Nov. 18, 2011: As for balancing the budget, Markey tells GOP to: "Do it now!"

REPRESENTATIVE EDWARD MARKEY (D-MA)
HOUSE FLOOR DEBATE ON H.J. Res. 2
Proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution of the United States
November 18, 2011
 

“The Republicans call this bill a Balance Budget Amendment. But, it is not balanced because it will blow a hole in the budget of vital programs that millions of Americans depend on. It’s unbalanced, un-needed, and will undermine our struggling economy.

The Republicans want us to mangle the Constitution, because they cannot manage this institution.  This amendment is a means to an end, it’s a means for Republicans to end Medicare, to end Social Security and Medicaid, to end every anti-poverty program. And, why? Because they harbor an ancient animosity to all of those programs, and their plan is to leave them as debt soaked relics to an era when we actually cared about poor people, the elderly in our country. Because the Republican plan will cut critical healthcare and anti-poverty programs, put them on a starvation diet, and leave vulnerable Americans with the crumbs.

Our economy now has a 9% unemployment rate.  Do you know what that means?  Forty-six million Americans today, live in poverty. Do you want to know what poverty is in American in 2011?  That’s a family of four living on $22,000 a year. There are nine million families living in that poverty. 15.9 million children live in poverty today, that’s one in five. One in five, children living in poverty.  Those are the programs that they want to cut here today, for the poorest children in America in 2011. 

There are almost 50 million Americans at risk for not having enough food.  16 million children in danger of not going to bed tonight with a meal. One in six seniors now live in poverty, dependent upon Medicare, dependent upon Medicaid.

Each of them, now at grave risk because of their plan here today.  Their plan is really a Robin Hood in reverse, take from the neediest and give to the greediest.  That is the plan. 

Now let’s go back into the way back machine all the way back to the year 2000, the last time we voted on a balanced budget here in Congress.  2000, Bill Clinton was President, it passed, the budget balanced.  And, the country was feeling good, the economy was booming. 

And then George Bush takes over, January of 2001.  The Republicans control the House, the Republicans control the Senate.  What do they do? Huge tax breaks for billionaires and millionaires. Two wars, which were not paid for, Iraq and Afghanistan.  All on the Republicans shoulders. And, they then turned a blind eye as Wall Street turned the entire economy into a casino, which then cascaded into the biggest long standing recession that we have seen since the Great Depression. Descending on the shoulders of who? – the poor, the sick, the elderly, the ordinary families killing themselves to pay for their mortgages each day. 

You don’t need a Constitutional amendment, ladies and gentlemen, Republicans, my good friends.  You have a Super-Committee meeting right now, down the corridor. You know what you should do? Say – take away those forty billion dollars worth of tax breaks for the oil companies.  They don’t need them! Take away the $700 billion dollars in new nuclear weapons programs, we don’t have any targets for those nuclear weapons. Kill those programs.  Look at the tax breaks for the billionaires and millionaires, they don’t need them.  Cut them! Right Now! 

All of you have take a pledge, no reductions in the tax breaks for billionaires, no reductions in defense spending…you’ve tied your own hands, even as you, with crocodile tears, come out here and say how much you care about balancing the budget, how much you care about the American economy. 

The proof will come next week. When you do not stand up in order to take the tough actions needed right now for the American economy.

[The gentleman’s time has expired]

To the Republicans, do it now.  Call President Obama now, tell him tax breaks for the billionaires - on the table, tell him defense spending – on the table, tell him tax breaks for the oil companies – on the table.  The President says he’ll put the social programs on the table.  You don’t have to go back two-hundred years to amend the constitution.  You just have to next week, next Wednesday, say we want to do it now. We, who are here, will do it now.  We will balance the budget by putting all of our programs on the table. Do it now! Do it now, Republicans!  Don’t pretend and hide behind a Constitutional Amendment, when you can do it now! You can be the Founding Fathers of balanced budget in 2011."