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Grassley: Runaway spending drives deficits and debts

This news story was published on January 28, 2013.
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Senator Charles Grassley

Senator Charles Grassley

Floor Statement of Senator Chuck Grassley on Debt Limit and Need to Reduce Spending

Monday, January 28, 2013

Mr. President,

During the next few weeks and months, Congress and the President will again have an opportunity to demonstrate that we’re serious about dealing with deficits and debt by reducing spending.

The reason we need to address the federal runaway spending is obvious — it’s the real driver of our deficits and debt.

Spending is the reason we’re up against the $16.4 trillion debt limit. Spending was the reason Congress and President Obama raised the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion just a year and a half ago.

In 2006, the junior Senator from Illinois, Senator Obama, made a passionate and thoughtful statement here on the Senate floor in opposition to raising the debt limit.

Many of the reasons he gave then are relevant today. In fact, they’re even more appropriate for today’s fiscal mess.

It’s instructive for my colleagues to hear the words straight from then-Senator Obama. He delivered these remarks on March 16, 2006.

The Senate was debating raising the debt limit by $781 billion to a new limit of $8.9 trillion.

Here is what then-Senator, now-President Obama said:

“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies.

“Over the past 5 years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion. That is “trillion” with a “T.” That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers.

“And over the next 5 years, between now and 2011, the President’s budget will increase the debt by almost another $3.5 trillion.

“Numbers that large are sometimes hard to understand. Some people may wonder why they matter. Here is why: This year, the Federal Government will spend $220 billion on interest.

“That is more money to pay interest on our national debt than we’ll spend on Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. That is more money to pay interest on our debt this year than we will spend on education, homeland security, transportation, and veterans benefits combined. It is more money in one year than we are likely to spend to rebuild the devastated gulf coast in a way that honors the best of America.

“And the cost of our debt is one of the fastest growing expenses in the Federal budget.

“This rising debt is a hidden domestic enemy, robbing our cities and States of critical investments in infrastructure like bridges, ports, and levees; robbing our families and our children of critical investments in education and health care reform; robbing our seniors of the retirement and health security they have counted on.

“Every dollar we pay in interest is a dollar that is not going to investment in America’s priorities. Instead, interest payments are a significant tax on all Americans–a debt tax that Washington doesn’t want to talk about. If Washington were serious about honest tax relief in this country, we would see an effort to reduce our national debt by returning to responsible fiscal policies.”

Senator Obama went on to say:

“Our debt also matters internationally. My friend, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, likes to remind us that it took 42 Presidents 224 years to run up only $1 trillion of foreign-held debt . This administration did more than that in just 5 years.

“Now, there is nothing wrong with borrowing from foreign countries. But we must remember that the more we depend on foreign nations to lend us money, the more our economic security is tied to the whims of foreign leaders whose interests might not be aligned with ours.

“Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.

“America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”

For these reasons, Senator Obama announced his position to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.

The national debt today is nearly double what it was in 2006 when President Obama called it a sign of leadership failure and a hidden domestic enemy.

During President Obama’s first four years, we’ve added $6 trillion to the national debt, more than was added under President Bush’s entire eight years.

Yet, under President Obama’s recent budgets, he’d add another $10 trillion to the debt over the next ten years. That’s his plan – add another $10 trillion to the debt.

Perhaps that’s why, when given a chance, not a single Democrat in Congress voted in favor of President Obama’s budgets.

If we had a debt problem and a failure of leadership in 2006, what do we have today?

Surely President Obama, after four years of $1 trillion deficits, believes that now is the time to reduce our debt by returning to responsible fiscal policies.

At more than $16 trillion, President Obama must know that our national and economic security is undermined by our dependence on foreign countries to lend us money.

In the summer of 2008, while on the campaign trail, Senator Obama made this statement when answering a question about deficits and debt:

“The problem is, is that the way Bush has done it over the last eight years is to take out a credit card from the Bank of China in the name of our children, driving up our national debt from $5 trillion for the first 42 presidents — number 43 added $4 trillion by his lonesome, so that we now have over $9 trillion of debt that we are going to have to pay back — $30,000 for every man, woman and child.

“That’s irresponsible. It’s unpatriotic.”

Remember, he made these statements when annual deficits were a couple hundred billion dollars per year – rather than the $1 trillion-plus deficits of the past four consecutive years.

He made these statements when our national debt was $8 or $9 trillion, rather than today’s $16 trillion. That’s close to $50,000 for every man, woman and child.

It’s time for the President to acknowledge that we have a spending problem.

