cooperate, to make common cause, to make sure that our children and grandchildren inherit a fiscally sound Nation and not a Nation deeply mired in debt, not a Nation that has $4.7 trillion in expenditures without paying for them, as the Republican rules suggest.

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