WASHINGTON – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) and leaders of the Blue Dog Coalition expressed deep concern today with the Republican leadership, who is poised to increase America’s debt limit without a separate vote, any debate, or a fiscally responsible budget in place. The following is Congressman Hoyer’s statement as prepared for delivery:
“Yesterday, we witnessed history being made half a world away, as our brave armed forces defeated a brutal dictator and liberated the Iraqi people.
“Well, later today or early tomorrow, we are likely to make our own history on the House Floor. But there will be no cause for celebration; no cause to rejoice. There will only be reason for the members of this body – and especially our Republican friends – to hang our heads in shame. After a decade of prattling on about its commitment to fiscal discipline, the Republican majority is now poised to pass a budget resolution conference report that will trigger the largest debt limit increase in American history: $800 billion or more. And here’s the kicker: there will be no debate on this action. There will be no vote.
“There will only be a growing mountain of debt.
“Two years ago, President Bush promised the American people that his budget would pay down $2 trillion in debt and spur the economy. Well, Mr. President, here’s the reality: your economic policies have failed and your budget is going to force us to raise the debt limit twice in less than a year. The debt limit now stands at $6.4 trillion, and it could spiral to more than $11.5 trillion by the end of 2013 under the budget resolution passed by House Republicans.
“The American people need to ask two very simple questions: How are we going to pay for another round of unaffordable tax cuts when we are projecting a record budget deficit this year and asking for an historic increase in the debt limit? And, why don’t Republicans value the fiscal discipline that’s crucial to a vibrant economy and that they said was of paramount importance to our country?
‘Here we are being asked this week to raise the debt ceiling so that this government can go on borrowing money to take care of its spending habits, and I think that is outrageous. I hope members of this House will vote against raising the debt ceiling, and I hope the American people will contact the members of this House ... and urge them to vote against raising the debt ceiling.’
“But wait, those aren’t my words. That is what Majority Leader Tom Delay said on the House Floor on March 29, 1993. My, oh my, how Republicans have changed their tune. Republicans will rue this day – the day that they sounded the death-knell for the policy of fiscal discipline that lifted our economy in the 1990s to unprecedented heights. I promise you that, along with my friends in the Blue Dog coalition, I will never stop fighting for fiscally responsible policies and a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.”