Whip Hoyer Demands a Return of Fiscal Responsibility

mr. hoyer: i thank my friend from arkansas, mr. ross, for yielding his time. TimeCode: 20:28:51.2 and i thank both mr. ross and the blue dog coalition for focusing on what i believe to be one of the most critical problems confronting our country. i'm going to speak a little bit about that. i lament the loss of one of the great leaders of this house, TimeCode: 20:29:07.8 one of the great leaders of the blue dog coalition, charlie stenholm. no member with whom i've served over the last 25 years, a quarter of a century, has been any more focused on trying to instill fiscal responsibility in the policies of this house TimeCode: 20:29:23.3 than was charlie stenholm. mr. speaker, i want to thank my friends in the blue dog TimeCode: 20:29:37.9 coalition for organizing this special order hour. the blue dogs have long been focused on this issue of fiscal responsibility. and, mr. speaker, i believe there is no more important issue in our nation today. i do not make that statement lightly. TimeCode: 20:29:54.0 it is not hyperbole. i realize that our nation is at war. our gulf coast is still reeling from the worst natural disaster in american history. we are struggling nearly five years after 9/11 to address our homeland security TimeCode: 20:30:12.0 vulnerabilities. 45 million americans have no health insurance. health care costs, gas prices, and college costs are all up for our citizens. and median household income at the same time, as you know, mr. TimeCode: 20:30:28.0 ross, is down. there are many of these critical issues that we face today. however, what the blue dog coalition knows and what every american needs to know is that these issues that we face will TimeCode: 20:30:45.2 all be impacted by the TimeCode: 20:30:50.0 dangerous fiscal policies that we are embarked on. why? because the exploding national debt that has been instigated over the last five years will TimeCode: 20:31:03.0 affect our ability to address virtually every issue confronting the american people. that's why this matters. this is not just some pie in the sky issue that mr. ross and i are talking about. mr. ross made it very clear what he could do with just three days' interest in terms TimeCode: 20:31:20.1 of bringing economic vitality to an area that needs growth and jobs and help with prosperity. other issues such as the war on terror, homeland security, health care, education, social security, and medicare are all TimeCode: 20:31:37.3 going to be impacted by these huge deficits that we are are creating. -- that we are creating. mr. speaker, i know you are interested in these comments, but here is what david walker had to say, the comptroller general of the united states. he told the senate budget TimeCode: 20:31:53.0 committee on february 15, and i quote, continuing on this unsustainable fiscal path will gradually erode if not suddenly damage our economy, our standard of living, and TimeCode: 20:32:11.1 ultimately our national security. that's the gentleman who we have appointed as the watchdog for the congress on the finances of this country, to make sure we don't waste money. TimeCode: 20:32:24.6 he is saying these policies are unsustainable, dangerous, and will undermine our national security. mr. speaker, it gives me no pleasure to say this, but i believe it is an undisputed statement of fact. this administration through its TimeCode: 20:32:41.1 insistence on unaffordable tax policies, is the most fiscally reckless administration in american history. just listen to former republican house majority leader dick armey of texas, who told "the wall street journal" TimeCode: 20:32:57.0 in january of 2004, and again i quote, i am sitting here and i am upset about the deficit. i am upset about spending. there's no way i can fix that -- pin that, excuse me, on the democrats. TimeCode: 20:33:13.4 republicans own the town now. that was the former republican majority leader saying republicans are responsible for this reckless, irresponsible fiscal policy that worries dick armey. TimeCode: 20:33:28.7 simply look at the facts. when president bush took office in january of 2001, he inherited a projected 10-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion. that's what he said. it's not what we said. he said that in a statement to the congress. TimeCode: 20:33:46.2 president clinton reduced the budget deficit every year during his first term. and then, mr. speaker, in his second term presided over four straight budget surpluses. TimeCode: 20:34:03.4 that hadn't been done for 70 years prior to that time. the first time that happened was 70 years ago. in fact, the clinton administration paid down the national debt by $453 billion TimeCode: 20:34:22.5 during that second term. in fanth, the surpluses were -- in fact, the surpluses from over half a trillion dollars. but we paid down the debt by $453 billion. so not surprisingly president TimeCode: 20:34:36.2 bush issued this bold prediction on march 21 , 2001. before i get to that, my friend has put up on the board, mr. ross, distinguished gentleman from arkansas has put up on the board the deficits over the TimeCode: 20:34:53.4 last 25 years. i have been in congress every one of those years, mr. speaker. 