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Providing For Consideration Of S. 627, Budget Control Act Of 2011

Rep. David Dreier

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Mr. Speaker, by direction of the Committee on Rules, I call up House Resolution 375 and ask for its immediate consideration.

The Clerk read the resolution, as follows:

Resolved, That upon the adoption of this resolution it shall be in order to consider in the House the bill (S. 627) to establish the Commission on Freedom of Information Act Processing Delays. All points of order against consideration of the bill are waived. The amendment in the nature of a substitute printed in part A of the report of the Committee on Rules accompanying this resolution, modified by the amendments printed in part B of that report, shall be considered as adopted. The bill, as amended, shall be considered as read. All points of order against provisions in the bill, as amended, are waived. The previous question shall be considered as ordered on the bill, as amended, to final passage without intervening motion except: (1) two hours of debate, with one hour equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Rules, 30 minutes equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on Ways and Means, and 30 minutes equally divided and controlled by the chair and ranking minority member of the Committee on the Budget; and (2) one motion to recommit with or without instructions. Sec. 2. (a) It shall be in order at any time through the calendar day of July 31, 2011, for the Speaker to entertain motions that the House suspend the rules if the legislative text that is the object of the motion was available to Members, Delegates, and the Resident Commissioner on the legislative day before consideration, except that a motion described in subsection (b) may not be entertained until the third legislative day on which the legislative text that is the object of the motion is available to Members, Delegates, and the Resident Commissioner. (b) If the Speaker entertains a motion to suspend the rules relating to a measure proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution under subsection (a) debate under clause 1(c) of rule XV shall be extended to two hours. Sec. 3. When the House adjourns by operation of section 4 of this resolution on any legislative day during the period from August 1, 2011, through September 6, 2011, it shall stand adjourned until the third constitutional day thereafter at a time to be announced by the Speaker in declaring the adjournment (except that when the House adjourns on September 6, 2011, it shall stand adjourned until 2 p.m. on September

The gentleman from California is recognized for 1 hour.

Rep. David Dreier

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Mr. Speaker, for the purpose of debate only, I yield the customary 30 minutes to my very good friend from Rochester, New York (Ms. Slaughter), the distinguished ranking minority member of the Committee on Rules, pending which I yield myself such time as I may consume.

(Mr. DREIER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his remarks.)

Rep. David Dreier

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During consideration of this resolution, all time yielded is for the purpose of debate only.

Rep. David Dreier

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I ask unanimous consent that all Members have 5 legislative days in which to revise and extend their remarks on the consideration of this rule.

Is there objection to the request of the gentleman from California?

There was no objection.

Rep. David Dreier

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Mr. Speaker, this rule provides for consideration of the Budget Control Act of 2011. It provides for 2 hours of debate, as the Reading Clerk just said. One hour is equally divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of the Committee on Rules. That'll be yours truly and Ms. Slaughter, and 30 minutes will be equally divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of the Committee on Ways and Means, and 30 minutes will be equally divided and controlled by the chairman and ranking minority member of the Committee on the Budget.

Mr. Speaker, since 1962, there have been 74 increases in the debt ceiling. At this moment, we begin what is clearly the single most historic debate on any measure that addresses increasing the debt ceiling. Why? Because for the first time we are working to get at the root cause of why it is that the debt ceiling needs to be increased.

As the debate negotiations over the looming debt ceiling limit have proceeded over the last weeks and months, people across this country are asking: How did we get to this point? How was the crisis created and how do we resolve it? As is often the case, we can't hope to reach a solution without understanding the fundamental problem.

At the very start of this process several months ago, many of our colleagues on the other side of the aisle advocated strongly and worked very, very hard for an increase in the debt ceiling that had no strings attached to it at all; had nothing attached to it at all. They argued that the debt ceiling had been increased 10 times over the last decade, and it was just a perfunctory legislative act that should be done without any broader debate or accompanying policy changes.

Mr. Speaker, that approach is precisely the fundamental problem. And that approach is one that has, throughout the past several decades, led to what for all intents and purposes was little more than a blind increase in the debt ceiling itself. For years and years and years, the Federal Government has spent money that it does not have, expanding the size and scope of government and its reach without regard to the long-term fiscal consequences.

When the tax dollars ran out, Mr. Speaker, it turned to borrowing voraciously. Each and every time the borrowed money ran out, the Federal Government just borrowed more. It was always clear that catastrophic consequences would ensue if the U.S. Government defaulted on its obligations. So Congress took the path of least resistance and simply raised the debt ceiling. But sometimes, Mr. Speaker, the path of least resistance is, in fact, the road to ruin.

Raising the debt ceiling, without taking measures to address the underlying issues merely put off the crisis for a short time, making it larger and more entrenched in the process. That's how we got to the point where we are today.

And that's why from the very outset Republicans have insisted that this time would be different. We refused to contemplate yet another debt ceiling increase without addressing the underlying cycle of reckless, unaccountable spending and borrowing.

Yes, we absolutely must avert the looming crisis that could force the United States Government to default and put our ailing economy into a tailspin. But, Mr. Speaker, we cannot and will not do so in a way that creates an even bigger crisis down the road.

Republicans put Washington on notice that the era of unchecked spending was coming to an end at the start of this Congress with the passage of H.R. 1, which dramatically cut spending for the current fiscal year. We continued the process of imposing new levels of fiscal discipline with the passage of our budget resolution for the coming fiscal year. This measure outlined not just spending cuts but long-term reforms that would help to prevent entitlement programs from collapsing into insolvency and dragging the rest of the economy along with them.

In May of this year, at the Economic Club of New York, Speaker Boehner once again outlined the Republican agenda for creating growth and opportunity, creating jobs and opportunity for our fellow Americans through greater fiscal discipline and more rigorous accountability for the size and scope of government.

From the very start of this new majority, Mr. Speaker, and at every step of the way since, Republicans have been fighting for real solutions to the fiscal mess that the country finds itself in. We promised that we would start a new course, and it is with a great deal of pride, Mr. Speaker, that I stand here and say we have done just that.

Today's underlying legislation, this underlying measure is a dramatic stride forward in our ongoing quest. While we have steadily laid the groundwork over the last 6 months, this plan represents the single most significant, most fundamental reform to our fiscal situation in the modern era.

It makes immediate, enormous cuts in Federal spending. These cuts are greater than the corresponding increase in the debt ceiling, ensuring that action taken to avert an immediate crisis is coupled with a massive down payment on dealing with the long-term crisis.

It sets caps on spending in order to impose discipline and accountability on the process going forward. It establishes a joint select committee that will be directed to identify at least $1.8 trillion in additional cuts and guarantee an expedited vote on those cuts later this year.

This is a critical component to the long-term solution.

Mr. Speaker, you know very well that we've had countless commissions over the years that have proposed ideas for cutting deficits. Some ideas have had more merit than others, but their merit has been immaterial because no serious proposal has been afforded congressional consideration. This measure before us ensures that Congress will address the proposals that we receive.

Now, for the last 6 months, the House of Representatives has taken a number of key steps to rein in spending and ensure greater accountability and discipline in the use of taxpayer dollars. Yet they have been held up indefinitely by our friends in the other body. Today's underlying measure would eliminate the challenge by guaranteeing a clean up-or-down vote in both Chambers of the work product that emerges from this Joint Select Committee. The entire Congress, Mr. Speaker, will have no choice but to consider real solutions. Each and every Member of the House and the Senate will have to go on record. No deficit commission, Mr. Speaker, no deficit commission, no plan, no proposal that has come before has had that kind of guarantee, the kind of guarantee that is included in this measure that's before us.

Today's underlying measure also moves the process forward on a balanced budget amendment. Taken together, these proposals represent a radical departure from the status quo. Mr. Speaker, they fundamentally alter our Federal spending process in order not just to avert an immediate crisis but to diffuse the ticking timebomb of our $14.3 trillion national debt.

Mr. Speaker, global markets, U.S. job creators, and, most importantly, the American people are watching what we do here today. They want to see bold and credible action that restores confidence in our economy now and in the future.

