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Edward M.
Democrat MA

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  • Continuing Appropriations

    by Senator Edward J. Markey

    Posted on 2013-09-30

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    MARKEY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to speak for 5 minutes as in morning business.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.

    Mr. MARKEY. Mr. President, we are just hours away from a government shutdown. I think tea party Republicans saw the ``Breaking Bad'' dramatic depiction of reckless behavior last night and thought they could put on an even better finale, create even more drama, and cook up even more toxic ideas. They thought they could break this government in every bad way possible. These tea party antics are the stuff of fairy tales. The way the GOP is writing this story at the stroke of midnight as we turn the calendar toward October, our government and potentially our economic recovery turn into a pumpkin.

    But it is the tea party GOP who are in fantasyland by thinking we will allow them to cut off ObamaCare, shut down government, and melt down our economy. Democrats are not going to allow them to do this.

    What do the American people want? Americans want our military to get paid on time. Americans want our seniors to get the benefits they have earned and depend on. Americans want to be able to respond to floods in Colorado or wildfires in the West.

    The American people don't want the government to shut down. Americans want a business plan that completes this recovery, creates jobs, and gets our economy back on track. They want us to work together to accomplish this goal.

    What are the effects of the tea party Republican tactics? By forcing Congress to govern by going from crisis to crisis, tea party Republicans hope to chip away at the bedrock programs that run our country and help our people.

    First, the tea party did this with sequestration, which is a fancy word for mindless cuts in programs that help ordinary families in our country. Now they are going after the ObamaCare law. What is next are their enduring targets such as Social Security, Medicare, and the safety net programs that millions of Americans depend on. These are the same Republicans who want to privatize Social Security. They want to turn Medicare into a voucher program. Now they want to reverse the progress achieved by the legendary Ted Kennedy, who made it clear that in the United States of America health care is a right and not a privilege.

    The tea party Republicans are playing high-wire politics with our economy so they can take away the social safety net for millions of American families. This bill is just a preview of coming attractions. Two weeks from now we will be careening to the next crisis, this time over whether America will pay its debts. If we do not raise the debt ceiling, we will not be able to pay our bills starting on October 17.

    What is the harm of defaulting on our debts? Our Nation's stock and bond markets could go into a free fall that will damage the full faith and credit of our country, the bedrock of the entire American economy. What does that mean? The full faith and credit of the United States is in question.

    If you took out a mortgage, had a car loan, bought some furniture, and when the bill came due you said: I am not going to pay these bills, what do you think would happen? Your credit score would plummet. It would throw your financial life into chaos for years. No one would lend you money, or, at a minimum, you would be hit with sky-high interest payments because of the risk that you wouldn't pay the next time either.

    [[Page S7016]] Americans ran up these bills. We promised these payments. We should pay what we promise, and then we need to stop lurching from one crisis to another, scrambling to stitch together last-minute deals that only last until the very next crisis.

    It is time to end these games. It is time to end the uncertainty. It is time to do what we were sent here to do--to get to work creating jobs for American families so they can have a mortgage and put their kids through school. That is what we should be talking about here, the prosperity of all Americans.

    This shutdown today is a preview of a debate over a meltdown of the American economy. If, in fact, we go to a debt ceiling and we haven't found a way of working together here on the Senate floor, Democrats and Republicans, along with Democrats and Republicans from the House of Representatives, those who are in the most jeopardy are those who are watching us with their mouths open, agape, wondering how their system of government can operate this way.

    I thank the Presiding Officer, and I yield back the remainder of my time.

    The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Merkley). The assistant majority leader.

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