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  • Requirement in Budget Submission With Respect to the Cost Per Taxpayer of the Deficit

    by Representative Gus M. Bilirakis

    Posted on 2013-03-05

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    BILIRAKIS. Thank you, Mr. Messer, and I appreciate you introducing this very good bill.

    Mr. Speaker, Washington continues to spend money we don't have. As we all know, the Federal Government borrows nearly 46 cents on the dollar, much of it from China, and we are sending the tab to our children and our grandchildren. What a shame. Across America, working families have had to tighten their belts, and it is past time for Washington to do the same.

    That's the bottom line.

    Ignoring runaway deficits and out-of-control spending is not an option. With a national debt of more than $16 trillion, Mr. Speaker, every American now has a $52,000 share. We must control spending so Washington will not saddle future generations with burdensome debts that crowd out the private sector and lead to increased taxes and higher interest rates. The lack of fiscal discipline and the rising costs of the Federal debt have created a dangerous combination, necessitating action to prevent Washington from dipping into the bottomless cookie jar.

    This legislation before us would simply require the President's budget submission to provide an estimate of the cost per taxpayer of the deficit the budget would run. This commonsense legislation forces us to face this fiscal danger with eyes wide open. I support this good bill, this effort by my colleague, and I urge my colleagues to do the same.

    Mr. VAN HOLLEN. Mr. Speaker, may I ask how much time remains on both sides.

    The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Maryland has 9 minutes, and the gentleman from Indiana has 8 minutes.

    Mr. VAN HOLLEN. I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    Again, I have to remind people as they listen to this debate that this bill does nothing--zero--to reduce the deficit--nothing. All it does is ask for a calculation, which we've said we welcome and which one of our Members actually did on the floor of the House here as she gave her presentation, and it's that which we can all do. But by all means, let's say to the President, Put that calculation in your budget--even though that calculation is out of date 3 days after the budget is submitted if we don't get control of the deficit and do it in a smart way.

    I agree with the gentleman when he says the best way to deal with the deficit is to grow the economy. That's what we should be focused on, which is why we're asking today--for the fourth time--for a vote on our proposal to replace the sequester so that we don't lose 750,000 jobs; 750,000 jobs is the number of jobs that were created between October of last year and January of this year. According to the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, if we continue to allow that sequester to remain in place, we will see one-third less economic growth.

    Now, if you don't believe the nonpartisan, independent head of the Congressional Budget Office, who does professional work, and if you don't believe the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, who is not a partisan, maybe our Republican colleagues will believe the House Republican leader, Mr. Cantor. Here is what he said on the floor of this House, not that long ago, with respect to the sequester: ``Under the sequester, unemployment would soar from its current level . . . '' He goes on to say that it would set back ``any progress the economy has made.'' He then referred to a study that said, `` . . . the jobs of more than 200,000 Virginians, in my home State, are on the line.'' That's Mr. Cantor.

    Here is what the Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee said about a month ago. This is what Mr. McKeon said when we got the numbers from the last quarter showing the economy was slowing, in part, in anticipation of these cuts.

    {time} 1310 Mr. McKeon said: This is just the first indicator of the extraordinary economic damage defense cuts will do.

    And that's just the defense cuts. You've also got these across-the- board cuts in important investments in biomedical research to try and find treatments and cures to diseases that hit families throughout this country. You're going to be putting people out of work who do that important research for our country. And at the end of the day, in addition to the furloughs and the disruption that will cause in the economy, throughout the entire economy, 750,000 fewer jobs will result at the end of the calendar year.

    So why in the world are we debating a bill that we've already passed--I believe unanimously--1 month ago that does nothing about jobs, nothing about the deficit, rather than take up the proposal that we put forward to replace the sequester in a smart and balanced way, through targeted cuts, but also the elimination of these tax breaks. And the answer is, unfortunately, that our Republican colleagues, many of whom have signed that Grover Norquist pledge, have said that they're not willing to close one tax loophole for the purpose of reducing the deficit. Not one penny.

    We hear all of the talk about reducing the deficit, but no, you can't take away one tax break for a corporate jet to reduce the deficit. You can't say to a hedge fund manager: you're no longer going to get a special tax preference if it means we're going to take that away so we can reduce the deficit. So if we're really concerned about the deficit, as we should be, let's get at it in a balanced way, and not in the sequester way, which will result in 750,000 fewer American jobs. That's what we should be focused on today, Mr. Speaker.

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