This legislation, Mr. Speaker, delivers that very action that the American people, that U.S. markets and the global markets are seeking. It's a plan for the short, medium, and long term. It fundamentally alters the current landscape and helps to ensure that we never get back to where we are right now, and that is, as we all know, on the brink of a fiscal and economic catastrophe.

Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues--and I hope very much that we will be able to enjoy bipartisan support. I urge them to support both the rule that allows for consideration of this measure and the underlying legislation.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter

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I thank the gentleman, my friend Mr. Dreier, for yielding me the customary 30 minutes, and I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, we all recognize that we have two separate but equally urgent issues facing our country: raising the debt ceiling and reducing the Nation's debt. In this Congress we should make a serious effort to do both. However, after 100 years, almost, of protecting the full faith and credit of the United States by raising the debt ceiling without pause, the majority's decided to hold the debt ceiling hostage in order to push drastic cuts and place the burden of future debt reduction squarely upon the middle class. This unprecedented effort to put ideology before country has led us to the brink of default, a prospect that is all too real as we vote today.

The plan we're considering today is not the product of a bipartisan compromise. No matter how many times anybody says that, it does not make it true. We're considering a bill the majority knows will never be approved by the Senate nor signed by the President. Members of the House are being told to vote on legislation despite having no idea, no idea, what cuts are in this bill. Any Democrat who votes for this bill could be cutting Social Security or heating for low-income families and not even know it. To ask the House to vote on undisclosed cuts is a cynical waste of time.

Furthermore, the bill shrugs aside the burden of governing. It asks us to vote like a mock government that will be set up and pass the buck to a commission to make decisions for us, leaving us to simply rubberstamp what they decide. That is not why I ran or was elected to Congress, and it is an abandonment of the responsibilities we are sworn to uphold.

Today's reckless plan would put us right back in the same situation a few months from now when the atmosphere is even more politically charged by the coming election. Our economy and our markets won't have the stability they need. Credit agencies will have no choice but to downgrade the U.S. debt. This would cause interest rates to rise, effectively raising taxes for every American family.

The leaders of the majority know this and said so publicly, but they don't seem to care. In a June 13 interview with Politico, Majority Leader Cantor said, ``We feel very strongly that one of the reasons why we continue to see an ailing economy is that people have very little confidence, have very little certainty in terms of where we are headed.'' In that same interview, he was explicit that he wants a single debt ceiling vote for this Congress and not, as he said, ``a series of short-term extensions, as some have suggested.''

The following week Politico quoted Leader Cantor saying, ``If we can't make the tough decisions now, why would we be making them later? I don't see how multiple votes on a debt ceiling increase can help get us to where we want to go.'' Yet here we are today considering a bill that will require a second debt ceiling vote just 6 months from now.

Not only is this bill awful policy and a waste of our time, but the rule before us clears the way, which will come as a great surprise to Members, for a constitutional amendment that would give a simple majority the ability to cut spending, while only allowing the government to raise revenues--that is, to go after the people who are more able to pay and to get corporations to pay their own way--by having to have approval of three-fifths of the House to do that. In other words, they are sacrosanct; the poor always give.

This cut-first, think-later approach would directly harm the middle class. The amendment stacks the deck in favor of future cuts to Social Security and Medicare and Medicaid while making it virtually impossible to close tax loopholes for oil companies and millionaires who own private jets.

As if this was not enough, the process by which we will vote on this amendment is a disgrace to this institution. Under today's rule the majority proposes we consider a constitutional amendment under suspension of the rules, the most closed procedure that we have. As we all should know, suspension of the rules is designed for noncontroversial legislation such as naming a post office or congratulating a winning sports team. To give a constitutional amendment the same consideration as renaming a post office is embarrassing for us and a disgrace to the dignity and tradition of the House.

In closing, today's debate is about fairness. Are we a nation that asks the most of those who have the least? It certainly appears so. Or are we a nation of shared sacrifice and fairness, a nation that asks every American to do his fair share? Today's bill turns upside-down any notion of fairness and proposes radical changes to our Constitution that would protect millionaires and special interests while making it easier than ever to take from the middle class.

For this reason I strongly urge my colleagues to vote ``no'' on today's rule and the underlying legislation.

I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. David Dreier

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Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to my friend from Lawrenceville, Georgia (Mr. Woodall), now in his seventh month as a Member of Congress, the Budget Committee's representative from the Committee on Rules.

Rep. Rob Woodall

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I very much thank the chairman for yielding.

That's right, 7 months--7 months.

I'm one of the new guys on Capitol Hill, and I ran for Congress to do exactly what we're doing down here today.

There are going to be a lot of folks down here with accusations and recriminations. I just want you to know I'm going to be the guy down here with a smile on my face because today is why I came to Congress.

Seventy-three times, I'm told by folks who have been here longer than I, this Congress has taken a withdrawal out of America's ATM.

Rep. David Dreier

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Will the gentleman yield?

Rep. Rob Woodall

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I would be happy to yield to the gentleman from California.

Rep. David Dreier

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I thank my friend for yielding.

I just wanted to say it's 74 times.

Rep. Rob Woodall

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Seventy-four times. I appreciate the chairman for correcting me. Seventy-four times that America's ATM card has been stuck in, no funds to withdraw, and yet cash has been dispensed. And not once, I'm told by my friend from New York, not once have we ever tied any spending decisions to increasing America's credit line. That's outrageous. That's outrageous.

But today we do. Today we do. Today we say the buck stops with the 112th Congress. The buck stops with us.

Rep. David Dreier

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Will the gentleman yield again?

Rep. Rob Woodall

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I would be happy to yield to the chairman.

Rep. David Dreier

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I've just been informed by the staff that both the gentleman and I are wrong, Mr. Speaker. It's 75 times that this has taken place. I've just been told by the Congressional Research Service. So we're just being very modest in our assessment of it so far. But we're up to 75, as of right now.

Rep. Rob Woodall

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I thank the chairman.

Rep. David Dreier

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I thank my friend for yielding.

Rep. Rob Woodall

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That almost takes the smile off my face. Can you believe that? Seventy-five times this Congress, the people's House, the most responsive body we have in Federal Government, has reached in with that ATM card and taken that money out, with absolutely no funds on deposit. Again, the buck stops today.

Now, in fairness, Mr. Speaker, this bill does not do everything I wanted it to do. I wanted more. And each and every time we've had an opportunity--we had an opportunity in H.R. 1, that continuing resolution we passed. A great process, a great debate, great conclusion. This does not go as far as the House budget--the budget that we passed that day.

Mr. Speaker, you remember we considered absolutely every budget that any Member of Congress brought to the floor of this House. We decided on one. This doesn't do as much as that did. But you know what this does do? This says we're not going to increase the credit line by a penny unless we're cutting a penny too, because the problem in this town, I have learned, Mr. Speaker, in 7 months, is not that we don't spend enough. It's not. And that's a legitimate disagreement I have found that we have. But it is not that we don't spend enough. The problem is that we spend too much.

Mr. Speaker, do I wish that we were doing more in this bill today? Yes, I do. But I smile with pride because we could have been yet another Congress, Congress No. 76, where we just kick the can down the road and accept no responsibility at all. We don't do that, Mr. Speaker. The buck stops here. I'm in strong support of this rule.

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter

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Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Massachusetts, my colleague on the Rules Committee, Mr. McGovern.

Rep. Jim McGovern

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I rise in strong opposition to this closed rule, to this closed process, and to the underlying bill.

Mr. Speaker, I keep expecting lion tamers and acrobats to appear on the House floor. Because this process, under this Republican leadership, has become a complete circus. The underlying Boehner plan should be called the Republican Default Act.

The rule allows the Republican leadership to bring a radical balanced budget amendment to the Constitution before the House, but right now we have no idea what that amendment will look like. This is crazy.

