The last time I stood on the floor to talk about a “clean” debt limit increase, I did so to prove that we could do better. It was an effort to implore my Democrat colleagues in the House and Senate to heed the warnings of the President’s own Fiscal Commission, which clearly noted how our economy and hardworking taxpayers would suffer under the mountain of debt Washington was racking up.
My position is unchanged. I remain as committed as ever to grappling with our debt; to making the tough decisions to reform, improve, strengthen and protect our entitlement programs; and, most importantly, to getting this economy back on track so hardworking taxpayers start seeing their pay go up, and those in need of a job can find one.
In fact, that work is underway at the Ways and Means Committee where we have posted for public comment bipartisan proposals to reform Medicare and Social Security, so that they are viable for seniors and taxpayers – not only today but well into the future.
Regrettably, over the last three years, Democrats have hardened their position. The President, Senate Democrats and House Democrats will not even entertain a discussion – let alone a negotiation – over what reforms we can make along with a debt limit increase. They have become unyielding. Democrats are totally adamant – extend the debt limit or default.
That is the position of today’s Democrat Party – don’t negotiate, don’t reach out across the aisle, ignore the past, which clearly shows the debt limit typically passes with other reforms.
Mr. Speaker, I remember serving when Bill Clinton was President. Those were different times.
Despite our different opinions, we were able to find common solutions for the American people. We balanced the budget, reformed our nation’s welfare laws and helped break the cycle of dependency by placing an emphasis on work.
Today, Democrats openly cheer that their healthcare law will lead to less work.
Well, Mr. Speaker, I am disappointed that Democrats have walked away from the table. I am disappointed we are not engaged in a more serious debate today. But for as disappointed as I am, I cannot in good conscience let the Democrats refusal to engage, lead to a default.
For that reason alone, I will vote yes today. But today’s legislation is hardly a solution to our looming debt crisis. That is why the Ways and Means Committee will continue to carefully review and advance policies that not only reform our entitlement programs – providing greater protection for seniors and greater savings for hardworking taxpayers – but also policies that will create a stronger economy, with more jobs and higher wages for worker. It is only through a combination of such policies that we can truly solve this problem.