November 11, 1995
Web posted at: 10:10 p.m. EST
BOEHNER: I'm Representative John Boehner from West Chester, Ohio. Today is Veterans Day, a day we honor the sacrifice of American men and women in uniform. And this year is also special because it marks the 50th anniversary of the end of World War II.
Fifty years ago, Americans were called to face a crisis abroad. Today, we face another crisis, and this one is right here at home. For more than a generation, our federal government hasn't been able to balance its books.
For nearly 30 years, Congress has refused to deal responsibly with this problem. The result -- a debt that means that every child born today will have to spend $187,000 over their lifetime just to pay their share of interest on the national debt.
We've saddled our children with $5 trillion worth of debt, and frankly, that's unconscionable. Government has grown too big and too expensive, and we can no longer stand by and spend our children into bankruptcy.
Now is the time not to play golf as the president did yesterday, but now is the time to act. The president has talked about balancing the budget. In fact, he's even promised to balance the budget. But so far, the President has offered no leadership and he's offered no plan.
So Congress has had to go it alone. We've written a plan that is certified to balance the budget in seven years, not through harmful or random cuts, but by slowing the increases in government spending.
This is serious business, and we're serious about balancing the budget. But I'll be honest with you. I've got some very personal reasons for seeing this through. My two daughters, Lindsey and Tricia, are both in high school.
This debate isn't just about numbers and Washington gimmicks. It's about the kind of nation we want to leave for our children and theirs. Balancing the budget is the right thing to do for our children's future. But it's also hard work, and this week, we're sending the president legislation to make a downpayment on that balanced budget -- a 15-day spending bill to keep the government running until he can sign a balanced budget.
And although I'd like to believe otherwise, the president has threatened to shut down the entire government and risk default rather than to sign these bills.
We've offered to work with the president to avert this crisis. We've asked him time and time again to send us his plan to balance the budget, but so far all we've gotten are nothing more than excuses.
We're all going to be troubled if the president chooses to close the federal government next week. But the fate of our children and the future of our nation are threatened by a deeper crisis, and unless we can get our fiscal house in order, the American dream our veterans have fought and died for is in real trouble.
What we want to leave to our children and theirs is the American dream, not the American debt.
NICKLES: Congressman Boehner, you're exactly right. This is Senator Don Nickles from Oklahoma.
A few years ago, a young man in Oklahoma asked me very pointedly if he'd ever see a balanced budget in his lifetime. I told him we can, we should balance the budget, we must balance the budget, and we will if we have real leadership in Washington, D.C.
As a candidate, Bill Clinton promised to balance the budget in five years. But his budget never reaches balance. Instead, it increases the deficit to over $200 billion per year every year, as far as the eye can see.
In Congress, we do have a plan that does balance the budget in seven years. We said we're going to do it, and we're doing it. We're serious about that.
If the president's serious about keeping his promise, he needs to sit down with us in Congress and work out a budget that really does end deficits forever.
Instead, the president's AWOL. He's absent without leadership. It's business as usual at the White House. It's more spending, more government, more regulations, and continuing deficits.
His only reaction to our plan for balancing the budget are scare tactics. The facts are that spending continues to increase in our plan for Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs, although at a more affordable rate.
At the same time, the White House ignores the real effects of continued deficits -- higher interest rates, Medicare going broke, and a crushing debt left to our children and our grandchildren.
Our plan to balance the budget means lower interest rates on mortgages and student loans and car loans. A balanced budget will mean more jobs, more opportunity to save and invest -- all of which adds up to a stronger economy and a brighter future for America.
We've repeatedly asked the president to work with us on a real balanced budget. So far, regrettably, he's refused. Business as usual, status quo, more political campaigning -- it's just not good enough.
And this isn't just about being a Republican or a Democrat. It's about being an American. It's about doing what's right and doing it now.
The president should sit down and work with us in Congress, and together we can and we will balance the budget. And this will guarantee a better and brighter future for all of America.
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