17 of those have been with republican presidents. 17 of those years. eight of those queers have been TimeCode: 20:35:06.9 with a democratic president -- years have been with a democratic president. some say 9/11 happened. it did. it cost us. it was serious. we needed to respond to it. but very frankly from 1982 to 1993, 9/11 didn't happen. TimeCode: 20:35:25.0 the good news was president bush and jim baker went around the world and said this is an international problem and the international community paid for it. we didn't. but if you'll look at those figures that mr. ross has put up, every year everyone without TimeCode: 20:35:40.3 fail under a republican president over the last 25 years has been a deficit year TimeCode: 20:35:47.7 and then you get to the democratic year. frankly, mr. ross has them in blue, but the first four numbers are in fact red numbers. we ran deficits. why? because we were pulling ourselves out of the deep debt that had been created by the TimeCode: 20:36:01.2 prior two administrations. then when we did that, we then took us into surplus for four straight years. but here is the good news. 17 years -- it's the bad news TimeCode: 20:36:16.2 first. 17 years under republican administrations, $4 trillion of deficit. under bill clinton, $62.2 billion of surplus. that is an amazing record TimeCode: 20:36:34.1 because here is what president bush issued, prediction in march of 2001. quote, we will pay off $2 trillion of debt over the next decade, over the next 10 years TimeCode: 20:36:53.0 $ billion over the next decade. that will be the largest debt reduction in any country ever. future generations, president bush said, shouldn't be forced to pay back money. i want, mr. speaker, i know you TimeCode: 20:37:07.1 will be interested in this and others will be interested of our colleagues. president bush said this. future generations shouldn't be forced to pay back money that we borrow. TimeCode: 20:37:21.7 we owe this kind of responsibility to our children and grandchildren. tragically although president bush said that, his policies have led to exactly the opposite and have placed, if you add -- mr. ross says TimeCode: 20:37:40.9 $28,000 but if you add the added debt limit, $30,000 per child, per grandchild, per wife, per husband, and depending upon the size of your TimeCode: 20:37:55.8 family if it's four, $120,000. the reality, of course, shows that notwithstanding what mr. bush said he was going to do, the president said he was going to do, he has done exactly the opposite. TimeCode: 20:38:10.1 in five years the bush administration and this republican congress, mr. speaker, have created the four largest budget deficits in american history, as mr. ross pointed out. $378 billion in fiscal 2002, $420 billion in fiscal 2003, $318 billion in fiscal 2005 and TimeCode: 20:38:28.4 a projected $371 billion in fiscal 2006. and the congressional budget office, mr. speaker, is projecting deficits as far as the eye can see. so not only did this TimeCode: 20:38:42.7 administration not reduce the deficit by $2 trillion. it has added $3 trillion. that's a $5 trillion mistake. as far as paying down the national debt, the TimeCode: 20:38:57.7 administration and this congress have been forced to raise the statutory debt limit four times in five years. as mr. ross knows and my good friend, mr. matheson knows, during the last four years of the clinton administration, we never raised the national debt. not once. TimeCode: 20:39:14.4 and in fact during the entire eight years, we only raised it twice. this administration has raised the statutory debt limit four times for a total of $3.5 trillion. TimeCode: 20:39:33.3 the national debt limit now stands at $9 trillion. which means that every man, woman, and child in america owes about 30ds,000 of debt, as i said -- $30,000 of debt, as i said. consider, as the gentleman pointed out, and he talked about it in terms of a day you TimeCode: 20:39:52.8 are borrowing $600,000 per minute. $600,000 per minute. in the last years of the TimeCode: 20:40:07.9 clinton administration, we didn't need to do that because we had responsible fiscal policies that we were pursuing. consider the first 42 american best borrowed a total of $1.01 trillion from foreign TimeCode: 20:40:22.5 governments and financial institutions over 211 years. this administration in five years, now in their sixth, has borrowed