Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi took to the House floor today to call on House Republicans to pass a clean, long-term debt ceiling increase worthy of America’s fiscal and economic challenges, rather than a gimmick that does not provide certainty our growth for the American economy. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
“Thank you very much Madam Speaker. I thank the gentleman for yielding, I thank him, our Ranking Member on the Ways and Means Committee, Mr. Levin, our Ranking Member on Budget, Mr. Van Hollen, for their leadership and the clarity they have brought to the debate on the floor today. It’s very, it’s curious, it’s a curiosity that we have on the floor today, it’s a subterfuge, it distracts from the matter at hand. Madam Speaker, once again, as has happened too often in the last two years, we have come to the floor at a moment when our Republican colleagues are threatening the full faith and credit of the United States and putting the stability of our economy on the line.
“Too often, families and small businesses have faced uncertainty about the debt ceiling, funding of our national government, our tax code, and the rest. Three months. Where is the certainty in three months? We should not even be having a debate, it should be no doubt that the full faith and credit of the United States will be honored and that is what our Constitution says.
“Too often, House Republicans have refused to acknowledge the negative impact of their actions, choosing to return to the same, tired, failed strategy – one that only serves to, again, weaken our economy and undermine our middle class. That track record must end.
“Now I’m hearing people say: ‘we should go down this path of least resistance, that’s what I thought, the path – it’s an easy way out, three months, but the fact is that, that is a path, a path to even more problems and as Mr. Crowley has said: ‘a path to another cliff.’ Our country needs a clean, long-term debt ceiling increase and a bipartisan, balanced budget that protects Medicare and Social Security, invests in the future and responsibly reduces the deficit. We all know that.
“We know that as we go forward to reduce the deficit we need growth and job creation, we need spending cuts, we need revenue. Democrats have already agreed to $1.6 trillion in spending cuts, Democrats have already agreed to more than $1 trillion in Medicare savings – to strengthen Medicare and to protect beneficiaries, and not to affect their benefits, Democrats and Republicans came together to avert the fiscal cliff and raise revenues by delinking the tax cut for the high end from the tax cut for the middle class.
“We all agree that more can, and must, be done to get our fiscal house in order. But we must face the facts: real, lasting deficit reduction will only be achieved through an approach that is balanced, fair, and focused on the jobs – on jobs and the prosperity of our middle class. Unfortunately, this bill on the floor today fails to meet those standards.
“Americans and Members of Congress should remember two words about this legislation: three months, three months. That’s how long Republicans are prepared to raise the debt ceiling today. They really don’t even address the debt ceiling issue, three months. But Republican leaders are doing more: they have made promises to their fellow Republicans, to get their vote, to even go beyond the Ryan budget, this is like the Ryan budget on steroids. They have called this bill ‘no budget, no pay.’ But who pays under the Republican budget? Seniors pay – ending the Medicare guarantee. Seniors, children, and people with disabilities pay – cutting Medicaid. Children pay because it will cut investments in their education, in their future, in their self-fulfillment, in the competitiveness of our country and the global economy, veterans pay because of the gutting of our domestic spending priorities. I don’t think that we should ever link what we do here as to whether people get paid. We have a lot of work to do here, this linkage is again – it’s a joke, it’s not right, it’s designed to put people on the spot and say: ‘either you get, you don’t get paid and in order to get paid, in order for Members of Congress to get paid, you must cut benefits for seniors and their Medicare guarantee, Medicaid and the rest. It’s a false link. It shouldn’t even be there in the first place. And it is wrong.
“Again, this proposal is a missed opportunity. It does not relieve the uncertainty faced by small businesses, the markets and the middle class. It is a gimmick unworthy of the fiscal and economic challenges that we face. This proposal does not have certainty. It does not have growth. And it does not have my support. I urge a ‘no’ vote.”