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  • Providing for Consideration of H. Con. Res. 25, Concurrent Resolution
    on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2014

    by Representative Tom Cole

    Posted on 2013-03-19

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    COLE. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend for yielding.

    I have the privilege, as Mr. Woodall mentioned, of serving with him on the Budget Committee and serving with him on the Rules Committee, and being a fellow member of the Republican Study Committee with him. And I want to thank him for all he's done, quite frankly, to fashion both the Ryan budget and the RSC budget, and to bring us such an excellent rule today.

    Writing a budget in the end is always about making choices. And, fortunately, this rule provides this House with multiple choices, a variety of options, and a great deal of time for debate. We'll have an opportunity to debate the budget offered by our friends in the Congressional Black Caucus. We're going to have an opportunity to debate the Progressive Caucus's budget, the Republican Study Committee's budget, and what we think will be the Senate budget--or at least as close to it as we can determine at this time. Obviously our friends on the other side of the aisle will present their substitute budget, and we'll have the underlying budget, the so-called Ryan budget, the Republican budget. So I think those are a lot of choices that this body will have to work through in the next couple of days. I'm proud that this rule allows that degree of choice and facilitates debate.

    Personally, I support both the Republican Study Committee budget, and should it fail to achieve majority, the underlying Ryan budget. Both of them make tough choices. First and foremost to me, they both come into balance. Now our Republican Study Committee budget, which my friend Mr. Woodall had more to do with than any other Member in crafting, comes in a little faster. I actually think that's a good thing. But the Ryan budget also comes into balance within 10 years. That's important not just for the sake of bookkeeping; it's important because [[Page H1585]] we all know that private sector growth depends on the confidence that taxes aren't going to continually go up, and that the public sector will remain in check.

    I think by giving that kind of assurance, both of those budgets facilitate what I know all of us want, and that's the creation of more and better jobs for the American people. After all, if budgets that never balanced and record deficits got job creation, we would be coming off the four best years in modern American history because we've had four $1 trillion deficits in a row, another that will ``only be'' $850 billion this year. That has yielded us less than 2 percent growth a year. We all know if we took the number of Americans that have left the workforce and recalculated our unemployment rate, it wouldn't be 7.8 percent; it would be about 10.5 percent.

    So the path that my friends on the other side recommend doesn't work, and the balance in both the RSC budget and the Ryan budget are a much more promising course. And they achieve that balance while not raising taxes. I think that's very important, too. We certainly aren't undertaxed in this country. Now my friends on the other side clearly believe that we are. They are going to offer multiple tax increases in all their budgets. I like a budget that does not require tax increases.

    Finally, both these budgets, the Republican Study Committee budget and the Republican budget, come to grips with the reality that we have to reform entitlements. Now we have our preferred way of doing that, but there could be others. Unfortunately, our friends on the other side are largely silent about that important choice.

    As my friend, Mr. Woodall, mentioned in his remarks, the Ryan budget in particular is hardly a radical budget. It's going to increase spending every single year over a 10-year window by about 3.5 percent. The main Democratic alternative is at about 5 percent. Can't we live at 3.5 percent and have a balanced budget in 10 years as opposed to going to 5 with higher taxes and not balance the budget within that 10-year window? Again, I'm proud of my Democratic colleagues for joining in the debate. I appreciate the fact that they're going to put multiple budgets on the floor. I wish the President's budget was available. I'm going to assume some day it will be. It should've been here months ago, quite frankly. But sooner or later he will get it into debate.

    In my view, all of the Democratic budgets are unacceptable for three very simple reasons: each and every one of them calls for much bigger government, much bigger than we've had historically, and all of them call for higher taxes. And frankly, most of them never, ever, ever balance at all--not in 10 years, not in 20, not in 30. So effectively, our friends are offering more expensive government, bigger government, and an eternal and ever-expanding debt. I don't think that's a choice that the American people want to make.

    I want to urge support of this generally excellent rule. It provides every Member of this House an opportunity to participate in this important debate. I want to urge passage of the Republican Study Committee budget, and failing that, the underlying Ryan or Republican budget.

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