from foreign entities, china, saudi arabia and others, TimeCode: 20:40:41.3 $1.05 trillion. in other words, this president in five years has borrowed more TimeCode: 20:40:45.2 money from foreign governments, foreign banks, foreign financial centers, than all of the other presidents america has had combined. mr. speaker, you don't need a doctorate in economics to appreciate that our nation's economy and its security is TimeCode: 20:41:01.8 more vulnerable when we are deeply indebted to foreign creditors. our deteriorating fiscal condition has other serious side effects, mr. speaker. the interest payment on the national debt is exploding. this is like the interest TimeCode: 20:41:17.4 consumers pay on their credit card. in fiscal 2007 those interest payments will total a projected $243 billion. mr. speaker, and my colleagues, $243 billion is more money than TimeCode: 20:41:36.1 every bill we will pass appropriating money for health, for education, for infrastructure, for environment, for crime prevention, for fighting terrorism, except the defense TimeCode: 20:41:51.2 bill. so of the 11 appropriation bills, only one is larger than the interest we have to pay on the debt because we are mortgaging our future. in fact, interest payments on the national debt over the next TimeCode: 20:42:05.1 decade are projected at $3 trillion. mr. speaker, our children and grandchildren won't be able to buy anything for that. as a matter of fact, that sum TimeCode: 20:42:18.5 is so large that if we just with the interest we are paying we could pay all of medicare expenses over the next 10 years. think of that. these interest payments constitute resources that could have been used for national and homeland security, for social TimeCode: 20:42:33.8 security and medicare, for health care and education, and yes, mr. speaker, for tax cuts. now, mr. speaker, let me close by saying it's highly iron irk that president bush -- ironic that president bush traveled the country warning of social security's imminent demise, TimeCode: 20:42:50.8 while at the same time he was spending every single nickel of social security surplus over the last five years. $817 billion of social security surpluses we have spent, and in TimeCode: 20:43:09.7 fact what we have done is we have taken those fica taxes from working men and women and given it to some of the richest people in america in their tax cuts. my, my, my. TimeCode: 20:43:22.9 what responsible policy. in fact, under republican budget policies, every nickel of the social security surplus will again be spent over the next five years, a total of $1.48 trillion in total. consider that just a few years ago the chairman of the house TimeCode: 20:43:38.5 budget committee, mr. nussle of iowa, confidently predicted -- this is mr. nussle who chairs the budget committee, who talks about fiscal responsibility. he said this. this congress will protect 100% of the social security and TimeCode: 20:43:56.7 medicare trust funds, period. this is mr. nussle. no speculation, no supposition, no projections. that statement, of course, mr. speaker, proved absolutely, TimeCode: 20:44:13.9 undeniably false, wrong. we've spent every nickel. we haven't saved one cent of that social security surplus. i hope the members of this house and the american people TimeCode: 20:44:26.4 will keep this representation and others made by our republican friends in mind as we prepare to consider this coming budget because they're going to say a lot of things as they have in the past. we are likely to hear many more bold predictions in the days ahead, predictions that are TimeCode: 20:44:43.8 unmoored in fiscal reality. every member of this house knows that the one tried and true method of restoring fiscal discipline is to reinstate the pay-as-you-go budget rules that were adopted when the democrats TimeCode: 20:44:57.9 were in charge in 1990 and george bush the first joined in that bipartisan agreement to get a handle on our fiscal posture in america. our republican friends allowed those pay-go rules to expire, mr. speaker, in 2002. TimeCode: 20:45:16.3 we urged them to keep them. we have offered them in our budget resolution every year. they've been rejected. our nation has rued the day that rule was changed. i urge my colleagues to join democrats in supporting TimeCode: 20:45:31.2 pay-as-you-go budget rules. let's end this cycle of deficit and debt that threatens our nation's future. i thank mr. ross. i thank mr. matheson who co-chairs the blue dog caucus TimeCode: 20:45:47.3 for continuing to focus on this issue which in my opinion is the most important that confronts our country because every other issue will be impacted by our fiscal TimeCode: 20:46:01.1 irresponsibility. i thank the gentleman for yielding me this time. i yield back to the gentleman from arkansas. mr. ross: