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Camp Speaks Against Increasing the Debt Limit

December 16, 2009

Madame Speaker,

The bill before us is a candid admission by the Majority that their tax, borrow and spend ways have driven America deeper and deeper into debt. 

In fact, because of the failed trillion-dollar stimulus spending bill, America’s unemployment is higher than predicted and revenues are lower.  But that hasn’t stopped the majority from continuing to spend, spend, spend. 

Just last week, the Majority rolled six major spending bills into one omnibus bill that increased, on average, federal spending by 11 percent. 

Now, the bill before us asks us to increase the debt limit another $290 billion dollars.  The American people are asking: where are the jobs?  But all they have been shown is more deficits and more debt.

Let’s be honest with the American people: it really isn’t $290 billion the Majority wants to increase the debt limit by; it’s more like $1.8 trillion.  In a few short months, we will be right back here voting on another bill to increase the debt limit increase, probably by another $1.5 trillion. 

At the end of 2007, public debt equaled 65.6 percent of our gross domestic product, or GDP.  By the end of 2009, the figure will exceed 83 percent and, according to President Obama’s own budget projections, it will exceed 100 percent of GDP by 2011. 

Think about it: at the rate the majority is spending, the federal debt in 2011 will exceed the value of all goods and services produced by the economy that year.

This isn’t a Democrat or Republican problem; it’s a huge problem for every American.  It threatens our economic recovery and our future prosperity. 

So, let’s remember the words of then-Senator Obama in 2006, who warned of the dangers of raising the debt limit without addressing the underlying cause.  Here is what he said, and I quote:

The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.… 

Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally.  Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’  Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.  America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership.  Americans deserve better.

Americans do indeed deserve better than what they have received this year.  But rather than heed that warning, Appropriations Committee Chairman Obey recently said:

We don’t really have a choice. The bill’s already been run up; the credit card has already been used. When you get the bill in the mail you need to pay it.” 

The gentleman from Wisconsin was correct: the credit card has been used.  But this legislation doesn’t pay the bill; it doesn’t even make the minimum monthly payment; it simply asks for more credit. 

After going on a $1.4 trillion deficit spending binge and maxing out the taxpayers’ credit card, Democrats are now asking to increase the credit limit.  We should not be asking for more credit, we should be developing a plan to pay down our deficit so that future generations are not trapped under this mountain of debt.

Until we see a plan to actually address the underlying problem – as then Senator-Obama warned we must – I cannot in good conscience vote for this legislation.  I urge my colleagues to vote NO.