Our Founding Fathers spent weeks and weeks arguing over every clause, conjunction, and comma in the Constitution. But today, my Republican friends treat it as just another excuse for a partisan press release. And why are they doing this, Mr. Speaker? It's simple. Politics. The Speaker of the House made that clear in a radio interview. He argued that the reason the Republicans should support his radical plan to slash Medicare and Social Security and education and medical research is that ``Barack Obama hates it, Harry Reid hates it, Nancy Pelosi hates it.''

And yesterday, in a meeting of the Republican conference, their leadership tried to rally votes for this bill by playing a clip from the movie, ``The Town.'' The quote they used--and I guess this was supposed to be inspirational--was this: ``I need your help. I can't tell you what it is, you can never ask me about it later, and we're gonna hurt some people.''

The problem is, Mr. Speaker, that the people they're going to hurt are senior citizens on Medicare and Social Security. They're going to hurt children who don't have enough to eat. They're going to hurt students trying to afford a college education. They're going to hurt the very people who can least afford to take the hit, all in the name of protecting tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. Their approach is reckless. Their approach is wrong. Their approach is unfair. And I urge my colleagues to vote against this rule and against this bill.

Rep. David Dreier

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I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I rise to simply congratulate my colleague for the success that he had last night in the Rules Committee in encouraging the Rules Committee to adopt a measure that will ensure that we would have the 3-day layover requirement in place for consideration of any balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. The gentleman offered the amendment, and I'm very pleased that the Rules Committee saw fit to make it in order. I want to congratulate the gentleman.

Rep. Jim McGovern

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Will the gentleman yield?

Rep. David Dreier

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I would be happy to yield to the gentleman from Massachusetts.

Rep. Jim McGovern

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I appreciate it very much. The problem is you're bringing it under a suspension of the rules, the most closed process that we have in this House. There are no amendments. Quite frankly, even 3 days is not enough to do the proper and due diligence on a constitutional amendment to the United States Constitution.

Rep. David Dreier

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Reclaiming my time, I would say to my friend that in both 1962 and 1983 constitutional amendments were brought up in this House under suspension of the rules. This is not at all unprecedented. What is unprecedented is the fact that we said there would in fact be, based on the gentleman's amendment, a 3-day layover requirement addressed to ensure that Members would have an opportunity to see the proposed constitutional amendment before it is voted on.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to a very distinguished former Rules Committee member, my very good friend, the gentleman from Oklahoma, Tom Cole.

Rep. Tom Cole

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I thank the gentleman for yielding, and I rise to support the rule and the underlying legislation.

Mr. Speaker, this is the second time that this Congress has chosen--this House--has chosen to raise the debt ceiling in a responsible and historic way, that is, not only allowing the ceiling to go up, but coupling it with real reductions in long-term spending that we all know need to occur. So far, the President and the other body have both failed to act. The Senate, just for the record, hasn't even passed a budget in 2 years, hasn't moved a piece of legislation in this crisis. Frankly, it has done nothing.

The President is now a born-again deficit hawk. It's a false conversion. Let's just look at the record. He appointed a deficit reduction commission and then refused to adopt any of its recommendations. He sent this body and the other body a budget that was so flawed, it failed 97-0 in a Democratic Senate. He asked for a clean vote on the debt ceiling in this body. He was given that vote, and he got fewer than a hundred of my friends on the other side to vote with him. He's talked about a plan, but never presented a plan in public. Frankly, the President in this crisis has failed to lead.

But we have not failed to act.

I'm proud of our Speaker, I'm proud of our Congress, and I know I'm going to be proud of the House at the end of the day because this House is going to do the right thing for the American people. We'll see if the Senate and the President will follow suit.

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter

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I am pleased to yield 1\1/2\ minutes to the gentleman from North Carolina, an expert on the Constitution, Mr. Price.

Rep. David E. Price

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Mr. Speaker, since our Republican colleagues assumed the majority in January, we have swung from one artificially created crisis to the next.

In the spring, we barely dodged a government shutdown. Now we face an unprecedented and unnecessary crisis over raising the debt ceiling, an event that's occurred more than 70 times since 1964. And we're already hearing rumblings of another potential shutdown in October at the end of the current fiscal year.

Mr. Speaker, the most baffling part of this legislation is that it requires us to have this debate all over again in 6 months.

Time and time again, I've heard my Republican colleagues say that private capital has not found its way back into the market because of economic uncertainty. Surely the majority cannot believe that going through this debate again in 6 months would do anything to increase market stability or reduce uncertainty.

Mr. Speaker, lurching from one politically motivated calamity to the next is doing our economy great harm. It's doing our country great harm. We need a bill that addresses the default issue for the long term, not one that will require us to repeat this madness in a matter of weeks. It's past time for the majority to bring such a bill to this floor, so that we can focus on bringing jobs back and building our economy for the long haul.

Rep. David Dreier

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Mr. Speaker, at this time I am happy to yield 3 minutes to another hardworking member of the Committee on Rules, my good friend from Spring Hill, Florida (Mr. Nugent).

Rep. Richard Nugent

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I thank the chairman of the Rules Committee, the gentleman from California, for allowing me to speak on this topic.

We have an obligation to ensure that government doesn't default on its debts for the first time in history. I've always said that America is a country that keeps her promises, and those promises include our debts. The Senate hasn't acted. The President hasn't acted. So today, the House is considering yet another solution to keep these promises. I'm not just talking about promises to our creditors. If we default, we break promises to our seniors, to our troops, and to our veterans. Such a scenario, in my view, is just totally unacceptable.

The Budget Control Act is a way forward. It's a down payment on serious spending reforms. It's cuts now, and it's more cuts in the future. Most importantly, it requires both chambers of Congress to vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

Future cuts and future spending caps are all well and good, but they don't hold our feet to the fire. We all know, if the Federal Government wants to spend money, they will do it. They've proven that time and time again. The Budget Control Act recognizes that we can't keep spending what we don't have, which is why it requires Congress to vote on a balanced budget amendment.

It's a new promise to the American people--a promise that we are going to do better, a promise that we will only spend what we collect.

President Obama says he wants a balanced approach. What we want, what the American people want, is a balanced budget. The President has done plenty of telling us what he won't do. What President Obama hasn't told us is what he will do. What President Obama has are his speeches. Speeches aren't plans.

A plan is what we have here in front of us today. It's a good plan. Could it be better? All of us on this side of the aisle believe it could be. We passed a resolution of Cut, Cap, and Balance, but that died in the Senate. So, today, we are talking about what is going to move this country forward, what is going to set us up on a path of sustainable spending, not what we're currently living with, which is an addiction. We have a spending addiction in the United States.

The time of the gentleman has expired.

Rep. David Dreier

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Mr. Speaker, I am very happy to yield my friend from Spring Hill an additional 30 seconds.

Rep. Richard Nugent

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A plan is what we have here in front of us today, and it's a new way forward. I hope my colleagues on both sides of the aisle recognize that and move with us.

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter

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Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. Markey).

Sen. Edward J. Markey

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The Republican Party's deficit plan is very simple: one, prolong the default crisis; two, push the Nation to the very brink of economic collapse; three, repeat it all again and again until election day 2012.

The Republican Party cares only about political victory. They don't want compromise. They want capitulation.

And if America goes into default, it will be your fault.

We now have the pluperfect form of the Republican Party's political paradox: Republicans hate government, but they have to run for office in order to make sure it doesn't work. In 1995 and '96, the Republican Party shut down the Federal Government. In 1997 and '98, the Republicans shut down the Congress over impeachment. Earlier this year, they threatened to shut down the Federal Government again unless they got an extension of tax cuts for the very rich.

And now Republicans are trying to shut down the entire economy. Republicans are turning Americans into the laughingstock of the world.

If our Nation defaults, it will devastate Americans all across the country. If you have an adjustable rate mortgage, you will pay more. If you have a credit card, you will pay more. If you have a small business, you will pay more.

