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Camp Opening Statement: Rules Committee Consideration of $1.9 Trillion Debt Limit Increase

February 03, 2010

Madam Chairwoman, Ranking Member Dreier, and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to testify today on this legislation.

This legislation increases the debt limit by an astounding $1.9 trillion, the largest one-time increase in the debt limit ever. Since the Majority came into control of Congress, the debt limit has been increased by over $5.3 trillion or by nearly 60%. Nor is this the end to the piling on of debt. According to the President’s newest budget proposal the amount of debt subject to the limit will increase by nearly $1.4 trillion from fiscal year 2010 to fiscal year 2011. A number that large is hard to put into perspective, but let me offer a few points of reference. 

The President intends to increase the debt in just one year by an amount equal to the entire GDP of Canada. This one year increase in the debt is larger than the GDP of India, Mexico, Australia, or South Korea. It is larger than the GDP of Ireland, Poland, and Belgium, combined.

We’ve heard a lot of talk recently from the President about the need to get America’s fiscal house in order. However, according to the President’s own budget, Congress will have to raise the debt limit again before 2011 is over. 

Even more disturbing, is the fact that under the President’s proposed budget, debt subject to this limit will exceed the size of the entire U.S. economy by 2013 and remain more than U.S. GDP through the end the budget window and presumably for years to come.

I hear a lot from the President and from my colleagues in the Majority about inherited deficits and debt. But let’s be clear, according to the President’s own budget, the largest deficit in U.S. history will be under a Democrat Administration and a Democrat majority in Congress. A Democrat President and a Democrat Congress plan a one-year increase in the debt larger than the size of major economies around the world. 

This isn’t about what anyone inherited, it is about what this President and the Democrats in Congress plan for America: big spending, big taxes, and big government. 

My friends on the other side are fond of the analogy that raising the debt limit is necessary in the same way that someone who has eaten the restaurant meal must now pay the bill.

That analogy is misleading. It is more accurate to say that, having sat down at a restaurant with no money in its pocket; the Majority is choosing to order the caviar, the lobster, a nice bottle of wine, and maybe a round of drinks for the folks at the bar.

Rather than letting this massive debt limit increase pass, I urge the Congress to examine its out of control spending habit this year, rather than after the election as the President suggests with his deficit commission.

Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. I would be pleased to answer any questions the Committee may have.