November 18, 1995
Web posted at: 11:55 p.m. EST
I'm Mike Parker of Mississippi, the newest Republican member of the U.S. Congress. This has been an historic week in the life of this nation. Not only has it been historic, but it has also been frightening for many people. I believe that we are at a defining moment in America. Nothing less than the future of this great nation is at stake in this debate. We must decide whether we continue down the path of bigger deficits, higher taxes, and less opportunity for our children or change the direction and free the next generation from the crushing burden of our debt.
These are the facts. If we continue the current programs, in 25 years it will cost every working person in this country 82 cents out of every dollar you make just to maintain current federal programs. That's not fair for us and it's really not fair for our children. What kind of future can they expect if we put that burden on them? The liberal Democrats in this country want to keep the status quo. They want to defend every program that is in existence. The don't want it to stop. They like it just the way it is.
Some of them even want to see it get bigger. That's why they've had such a hard time trying to decide when or even if they want a balanced budget. I believe that the majority of the American people want less government. We want more money to stay in the pockets of our citizens. We want more freedom. We want less dependence on the federal government. We want our society to work in such a way that our children will have a better life than we have. That's what this fight is all about -- to have less government and more opportunity.
Balancing the budget isn't just the responsible thing to do for the future of our children. It also brings immediate benefits to every American family today. Economists of all stripes agree that balancing the budget by 2002 would bring down interest rates. In fact, when you take into account lower mortgage rates and lower rates on student loans, along with the $500 per child tax credit, the Balanced Budget Act passed by Congress this week will result in about $200 more per month staying in the pockets of working Americans.
Now that's the balancing budget bonus for working Americans. More money in your pocket, less money for Washington politicians. And the less money that Washington takes in, the less money it can spend. Twice this week President Clinton vetoed government funding bills, sending home 800,000 federal workers rather than agreeing to balance the budget in seven years. We only asked him to commit balancing the budget in seven years. Everything else would be on the table. Sadly, the President with his veto rejected any seven year balanced budget plan.
And while he waved his veto pen, Republicans in the House and the Senate completed the Balanced Budget Act of 1995. The President and Democrats talk about cuts in Medicare. That's political rhetoric. Spending on Medicare will increase by 45 percent under the balanced budget bill, rising from $4,800 per year per beneficiary to $6,700 per year per beneficiary - - an increase of almost $2,000 per person. In Washington, some people may call that a cut, but not in real America.
When the President introduced his health plan last year, one of the major components of the plan was limiting the growth of Medicare. Publicly, he said that Medicare was growing at three times the rate of inflation. And that he wanted it to grow at only two times the rate of inflation. Isn't it interesting that he's changed his position now because that's exactly what the Republican plan calls for -- limiting Medicare growth to two times the rate of inflation. We will continue to work toward agreement with the President and essential government services will continue. We will make sure that the government provides necessary services to the American people. But the current furlough of non-essential government employees has confirmed what most Americans already know -- Washington is full of excess bureaucrats.
The people of this country must let their representatives know that they are willing to do what is necessary -- that are committed to a balanced budget. Republicans have total faith in the people of this country. We are doing what you asked us to do. We are doing our job. The Democrats are betting that they can scare you away from the job that we need to do. We believe that you intuitively know that the decisions are not easy. But this is our opportunity. It is important that all of us, people who care about this nation, understand that we cannot spend ourselves into prosperity.
My mother told me a long time ago there's a lot of difference between wants and needs. Well, there are. We need to determine what we need because we can't afford all that we want. The President continued to promise a balanced budget. But you and I are still waiting. Republicans are committed to balance the budget in seven years, for our children, for our future, for our country. Unlike the President, some of us are willing to keep our promises, even if it means that we have to switch parties to do it.