This Republican default will impose a Tea Party tax on the entire country. It will force Americans to pay billions more of their hard-earned money when they can least afford it. The Tea Party has congressional Republicans wrapped around its little finger, but it's the American people who are going to get squeezed. The Republican Party doesn't care. After all, it was the Bush administration and congressional Republicans who put us on this course in the first place.

The only way to end this historic nightmare is to resolve another massive deficit--the leadership deficit in the Republican Party.

Rep. David Dreier

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume to say to my very good friend from Massachusetts that, as I listen to those remarks, I am really struck by the fact that our view is that we're in this together, and I will say for the record that we care about absolutely everything that my friend said we don't care about.

We as a Nation have a challenge that needs to be addressed in a bipartisan way. The measure that is before us today is one that was--and I underscore the word ``was''--agreed to by the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, and by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner. Now, I know that Senator Reid is not at this juncture supportive of this measure; but it's important to note that we need to bring about greater spending cuts.

I know that I speak for most all of my Republican colleagues when I say that this is really the beginning of a process towards reducing the size and scope and reach of government. We feel passionately about the need to expand individual initiative and opportunity in this country, and to characterize us as doing nothing but wanting to close down the government and being controlled by some outside group, Mr. Speaker, we as Republicans want to work in a bipartisan way because we recognize that Barack Obama is the President of the United States and that the Democrats have control in the United States Senate. That's why Speaker Boehner has worked diligently in pursuing the goals and the priorities that we have, but at the same time, he has recognized that we can't get it all.

No one is happy with this measure that is before us. Speaker Boehner is not happy with this measure that is before us, but he understands that we have to ensure that we don't see the Nation go over the brink and that we do, in fact, increase the debt ceiling, but his goal has been to get to the root cause.

As we've now found out, 75 times the debt ceiling has been increased since 1962. In fact, I'm told that former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, as he's on his book tour, is now talking about the fact that we've seen the increase that he had to vote on in 1962. It was a $250 billion increase in the debt ceiling at that time, and it was the first of 75 increases that we've had. Never before in our history have we, Mr. Speaker, focused on getting at the root cause of why it is we have to increase the debt ceiling.

So it was a very interesting presentation that my friend just gave, but I will tell you that I want to work with him and that I want to work with other Democrats to make sure that we address this and do it for the American people.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter

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Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the gentlelady from Florida (Ms. Wasserman Schultz).

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz

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I rise in strong opposition to the Republican Default Act, which represents a continued effort by our Republican colleagues to hold our economy hostage while forcing an ideological agenda and jeopardizing our economy.

Yet again, our colleagues across the aisle have put forward a legislative proposal that would lead to crippling cuts in Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid, all while refusing to even consider ending ill-advised tax breaks for the most fortunate Americans.

Who absorbs the total burden from these drastic cuts, Mr. Speaker? Our seniors and working families, that's who.

On a day when Exxon Mobil's second quarter profits soared 41 percent and they earned $10 billion, it is simply unconscionable for us to ask seniors, working families, children, and middle class folks to bear the burden of our deficits when we are asking nothing--nothing--of corporations, special interests and the wealthiest few. This short-term debt limit increase measure fails to instill the necessary confidence in the American people that we have their best interests at heart, and it certainly does little to calm our creditors throughout the world.

I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in opposition to this reckless, dead-on-arrival bill that the majority of the Senate and the President oppose so that we can find legitimate compromise with a long-term solution. Mr. Speaker, Democrats have been sitting at the compromise table for a very long time. There is a cold, empty chair across the table from us. It is time for the Republicans to warm that seat.

Rep. David Dreier

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I continue to reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter

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Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Maine, a former member of the Rules Committee, Ms. Pingree.

Rep. Chellie Pingree

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I thank my former colleague for her wonderful work and for recognizing me today.

Mr. Speaker, about an hour ago, I met with a wonderful group of religious and civic leaders from around this country. After our meeting, they walked into the Capitol Rotunda, they got down on their knees to pray, and at this moment, they are being arrested.

They were praying for those who will be hurt the hardest by the bill that we are considering today. They were praying for seniors who will face rising costs for their prescription drugs. They were praying for low-income Americans who depend on heating assistance to stay warm in the winter. They were praying for working families who already struggle to make ends meet and find a way to send their kids to college. They were praying for the millions of Americans who don't have high-priced lobbyists to protect them.

You know who can afford those lobbyists? Corporations who ship jobs overseas and are protected by this bill, the big oil companies whose subsidies are protected in this bill, the millionaires and billionaires whose tax breaks are protected in this bill.

Mr. Speaker, the men and women arrested today were standing up for the families that find it harder and harder to afford basics like groceries and heat and health care.

I urge you to vote against this rule and against this bill and join them, the members of the faith and civic community, who are standing up for those Americans.

Rep. David Dreier

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Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I might consume to say to my good friend from Maine and former Rules Committee colleague that obviously we want to do everything we can to ensure that people do receive their Social Security checks.

On July 12, the President of the United States said that if we don't see an increase in the debt ceiling take place by August 2, that he can't guarantee that Social Security checks will in fact go out.

So, Mr. Speaker, it's pretty apparent that we have a proposal before us. It's a proposal that Speaker Boehner and Senator Reid worked on in good faith last weekend. Senator Reid is no longer supportive of this. But this is what was a bipartisan work product that came forward to ensure that we could increase the debt ceiling and to ensure that we would not see our Nation go into default.

So I would say to my friends who are advocating a vote against this, any Member who does vote against this is voting for us to go into default. Why? We are faced with a very, very certain time limit. It happens to be August 2.

Now, we've just gotten word that our colleagues in the other body are, upon passage of this measure here in the House of Representatives, potentially moving to table the measure in the Senate. Mr. Speaker, that will only slow down and undermine the opportunity for those people who have been on their knees in the great Rotunda of this Capitol praying to ensure that no one is denied their Social Security check, that enhances the prospect of those Social Security checks not being delivered.

So, Mr. Speaker, I will say that I pray that we don't go into default. I pray that our Nation does not go over the edge, and I hope and pray that we are able, in a bipartisan way, to successfully address this issue.

With that, I reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter

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I yield myself 30 seconds just to say that we know very good and well where the majority stands on Social Security and Medicare because we heard the Ryan proposal, and everybody knows it in the country. Those programs are to be changed from what we have, and we're working really hard here to help them out, maybe what you would consider a temporary solution.

I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. Connolly).

Rep. Gerald E. Connolly

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I thank the gentlelady.

Bond rating houses have already predicted that if we have a short-term fix to the debt ceiling here in the House today, we risk the downgrading of the creditworthiness of this country. Now, the GOP has proved itself fundamentally ill-suited to governance on this issue. They were for a big deal before they were against it, they were against a short-term fix before they were for it, and at least two walkouts from negotiations they asked for.

They can't accept a ``yes'' from the United States Senate getting what they wanted in the proposal: $2.2 trillion in cuts, no revenue, and a fix through 2012, providing the very certainty just in the last campaign cycle they preached about forever.

So why would they insist on this plan, a short-term fix that actually cuts less spending? Speaker Boehner said, ``to make sure the Democrats don't prevail in the Senate or at the White House.'' That simple. And that cynical.

It is no coincidence that the Republicans chose the clip from ``The Town.'' The topic has Ben Affleck talking about, ``We're going to harm some people.'' And his colleague jumps up and says, ``Whose car are we going to use?'' Reportedly, in the Republican caucus, somebody jumped up and said, ``I'll drive the car.''

I'm afraid that's true.

They're willing to drive the car to harm some people today. Though what they forgot to tell their caucus was that that scene is about a group of people plotting a crime. And that's what it will be today if we pass this seductively simple, short-term plan that will hurt America and hurt America's families.

Rep. David Dreier

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Mr. Speaker, may I inquire of the Chair how much time is remaining on each side?

The gentleman from California has 6\1/2\ minutes, and the gentlewoman from New York has 13\1/2\ minutes.

Rep. David Dreier

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I will continue to reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter

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Let me now yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from Texas (Ms. Jackson Lee).

