WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator John Boozman took to the floor of the Senate today to press for consideration of the "Cut, Cap and Balance Act" and to challenge the Majority and White House to present a plan of their own.
Watch Boozman's speech here.
The following is the text of Senator Boozman’s speech (as prepared for delivery):
Throughout the course of this debt ceiling debate, the American people have watched us work in utter disbelief of what they have seen. They understand that we need to get our fiscal house in order. They see what has gotten us into this mess and they want it stopped before they agree to give us blanket authority to raise the debt limit. What they are saying is: we must spend within our means, just as they have to do.
Well, we’ve got a way to do that. It is the Cut, Cap and Balance plan. It’s already passed the House. A companion bill, with 39 cosponsors, has the support that it should be considered here in this chamber as well.
I’m proud to say that I am one of those 39 cosponsors of the Senate bill. I signed onto the Cut, Cap and Balance bill because the American people—and more specifically the people of Arkansas—have demanded that we address this crisis now, not later. They know Washington is not good with remembering to follow through on the things they promise to do “later.”
Some will say this is too simple of an answer. They say that the fiscal mess we find ourselves in is a complex problem. It’s really not though.
Just look at numbers. This year alone, we will spend $3.7 trillion while only collecting $2.2 trillion. We borrow 40 cents of every dollar we spend.
President Obama and the Democratic Majority in this Chamber will say the way to fix this problem to raise taxes. They may try to use a words and phrases like “revenue” when talking about raising taxes, but make no doubt about it, they want to put the onus back on the American people.
There is a major problem with this approach. Washington doesn’t have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem.
Again, the numbers back this up. Traditionally, government spending is about 19 percent of GDP. Since President Obama has been in office, government spending has been much closer to 25 percent of GDP. This Administration has raised federal spending to its highest peak since WWII.
So how do we solve this spending problem?
We do it through "Cut, Cap and Balance."
Cut now. The House-passed bill immediately cuts over 100 billion dollars in spending.
Cap for the future. The spending cap mechanism in this bill caps spending over the next ten years, bringing it down to less than 20 percent of GDP within the next five years.
And the balance is for balanced budget amendment. Something our entire caucus supports, as do many in the Democratic Majority, at least according to their on the record statements. This bill prohibits Treasury from borrowing unless a balanced budget amendment is sent to the states for ratification. Let’s pass a balanced budget amendment and give the people back home the decision about whether they want to require us to operate under a balanced budget. I think you will find that they overwhelmingly do.
Unfortunately, the Senate Majority—with no plan of their own for reining in the out-of-control spending—won’t allow us to have a debate on this bill. Last Friday, they moved to table the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act, effectively ending consideration of the bill.
All of this reminds me of the debate over the House passed budget we had a few months back. The Majority over here had strong words of criticism, but no budget proposal of their own. Again, strong words of criticism, and no plan of their own. Only this time, it is worse.
With our nation on the brink of default, the Majority clearly feels that it is better to score political points than have a debate on the merits of our proposal. They control the floor, the agenda and the amendments that are accepted. If any member of their caucus wants to change the bill, they certainly have that option. But instead of having that debate, we get political theater from the Majority.
This is not what our constituents deserve. They deserve a real debate. They sent us here to work together to prevent a catastrophe on par with what has happened in Greece, Ireland and Portugal. And they want to see us get our fiscal house in order.
That is what the root cause of this crisis is all about. We aren’t just having a debate on raising the debt ceiling. If that is all this discussion was about, it would have been over months ago. Nobody wants a default, so the debate that is going on today is about a much bigger problem—the out of control spending that has put us in this position time and time again.
Cut, Cap and Balance is one way to solve the problem. It is a solution that helps us avert an immediate meltdown and brings a sense of fiscal responsibility to Washington—where it is so badly needed.