Earlier this month, the President got his campaign wish to raise taxes on the so-called wealthy, even though it’ll do next to nothing to reduce deficits. But, that’s done. Now it’s time to focus on the real driver of our deficits and debt– runaway federal spending.

I look forward to working with my colleagues and President Obama over the next few months to finally take action to get our fiscal house in order.

Leadership means the buck stops with him.

It’s time to stop shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.

It’s what Americans deserve. It’s time for the President to lead.

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11 Responses to Grassley: Runaway spending drives deficits and debts

  1. Avatar

    sickastupd Reply Report comment

    January 29, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Blog, you little dunce, you aren’t sharp enough to change your name three times to make it appear as though you’re three different people.

    You still can’t spell, your lame cliches are still lame and your sputtering uneducated nonsense never changes.

    Oh – and you still don’t have a clue.

  2. Avatar

    LVS Reply Report comment

    January 29, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Grassley has been in office way to long. It is time to get rid of him and put in term limits.

  3. Avatar

    Ananymous Reply Report comment

    January 29, 2013 at 9:05 am

    Are you talking about the same guy that said at the start of his first term If I do not reduce the deficit I should not be re elected. He must have had a four trillion dollar memory laps. That not only makes him bad at math but also a complete liar. And you are right some of the carry over was from bush who I thought was the worst until obama came along.

  4. Avatar

    happyguy Reply Report comment

    January 29, 2013 at 8:35 am

    here is what Pres Obama spent his 6 trillion on
    1. 1.6 trillion for Bush’s 2 wars
    2. 1.4 trillioninterest intrest payment on
    on outstanding debt
    3. 1.6 trillion from lost revenue from Bush tax
    4. 1.4 trillion for unfunded medicare part D

    Well look at that. He really isn’t on a spending spree.

  5. Avatar

    ArmBears Reply Report comment

    January 29, 2013 at 6:40 am

    Outrageous congressional salaries, golden parachute lifetime taxpayer funded retirement, free health care at the finest hospitals in the country would also be nice places to start Chuck. Then there is the nasty little matter of Grassley Farms welfare payments, legal of course, that you and your family took for three generations making you one of the richest takers in the Senate. You phoney!

  6. Avatar

    Ananymous Reply Report comment

    January 29, 2013 at 6:29 am

    Five things Democrats cry loudest about.
    5. The release of the fact that 47% of the country is now on some form of government assistance and expected to rise to 58% by time Obama is done rapeing the working people.
    4. The idea of checking the estimated 11 million illegals( I mean obama votes ) in this country for green cards.
    3. The idea of drug testing anyone on a program. No legitimate medical paper no money.
    2. Cutting the food for nothing program which at the time of the great depression was 1 in 50 and now under obama is one in 5.7.
    1. And the number one crying point for the democrats is. THE IDEA THAT YOU MIGHT HAVE TO WORK FOR A LIVING AND BE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN ACTIONS. Ill bet that idea sends shivers up the backs of the I’ll race you to the mailbox for my check folks. You can all chew on this when you finally get up since you don’t have to be up for work.

  7. Avatar

    Blog Reply Report comment

    January 29, 2013 at 5:25 am

    The 30,000 per person amount is actually double since only half the people in this once great nation havent jumped on the Osama Obama blood sucker way of life and still work. The only thing leaches are good for is walley fishing

  8. Avatar

    Sick of 'Sickastupid' Reply Report comment

    January 29, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Yeah, blowhard. Like the 47% of pro-Obama parasites had nothing to do with our exploding deficits, and national debt. You Obama nuts are the stupid ones. Go jump in a lake, Sicka, cuz you’re the one whose really sick.

    • Avatar

      Ha Reply Report comment

      January 29, 2013 at 1:39 am

      are you referring to the idiotic, behind closed doors comments that Mitt Romney made about the 47 percent dependent on government? coming from Mitt Romney who hid his money in off shore accounts so he didn’t have to pay taxes on them?
      So in your brilliant deduction of what Mitt said, those “entitlements” like Social Security that people have worked hard for all their lives, must have crippled our economy. Those military families, working hard to make ends meet while a family member is stationed abroad, are just a bunch of parasites?

    • Avatar

      sickastupd Reply Report comment

      January 29, 2013 at 11:33 am

      Can’t dispute the truth so you attack me – hilarious!

      Oh, if you only knew how foolish this makes you look! HA HA HA!

  9. Avatar

    sickastupd Reply Report comment

    January 28, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    Unfunded wars, the housing bubble, medicare part D and massive tax reductions are the reasons for deficits and debt, you stupid old man.