Thank you, Ms. Slaughter, for your generosity. And I want to thank the gentlelady from Maine for recounting the prayers of Americans. And I would ask them to continue to pray, because compromise is part of the democratic way.

But my friends on the other side did not tell you correctly why we are now involved in frivolous activity on the floor. We're not raising the debt ceiling. And the reason is there are 53 Senators in the other body that have signed a letter that said they're absolutely not going to vote for this draconian presentation. And the reason--and let me call the roll.

The reason they're not going to vote for it is because it is a short-term solution to a long-term problem. It has no revenues along with cuts. Sixty-four percent of the American people say balance it, cuts with revenues, to invest in our Nation.

Let me read the roll why Senators are not voting, the other body is not voting. Democrats recognize this is not the way to go.

You will lose your Medicare. Pell Grants will not be available for our young people. Medicaid will see in its loss seniors being put out of nursing homes. And then we'll have Social Security, our safety net, being trampled on. The loss of America's savings. The Dow went down 200 points yesterday. Just wait until under this bill we do it again and again and again, Americans will lose their shirt. The American Dream of buying a home will be lost. And all of our mobility systems, America's railroads and airports and airlines, will be jeopardized.

Pay our bills. And if we cannot pay our bills, Mr. President, use the Constitution and use the 14th Amendment if we cannot pay our bills.

To my friends on the other side of the aisle, many of us have already voted for a clean debt ceiling. We're willing to do it again. But we will not suffer the idea of a one-sided government that takes away entitlement, that caps spending that is for those who are in need and balances an amendment on the backs of those who are suffering from devastating disasters in States like Missouri, States like Alabama, with all of the flooding.

This is not the way to go. Vote ``no'' on this rule and ``no'' on the underlying bill.

Pray for America.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in opposition to the House Amendment to S. 627, the ``Budget Control Act of 2011,'' which, like the previous debt-ceiling bills introduced by my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, attempts to resolve our budget ceiling crisis by demanding sharp cuts to domestic programs that ask average Americans to make life-changing sacrifices while not asking America's wealthiest individuals and most profitable corporations to contribute their fair share.

In my lifetime, I have never seen such a concerted effort to ransom the American economy in order to extort the American public. While I support bipartisan efforts to increase the debt limit and to resolve our differences over budgetary revenue and spending issues, I cannot support a bill that unduly robs average Americans of their economic security and ability to provide for their families while constraining the ability of Congress to deal effectively with America's economic, fiscal, and job creation troubles.

The Budget Control Act of 2011 cuts $22 billion from the Federal Budget for FY2012. Robert McIntyre, of Citizens for Tax Justice testified before the Senate Budget Committee that tax loopholes for corporations, big business owners and business investors cost the Treasury Department $365 billion dollars in FY2011.

This bill is essentially a rehashed version of the same bill that President Obama promised to veto and the Senate vowed to reject. It asks for $917 billion in cuts from domestic spending for a $900 billion dollar increase in the debt ceiling, while demanding nothing in revenue from the nation's wealthiest. It's nothing more than a ransom note, irresponsibly raising the debt ceiling for only a few months so that in just a short period of time, the American public can be hit up again for $1.6 trillion in cuts from Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Veterans benefits.

There has been a theme this Congress of focusing on cutting programs that benefit the public good and for the most at need, while ignoring the need to focus on job creation and economic recovery. This bill is wasting a tremendous amount of time when we should be focused on paying our nation's bills and resolving our differences!

In my district, the Texas 18th, more than 190,000 people live below the poverty line. We must not, we cannot, at a time when the Census Bureau places the number of Americans living in poverty at the highest rate in over 50 years, cut vital social services. Not in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and persistent unemployment, when so many rely on federal benefits to survive, like the Supplemental Nutrition Access Program (SNAP) that fed 3.9 million residents of Texas in April 2011, or the Women, Infant, and Children, WIC, Program that provides nutritious food to more than 990,000 mothers and children in my home state.

In 2009, there were 43.6 million Americans living in poverty nationwide. According to the 2010 Federal poverty threshold, determined by the U.S. Census, a family of four is considered impoverished if they are living on less than $22,314 per year.

Children represent a disproportionate amount of the United States poor population. In 2008, there were 15.45 million impoverished children in the Nation, 20.7 percent of America's youth. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that there are currently 5.6 million Texans living in poverty, 2.2 million of them children, and that 17.4 percent of households in the state struggle with food insecurity.

There is no doubt that we must reduce the national debt, but my Republican colleagues' desire for instant gratification through deep spending cuts to benefits, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security is reckless and threatens the financial security of millions of Americans.

Instead of closing corporate tax loopholes to reduce the deficit, the Budget Control Act cuts discretionary spending, and requires Congress to draft proposals to cut at least $1.8 trillion from Medicare and Social Security. This is an outrage, and an insult to the American dream.

Forcing Congress to draft plans to cut 1.8 trillion from Medicare and Social Security forces Members to disregard the best interests of their constituents. Medicare guarantees a healthy and secure retirement for Americans who have paid into it for their entire working lives. Protecting Medicare represents the basic values of fairness and respect for our seniors, including the 2.9 million Texans who received Medicare in 2010.

Any cuts to Medicaid would be just as damaging. Harris County has one of the highest Medicaid enrollment records in Texas. Limits and cuts to Medicaid funds would significantly hurt the citizens of Texas's 18th District. Harris County averages between 500,000 and 600,000 Medicaid recipients monthly, thousands of people who may not have access to healthcare should Congress sacrifice Medicaid to cut spending.

Yes, we must take steps to balance the budget and reduce the national debt, but not at the expense of vital social programs. It is unconscionable that in our nation of vast resources, my Republican colleagues would pass a budget that cuts funding for essential social programs. Poverty impacts far too many Americans and social safety nets provide these individuals with vital assistance.

Perhaps my friends on the other side of the aisle are content to conclude that life simply is not fair, equality is not accessible to everyone, and the less advantaged among us are condemned to remain as they are, but I do not accept that. That kind of complacency is not fitting for America.

As we continue to discuss the necessity of increasing out debt ceiling, I have heard the concerns of many of my constituents and the American people regarding the size of our national debt and the care with which taxpayer money is spent. I, too, am concerned about these issues; for to burden future generations of Americans with tremendous amounts of debt should not be a way to avoid our fiscal responsibilities to the American people. However, the task of resolving our debt ceiling crisis must take precedence over other concerns, including political ideology. The game is up, and the American people understand that increasing the debt ceiling has nothing to do with any new spending and everything to do with paying off the obligations that we have already agreed to and promised to pay.

Prior to the existence of the debt ceiling, Congress had to approve borrowing each time the Federal Government wished to borrow money in order to carry out its functions. With the onset of World War I, more flexibility was needed to expand the government's capability to borrow money expeditiously in order to meet the rapidly changing requirements of funding a major war in the modern era.

To address this need, the first debt ceiling was established in 1917, allowing the Federal Government to borrow money to meet its obligations without prior Congressional approval, so long as in the aggregate, the amount borrowed did not eclipse a specified limit.

Since the debt limit was first put in place, Congress has increased it over 100 times; in fact, it was raised 10 times within the past decade. Congress last came together and raised the debt ceiling in February 2010. Today, the debt ceiling currently stands at $14.3 trillion dollars. In reality, that limit has already been eclipsed, but due to accounting procedures by Treasury Secretary Geithner, the debt limit can be artificially avoided until August 2.

Congress must act now in order to avert a crisis. Never in the history of America has the United States defaulted on its debt obligations.

We must be clear on what this issue means for our country. America has earned a reputation as the world's most trusted borrower. United States Treasury bonds have traditionally been one of the safest investments another country or investor could make. For investors around the world, purchasing a U.S. Treasury bond meant that they held something virtually as safe as cash, backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.

In turn, with the proceeds from the bonds, the Federal Government of the world's largest economy is able to finance its operations. If the United States defaults on its debt obligations, the financial crisis that began in 2008 would pale in comparison, according to economic experts. The ensuing economic catastrophe would not only place the U.S. economy in a tailspin, but the world economy as well.

