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Chris V.
Democrat MD 8

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  • No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013

    by Representative Chris Van Hollen

    Posted on 2013-01-23

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    VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from Michigan.

    This resolution contains some good news, but lots of bad news for the American people. The good news is that our congressional Republican colleagues have finally recognized that America must pay its bills and meet its financial obligations without condition. The bad news is they only want to do that for 3 months. Just read the title: To ensure the complete and timely payment of the obligations of the United States Government until May 19.

    If it's a good idea to maintain the obligations of the U.S. Government between now and May 19, it sure is a good idea to make sure that we meet the obligations of the U.S. Government beyond that. And by setting up what amounts to another fiscal cliff, all our Republican colleagues are doing is prolonging economic uncertainty.

    For the last 2 years, we've heard from our Republican colleagues that economic uncertainty is bad for the economy. Guess what? It is. Yet that's exactly what you're doing, another big dose of economic uncertainty. This is a [[Page H239]] political effort simply to increase their negotiating strategy leverage 3 months from now at the expense of jobs in the economy and the American people.

    How do we know it's at the expense of jobs in the economy? Because we saw what happened in August of 2011. As the ranking member of the Ways and Means Committee said, it was the worst month in terms of jobs. We saw our credit rating downgraded, and both GAO and the Bipartisan Policy Center have said it cost the taxpayers over $1 billion. So that's all we're doing right now, another dose of uncertainty.

    To my friend and colleague, the chairman of the Budget Committee, yes, we need budgets; yes, we need to reduce our long-term deficits. That's never been the issue. The issue is how. We believe we've got to make targeted cuts in reforms, but we also believe we need to eliminate a lot of the tax breaks and loopholes that we heard a lot from our colleagues about in order to reduce the deficit in a balanced way. If you don't do that, you sock it to everybody else in the country.

    Let's pass a balanced approach to reducing our deficit, and not one that takes it out at the expense of our kids and our seniors.

    Mr. CAMP. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    I would just say that we've already increased the debt limit over $5 trillion in the Obama administration. That's an almost 50 percent increase in the debt limit.

    Let me also just say that we've had several temporary short-term increases in the debt limit before there's been a more permanent longer-term increase--in 1987, in 1990, and 1996. So it is not unprecedented, the action that we're going to be taking today.

    With that, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished member of the Ways and Means Committee, the gentleman from Washington State (Mr. Reichert).

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