A picture of Representative Kerry L. Bentivolio
Kerry B.
Former Republican MI 11
About Rep. Kerry
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    Freedom Leads to Prosperity

    by Former Representative Kerry L. Bentivolio

    Posted on 2013-02-05

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    BENTIVOLIO. Mr. Speaker, thank you for allowing me to speak today. I have said it before, and I want to say it again: the job of a Member of Congress is to protect the rights of the people, not take them away.

    I want to explain what I mean by that. Those rights are outlined in our Declaration of Independence: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These rights were not given to us by a King or developed after extensive debate by a Congress. They come from God. They exist in the same way that gravity exists. They are natural.

    But too often what gets left out is why we must protect those rights and why those rights are still relevant today. The reason is simple, and it's as practical today as it was in 1776: we protect those rights because in America we know that freedom leads to prosperity. Our country was built by Forefathers who believed in, and defended, that idea.

    Every generation that came after them has followed their lead, rising to tackle whatever challenge came before them in order to protect the freedom of this Nation. Every American generation has left the country a little better off than they found it and handed it to their sons and daughters with the hope that they would do the same.

    Thinking both about those who came before us and those who will follow us long after we're gone is in the very DNA of our country. That's why our Constitution's preamble explicitly states that it doesn't secure liberty for just the founding generation but also for prosperity.

    Generations don't simply disappear. Instead, like an aging photograph, they kind of fade away until they are all gone. Right now, one of America's greatest generations is doing just that. In World War II, hundreds of thousands of Americans risked their lives on battlefields half a world away while the rest of them worked and sacrificed at home to make sure our troops had everything they needed.

    The reason they acted so valiantly was because they understood the truth to American exceptionalism: that freedom leads to prosperity. They knew it, and they fought for it because it had been passed down to them from their parents, who had received it from their parents and so on. To them it was something worth fighting for, it was worth making sacrifices for, and it was worth dying for. Not a day goes by when I don't think about their sacrifices and remember what they did for me and everyone else in this great country.

    They deserve to be taken care of. That is why I urge my fellow Members of the House from both parties to join me in supporting the Full Faith and Credit Act. As we work to cure the government's addiction to debt, we must ensure that the Greatest Generation is protected. They have already made their sacrifices in the defense of our ideals. They have already passed down freedom to us and given us a country that is better off.

    We cannot be the first generation to fail America. We must follow the path of our Founding Fathers by preserving the American Dream for our children and grandchildren.

    One great idea to preserve our great Nation was developed by our Speaker, John Boehner. In the days before the midterm elections of 2010, Speaker Boehner proposed ``taking a different approach'' regarding how Congress voted on budgets. He maintained that rather than having a ``comprehensive budget'' that encompasses all--or at least most of--government appropriations, the whole Congress should treat every budget for each Federal agency as an independent spending bill.

    Speaker Boehner said: Members shouldn't have to vote for big spending increases at the Labor Department in order to fund Health and Human Services. Members shouldn't have to vote for big increases at the Commerce Department just because they support NASA. Each Department and Agency should justify itself each year to the full House and Senate and be judged on its own.

    That is the kind of leadership that Americans across this great land support. Those are the types of ideas that we need to enact in order to take on the challenges that are ahead. I urge my fellow Congressmen to appeal to the better angels of their nature as we spend the next few months talking about our government's addiction to debt. Let's solve this problem.


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