The fact that Congress, a body that typically has its fair share of political battles, has never played political chicken when it came to raising the debt ceiling should give us all pause, and is a testament to the seriousness with which we must approach this issue. However, this time around, my Republican colleagues have created an impasse based upon an ideological commitment to spending cuts. While I understand and share the concern of my Republican colleagues with respect to deficit spending, and will continue to work with them in order to find reductions, now is not the time to put ideology over pragmatism. The reality is that, on August 3, the United States will begin to default on its debt obligations if the debt ceiling is not raised.

This unnecessarily places the American public and the economy between a rock and a hard place. Either Congress sides completely with the radical agenda of the Tea Party, which irresponsibly pulls the chair out from under the average American while polishing the throne of the wealthiest.

This detour into a spending debate is as unnecessary as it is perilous, as increasing the debt ceiling does not obligate the undertaking of any new spending by the federal government. Rather, raising the debt limit simply allows the government to pay existing legal obligations promised to debt holders that were already agreed to by Presidents and Congresses, both past and present.

Moreover, the impending crisis would have already occurred were it not for the extraordinary measures taken by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, including the suspension of the investment in securities to finance the Civil Service retirement and Disability Fund, as well as the redemption of a portion of those securities already held by that fund.

If the United States defaults on its obligations on August 3, the stock market will react violently to the news that for the first time in history, America is unable to keep its promises to pay. Not once in American history has the country's full faith and credit been called into question.

Once America defaults, investors who purchase U.S. bonds and finance our government will be less likely to lend to America in the future. Just as a person who defaults on a loan will find it harder to convince banks to lend them money in the future, a country that defaults on its debt obligations will find it harder to convince investors to lend money to a government that did not pay. Showing the world that the United States does not pay its debts makes the purchasing of that debt less desirable because it requires the assumption of more risk on the part of the investors. The proponents of this bill are putting the country at serious risk of losing its status as the world's economic superpower. Our allies will lose faith in our ability to manage global economic affairs. Our status in the world will be diminished, which will undermine our leverage on the world stage that allows us to command the respect and compliance of other nations when it comes to decision-making. This bill will reduce America's ability to compete with a surging China.

Furthermore, any investors that do continue to purchase U.S. Treasury bonds will demand much higher interest rates in order to cover the increased risk. Once a default occurs, investors figure that the chance of the United States defaulting again is much greater, and will require the government to pay higher rates of interest in order to make the loan worth the risk for investors to take on.

Imagine the impact on our stock market if we do not pay our debts. As we have seen throughout the recent financial crisis, a bad stock market hurts not only big businesses and large investors on Wall Street, but small businesses and small investors as well. Families with investments tied to the stock market, such as 401(k)s, pension plans, and savings, will once again see the value of their investments drop. The American people are tired of the uncertainty of the value of their retirement accounts. We must not allow another wild fluctuation to occur due to default and add to the uncertainty still lingering the minds of citizens.

As if another stock market crisis were not enough, the housing market would take another hit if America defaulted. Higher mortgage rates in a housing market already weakened by default and foreclosures would cause a further depression of home values, destroying whatever equity families might have left in their homes after the housing crisis. Moreover, the long-term effects would. spending and investment in the housing market.

Increasing the debt ceiling is the responsible thing to do. Congress has already debated and approved the debt that an increased ceiling makes room for. However, my Republican colleagues have chosen to use this as an opportunity to hold the American people hostage to their extreme agenda.

Even prominent Republicans like Senator John McCain and Christine Todd Whitman have criticized the radical elements of their party who insist upon holding up the entire political process in order to flaunt their extreme, irrational, and unrealistic ideology. Senator McCain has called the Tea Party's stance and the way they have conducted themselves during this manufactured crisis ``bizarre'', and I am inclined to agree. Their agenda for this country is even too radical for Speaker Boehner, with the Tea Party vowing to reject their leader's own bill.

They live in a world that is not the world that the American people live in. In their world, they believe that taxes are always too high, even on people making over a billion a year in a struggling economy; that any increase in revenue is fundamentally wrong, even if it comes from large corporations who use tax loopholes at the expense of our job-creating small businesses; that investing anything in our economic future above tax revenues is impermissible, even in the midst of an economic downturn; and that tax cuts for the wealthy are always the nation's top priority, even at the expense of people that depend on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Veterans benefits to survive.

These beliefs place them on the fringe of American society, and yet due to the nature our political process, they have held up the entire government and placed our economy on the precipice of a turbulent second recession.

For those reasons, I urge my colleagues to consider the constituents in their home districts who would be hurt by this bill. I urge my colleagues to return to the world in which the vast majority of Americans live in; a world in which our shared destiny is determined by reasonable minds and good faith efforts to compromise. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned that defaulting could ``throw the financial system into chaos'', and ``destroy the trust and confidence that global investors have in Treasury securities as being the safest liquid assets in the world''. Instead of injecting ideological spending cuts and Constitutional amendments, into the traditionally non-political business of raising the debt ceiling, we must work quickly to pass a bill that makes good on our debt obligations and restores confidence in American credit.

Rep. David Dreier

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I continue to reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter

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I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Vermont (Mr. Welch).

Rep. Peter Welch

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I thank the gentlelady.

Mr. Speaker, this is a bad situation. There are two failures: One is the process by which we got here, where we've abandoned a willingness to compromise when compromise is required; and second is to propose a plan that's not balanced with revenues as well as with spending cuts.

I just want to go through the process. This institution is responsible for making decisions about taxing and spending. Those are contentious debates; always have been, always will be. But whenever we've made progress, there's been a recognition that the Republican argument, that we have to watch how we spend our money, has validity, and that the Democratic argument, that we have to have fairer taxes, has had merit. This is a one-sided approach.

There were negotiations that were promising. In May, the Biden group began negotiations to avert a crisis. On May 16, the U.S. hit the debt ceiling, and Treasury moved money around to avert the August 2 deadline. June 23, the majority leader, Mr. Cantor, walked out because revenues were on the table. July 3, President Obama and Speaker Boehner meet to work out a ``grand bargain'' deal. It was very promising, $4 trillion in deficit reduction by combining revenues as well as cuts. President Obama, incidentally, put on the table things that were giving enormous heartburn to many Democrats, but he said, We have to compromise for the greater good. The Speaker indicates on July 9 that the ``grand bargain'' is unlikely due to differences on revenues, so he leaves. July 22, Mr. Boehner walks away from the debt talks, saying that we can't have revenue.

So now we have the bill. The bill is defective in this fundamental respect: It is going to damage the economy; $1 trillion in cuts, increasing on a short-term basis the debt ceiling, followed by $1.8 trillion that will hurt Medicare and Social Security. This is going to be very harmful for the economy.

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter

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Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Tennessee (Mr. Cohen).

Rep. Steve Cohen

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I appreciate the time.

Mr. Speaker, I think that the reputation of this United States House of Representatives and Congress is at a low ebb because of the fact that we haven't acted prior to this date, the fact that the reputation of the United States of America is on the line, and we're being talked about at the same level as the economies of Spain and Greece and Ireland and Portugal. This should never have happened. I'm embarrassed as I see the greatest power on Earth and the country that's been the greatest country on Earth through my entire life possibly diminish because of the actions of the other side and not getting this debt ceiling resolved.

The ratings of the United States will go down. That will cause interest rates to go up, and it will cause us to lose jobs. And to extend this for just 6 months--which is what is happening--means the same Kabuki theater will take place again in 6 months. The American public doesn't want to see it. Moody's doesn't want to see it. Standard and Poor's doesn't want to see it. The markets don't want to see it. The world doesn't want to see it. When I was in Europe with the Bundestag in Germany, they almost laughed at us, and they said, You are like Greece and Ireland and Portugal. And that should not happen. It should not have happened in this country and while we're in charge.

