Cole: Where is the President's Plan?

Jul 27, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Cole (OK-04) made the following remarks in the House floor in support of the Budget Control Act of 2011:

"Every now and then you need to step back and look at the record and put the rhetoric aside. When this majority showed up in January of this last year, we found a situation where our fends on the other side of the aisle had failed to write a budget for this year, failed to pass any appropriations bills, and had just sort of gone home.

"We had a president who had appointed a debt reduction commission and yet failed to embrace any of their actions at all, not one. Then we heard the president come and address us in this chamber, State of the Union message, didn't bother to mention the looming debt crisis for 35 minutes. 35 minutes. Then the first serious proposal we got from that president, our president, was for a $400 billion reduction over 10 years that was so laughable, when it was brought up in the United States Senate, which is controlled by his party, it failed 97-0.

"Then the president wanted to have a free vote on raising the debt ceiling. 'Let's just raise it, go ahead, and see what happens.' We obviously don't support that. We think there ought to be
spend reductions, but we said, 'Sure, you've got the vote.' Fewer than 100 of my friends on the other side supported their own president when he asked for that vote. So we clearly weren't sufficiently motivated to do that.

Now we've reached a point where, last week, we actually did raise the debt ceiling by $2.7 trillion, we did institute cuts that, frankly, are going to happen anyway -- they coincide with my friend Mr. Ryan's budget -- and put caps on long-term spending and said, 'Just give the American people a chance -- just a chance-- vote on a balanced budget amendment. Not asking that it pass, but don't you think they ought to have the right through their state legislatures to make that decision? We were denied that.

"Now we are at a point where we are about to once again raise the debt ceiling and do it in a responsible way, a way that I predict will probably become the pattern in the future . This body should never raise the debt ceiling again automatically. We've done it on our side, our friends have done it, we should always couple it with spend regular restraint and reform. That's what we're doing in this measure. This majority has enacted a budget. My friend has taken a lot of flak for that budget, but I'm proud to be associated with it. This body has, or will, twice raise the debt ceiling.

"And as for the president's plan: We hear about. I'd just like to see it. Just once. I haven't seen anything or heard anything like this since Richard Nixon had a secret plan to end the war. The president must have a secret plan because it's not on paper, it's not been scored, it's not been publicly presented to anybody. And by the way, one last thing on that, if Sen. Reid's plan scores at $2.2 trillion, I guess we have a $4 trillion deficit deal. We have $3 trillion and we don't count the extra trillion, which is automatic because the wars are ending. I think we ought to up ours, we have a $4 trillion plan, ought to give the majority leader the credit for that, for finding that additional trillion and if you'll just vote for this, we'll have your magic $4 trillion plan done. Our three, Senator Reid's one, that adds up to what the president wanted.

"Let's pass it, give the Senate an opportunity to pass it and give the president an opportunity to sign it."