Neal Leads Debate on Republicans’ Default on America Act
Washington, D.C., April 26, 2023
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I might consume Mr. Speaker. I rise in strong opposition to the default on America's Act. The Chairman just mentioned something that is noteworthy. He said We are seeing a Republican plan and for the next hour we intend to make sure America gets a chance to see the Republican plan.
A reminder for those who might be paying attention to this debate today as to how we traveled on this road, which by the way, is imminently manageable through negotiation after a clean debt ceiling vote might take place. So our Republican colleagues, I think I might be mistaken, you know what? I'm sure they voted for more defense spending.
$800 billion we are now at with defense spending. So they voted for pandemic relief. They voted for aid to Ukraine. How about the million and a half new veterans that we have in America in the aftermath of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan? They deserve our care. And our Republican colleagues voted for that aid.
So the Republican members, some of whom voted for. The infrastructure bill, some of them who voted for the legislation on Inflation Reduction Act and some of them who voted for the CHIPS Act. That's what's in front of us at this moment. But here's the real ringer, Mr. Speaker, in December of 2017, and I hope everybody pays attention to this argument.
They voted to borrow 2.3 trillion over 10 years for the purpose of giving a tax cut to the wealthiest among us with, by the way, modest to limited economic growth. So why is that important? Because there's been 10 trillion worth of tax cuts over the last 25 years. You want me to recite it? How about President Bush's tax cut in two oh 1,300,000,000,000, but came back in 2003 and another trillion.
And subsequently presided over the invasion of Iraq in Afghanistan, which we should note the cost of which are in the trillions of dollars today. So, they want us to believe. That this problem that we have in front of us is, which I have mentioned, is manageable. They want us to believe that this is a democratic position on spending after they embrace the tax cuts that I've just described.
This is about America's credit. Whatever happened to the Republican party that talked about probity as it related to financial stability. Whatever happened to the Republican party that talked about the importance of investment, these arguments that they make now are largely vacuous because it's inconsistent with the Republican party.
I knew when I came to Congress so they could borrow money for the Iraq War month after month to keep it off budget so nobody would see what it was really about, and they could borrow money repeatedly. And the minute a Democrat gets to the White House, They're blamed for inflation. I don't think Joe Biden should be blamed for inflation in the United Kingdom, or how about Germany?
That's how empty these arguments are that they're making. There's a chance for us to do what we used to do here. And by the way, Democrats responsibly voted for raising the debt ceiling three times under the former president because we thought it was the responsible thing to do. So, Speaker McCarthy got himself into this.
By the promises that he made along the way. The suggestion here is very simple, Mr. Speaker, pass a clean debt ceiling. And then let's get on with negotiating. Bill Clinton. In December, I'm sorry, on January 19th, 2001, had balanced the budget four times. Four times projected surpluses in the trillions of dollars in 22 million new jobs.
And the Republican party gave it away through tax cuts to wealthy people, and they're asking us today the following. Okay? So they get to set the fire and then call the fire department because that's what this argument is about. And with that, I hold onto the balance of my time.