So I would ask this United States Congress, Mr. Speaker, to have a 2-year extension, enough money to lift this ceiling to where this President won't have to deal with it again and the next President can deal with it. And if it is, as I hope, President Obama, the Republicans won't have to work to see that he is not reelected because he will be term-limited, so they can work at ease. And if it's a Republican, they can even have more ease. But let's be fair and let's extend this for 2 years.

Rep. David Dreier

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Mr. Speaker, at this time, I am very happy to yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Savannah, Georgia (Mr. Kingston), a hardworking member of the Committee on Appropriations and one of our cardinals.

Rep. Jack Kingston

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I thank the gentleman for yielding.

I must begin, Mr. Speaker, by asking, do you have the President's plan? Or perhaps, do any of the Democrats over there have the President's plan? I keep hearing that this plan is not a good one; it's not a compromise; it hasn't been vetted. I would like to see the President's plan. That way, I can sit down with a cheat sheet and compare the President's plan with the plan of Senator Reid, with the plan proposed by Speaker Boehner. There's nothing, nothing but silence.

How long has he been President? Nearly 3 years. He knew the debt crisis was looming out there. He knew that there would be a debate about the debt ceiling. Indeed, as a Senator, in 2006, Barack Obama voted ``no'' to a debt ceiling increase, citing lack of leadership. Well, surely since that moment in 2006, he knew he would have to be dealing with the debt ceiling. He knew Medicare needed reform. He knew that Social Security needed reform. He continued the war, which he campaigned against. He continued the Bush tax cuts, which he now cries is the whole problem, that that's why we're in this situation.

It's even more appalling, Mr. Speaker, when you read his statement, July 12, just a few weeks ago, ``I cannot guarantee that those checks''--speaking of Social Security checks--will ``go out on August 3 if we haven't resolved this issue because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it.'' That's what the President believes, but he has no plan? How can he face the seniors of the United States of America?

The time of the gentleman has expired.

Rep. David Dreier

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I yield my friend an additional 30 seconds.

Rep. Jack Kingston

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How can he say to the seniors of America, I might not be able to pay you your Social Security, and then not offer a plan? Well, God bless the Speaker, and God bless the people who have, in good faith, engaged in this discussion and offered plans. Indeed, the Republicans have already passed one plan, Cut, Cap, and Balance. The Senate, in their cowardliness, tabled it, refused to even vote on it. In fact, this was the same Senate who rejected the President's budget 97-0. Today we offer a second plan. If the Democrats have a plan, let them put it on the table. If the President has a plan, let us look at it so we can compare.

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter

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Mr. Speaker, since I have extra time and didn't give him enough in the first place, I yield 2 more minutes to the gentleman from Massachusetts (Mr. McGovern).

Rep. Jim McGovern

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I thank the gentlelady for yielding to me.

I would like to insert into the Record at this time a letter from 53 United States Senators saying that they will not support the Boehner default plan.

Mr. Speaker, this proposal that we are debating today is dead on arrival. We are wasting precious time. We are fast approaching a deadline that we need to address, and here we are, debating a bill that we know is going nowhere in the United States Senate.

I would urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle, enough of the theatrics. This is time for a grownup moment. This is time to act like adults, to work with the Senate, to work with the President, to come up with a bipartisan deal, and to get this job done.

But let's understand why we are where we are. When Bill Clinton left office, we had a balanced budget. We had surpluses. When President Bush took over and the Republicans, what happened? Tax cuts, mostly for wealthy people that weren't paid for; a prescription drug bill that wasn't paid for; two wars that weren't paid for. And we end up in this terrible debt situation.

And what do my friends propose as a way to get out of it? They propose a bill that would make drastic cuts in programs that benefit the poor and the most vulnerable in our country. What they propose is eviscerating Medicare and Social Security. They propose cutting education money so that our kids can afford to go to school. They propose balancing the budget on the backs of the middle class and the most vulnerable in this country. It is wrong. It is shameful. It is an outrage to bring a bill like this to the floor.

And given the fact that we know it's going nowhere, this is just politics. Enough. I think the American people have had enough. They want us to get together to do our job, and I would urge my Republican colleagues to pull this bill from the floor and get serious about negotiating a real deal.

Dear Speaker Boehner: With five days until our nation faces an unprecedented financial crisis, we need to work together to ensure that our nation does not default on our obligations for the first time in our history. We heard that in your caucus you said the Senate will support your bill. We are writing to tell you that we will not support it, and give you the reasons why. A short-term extension like the one in your bill would put America at risk, along with every family and business in it. Your approach would force us once again to face the threat of default in five or six short months. Every day, another expert warns us that your short-term approach could be nearly as disastrous as a default and would lead to a downgrade in our credit rating. If our credit is downgraded, it would cost us billions of dollars more in interest payments on our existing debt and drive up our deficit. Even more worrisome, a downgrade would spike interest rates, making everything from mortgages, car loans and credit cards more expensive for families and businesses nationwide. In addition to risking a downgrade and catastrophic default, we are concerned that in five or six months, the House will once again hold the economy captive and refuse to avoid another default unless we accept unbalanced, deep cuts to programs like Medicare and Social Security, without asking anything of the wealthiest Americans. We now have only five days left to act. The entire world is watching Congress. We need to do the right thing to solve this problem. We must work together to avoid a default the responsible way--not in a way that will do America more harm than good. Sincerely, Harry Reid; Richard J. Durbin; Charles E. Shumer; Patty Murray; Jeanne Shaheen; Ben Nelson; Bernard Sanders; Claire McCaskill; Mary L. Landrieu; John F. Kerry; Al Franken; Patrick J. Leahy; Christopher A. Coons; Barbara A. Mikulski; Barbara Boxer; Ron Wyden; Robert Menendez; Carl Levin; Sherrod Brown; Herb Kohl; Richard Blumenthal; Mark Begich; Michael F. Bennet; Thomas R. Carper; Frank R. Lautenberg; Dianne Feinstein; Max Baucus; Debbie Stabenow; Bill Nelson; Kirsten E. Gillibrand; Maria Cantwell; Kent Conrad; Mark R. Warner; Kay R. Hagan; Sheldon Whitehouse; Daniel K. Inouye; Daniel K. Akaka; Tim Johnson; Mark Udall; Joe Manchin III; Amy Klobuchar; Benjamin L. Cardin; Tom Udall; Joseph I. Lieberman; Jeff Bingaman; Jack Reed; Jon Tester; Jeff Merkley; Tom Harkin; Jim Webb; John D. Rockefeller IV; Mark L. Pryor; Robert P. Casey, Jr.

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter

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Mr. Speaker, I have no further requests for time and am prepared to close.

Rep. David Dreier

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Then I will reserve the balance of my time.

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter

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I yield myself the balance of my time.

Mr. Speaker, this is a terrible rule. It trivializes the Constitution, endangers Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and says to the world, The United States Congress is incapable of doing its job.

The majority's risking a calamitous default on our debt, and they're doing so in the name of politics. The Republicans' ``my way or the highway'' approach is dead wrong, and I urge my colleagues to join me in opposing both this rule and the underlying bill.

I yield back the balance of my time.

Rep. David Dreier

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I yield myself the balance of my time.

The gentleman from California is recognized for 4 minutes.

Rep. David Dreier

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Mr. Speaker, not one Member of this House likes the fact that we are here today and that we're facing the issue that is before us. As we've found throughout this debate, 75 times since 1962 the United States Congress has been in a position where it's had to increase the debt ceiling. And here we are again today, dealing with a very unpopular increase in the debt ceiling because it has to be done.

Democrat and Republican alike recognize that we can't let our Nation go into default. We are the greatest Nation the world has ever known, and we can't follow the trend that we have seen in Europe of Greece, Portugal, Ireland, and other countries.

But, Mr. Speaker, we're getting close. We're getting close. The President of the United States has requested that we have an increase in the debt ceiling so that our Nation doesn't default. When that request was made of Speaker Boehner, he chose to work together in a bipartisan way, recognizing that the President of the United States is a Democrat, the United States Senate is controlled by Democrats, the United States House of Representatives is controlled by Republicans.

The most recent message that was sent by the American people came last November. Last November we saw a net gain of 63 seats for the Republican Party. It had been decades and decades and decades, in fact, three-quarters of a century since we'd seen that kind of gain for the Republican Party here in the House of Representatives.

So, Mr. Speaker, the message was overwhelming. The message was, create jobs, get our economy growing, and get our fiscal house in order. And that's exactly what we're trying to do.

So as we are faced with this 76th increase in the national debt since 1962, Speaker Boehner has said we're not going to do it as it's been done the last 75 times. We are going to insist that we bring about dramatic spending cuts. In fact, we want to see spending cuts that actually exceed the level of the debt ceiling increase.

Now, it was on July 12, as we've said, that President Obama said if we don't have this increase in the debt ceiling, he couldn't, on August 3, guarantee that Social Security checks would go out. And so we have this measure before us, Mr. Speaker.

We've heard that our colleagues on the other side of the aisle and on the other side of the rotunda are planning to simply table this measure if it passes the House of Representatives. Now, we all learned in school how a bill becomes a law, and we know very well that one House passes a measure and the other House is to address it.

Now, we saw Cut, Cap and Balance pass the House of Representatives, and our colleagues on the other side of the Capitol chose to table it. And now the word comes that if we pass this today that they're going to choose to table it.

Well, this is the plan that is before us. It is a plan that was worked on in good faith by Speaker Boehner and the Democratic leader of the United States Senate, Harry Reid. Now, I know that Senator Reid no longer supports this plan, but last weekend he did. And I believe that we have a responsibility to step up to the plate, take action, increase the debt ceiling, but do so by addressing the long-term challenges and get at the root cause of why it is we have to increase the debt ceiling.

And so, Mr. Speaker, I urge my colleagues to support the rule and then the underlying legislation which will allow us to have the debt ceiling increased and ensure that our Nation does not go into default.

I yield back the balance of my time, and I move the previous question on the resolution.

The previous question was ordered.

The question is on the resolution.

The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that the ayes appeared to have it.

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter

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Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.

The yeas and nays were ordered.

The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 238, nays 186, not voting 8, as follows:

[Roll No. 663] YEAS--238 Adams Aderholt Akin Alexander Amash Austria Bachus Barletta Bartlett Barton (TX) Bass (NH) Benishek Berg Biggert Bilbray Bilirakis Bishop (UT) Black Blackburn Bonner Bono Mack Boustany Brady (TX) Brooks Broun (GA) Buchanan Bucshon Buerkle Burgess Burton (IN) Calvert Camp Campbell Canseco Cantor Capito Carter Cassidy Chabot Chaffetz Coble Coffman (CO) Cole Conaway Cravaack Crawford Crenshaw Culberson Davis (KY) Denham Dent DesJarlais Diaz-Balart Dold Dreier Duffy Duncan (SC) Duncan (TN) Ellmers Emerson Farenthold Fincher Fitzpatrick Flake Fleischmann Fleming Flores Forbes Fortenberry Foxx Franks (AZ) Frelinghuysen Gallegly Gardner Garrett Gerlach Gibbs Gibson Gingrey (GA) Gohmert Goodlatte Gosar Gowdy Granger Graves (GA) Graves (MO) Griffin (AR) Griffith (VA) Grimm Guinta Guthrie Hall Hanna Harper Harris Hartzler Hastings (WA) Hayworth Heck Hensarling Herger Herrera Beutler Huelskamp Huizenga (MI) Hultgren Hunter Hurt Issa Jenkins Johnson (IL) Johnson (OH) Johnson, Sam Jones Jordan Kelly King (IA) King (NY) Kingston Kinzinger (IL) Kline Labrador Lamborn Lance Landry Lankford Latham LaTourette Latta Lewis (CA) LoBiondo Long Lucas Luetkemeyer Lummis Lungren, Daniel E. Mack Manzullo Marchant Marino McCarthy (CA) McCaul McClintock McCotter McHenry McKeon McKinley McMorris Rodgers Meehan Mica Miller (FL) Miller (MI) Miller, Gary Mulvaney Murphy (PA) Myrick Neugebauer Noem Nugent Nunes Nunnelee Olson Palazzo Paul Paulsen Pearce Pence Petri Pitts Platts Poe (TX) Pompeo Posey Price (GA) Quayle Reed Rehberg Reichert Renacci Ribble Rigell Rivera Roby Roe (TN) Rogers (AL) Rogers (KY) Rogers (MI) Rohrabacher Rokita Rooney Ros-Lehtinen Roskam Ross (FL) Royce Runyan Ryan (WI) Scalise Schilling Schmidt Schock Schweikert Scott (SC) Scott, Austin Sensenbrenner Sessions Shimkus Shuster Simpson Smith (NE) Smith (NJ) Smith (TX) Southerland Stearns Stivers Stutzman Sullivan Terry Thompson (PA) Thornberry Tiberi Tipton Turner Upton Walberg Walden Walsh (IL) Webster West Westmoreland Whitfield Wilson (SC) Wittman Wolf Womack Woodall Yoder Young (AK) Young (FL) Young (IN) NAYS--186 Ackerman Altmire Andrews Baca Baldwin Barrow Bass (CA) Becerra Berkley Berman Bishop (GA) Bishop (NY) Blumenauer Boren Boswell Brady (PA) Braley (IA) Brown (FL) Butterfield Capps Capuano Cardoza Carnahan Carney Carson (IN) Castor (FL) Cicilline Clarke (MI) Clarke (NY) Clay Cleaver Clyburn Cohen Connolly (VA) Conyers Cooper Costa Costello Courtney Critz Crowley Cuellar Cummings Davis (CA) Davis (IL) DeFazio DeGette DeLauro Deutch Dicks Dingell Doggett Donnelly (IN) Doyle Edwards Ellison Engel Eshoo Farr Fattah Filner Frank (MA) Fudge Garamendi Gonzalez Green, Al Green, Gene Grijalva Gutierrez Hahn Hanabusa Hastings (FL) Heinrich Higgins Himes Hinojosa Hirono Hochul Holden Holt Honda Hoyer Inslee Israel Jackson (IL) Jackson Lee (TX) Johnson, E. B. Kaptur Keating Kildee Kind Kissell Kucinich Langevin Larsen (WA) Larson (CT) Levin Lewis (GA) Lipinski Loebsack Lofgren, Zoe Lowey Lujan Lynch Maloney Markey Matheson Matsui McCarthy (NY) McCollum McDermott McGovern McIntyre McNerney Meeks Michaud Miller (NC) Miller, George Moore Moran Murphy (CT) Nadler Napolitano Neal Olver Owens Pallone Pascrell Pastor (AZ) Pelosi Perlmutter Peters Peterson Pingree (ME) Polis Price (NC) Quigley Rahall Rangel Reyes Richardson Richmond Ross (AR) Rothman (NJ) Roybal-Allard Ruppersberger Rush Ryan (OH) Sanchez, Linda T. Sanchez, Loretta Sarbanes Schakowsky Schiff Schrader Schwartz Scott (VA) Scott, David Serrano Sewell Sherman Shuler Sires Slaughter Smith (WA) Speier Stark Sutton Thompson (CA) Thompson (MS) Tierney Tonko Towns Tsongas Van Hollen Velazquez Visclosky Walz (MN) Wasserman Schultz Waters Watt Waxman Welch Wilson (FL) Woolsey Wu Yarmuth NOT VOTING--8 Bachmann Chandler Chu Giffords Hinchey Johnson (GA) Lee (CA) Payne {time} 1401

Messrs. RUNYAN, FLAKE, SOUTHERLAND, FITZPATRICK, DENT, TIBERI, KINGSTON, and DENHAM changed their vote from ``nay'' to ``yea.''

So the resolution was agreed to.

The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.

A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

Stated against:

Rep. Barbara Lee

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Mr. Speaker, I was unable to cast my vote on House Resolution 375, the Rule providing for consideration of S. 627. Had I been able to cast my vote I would have voted ``no.''