During a speech on the Senate floor, McConnell said, “It's long past time for the administration and its allies in Congress to face the hard choices that Americans have had to face over the past several months. No more spending money we don't have on things we don't need. No more debt. Real reform will lower costs and debt, not raise both when we can least afford it.”
Here is the full text of Senator McConnell’s speech.
"Sometime in the coming days, the Treasury Department will make an announcement that should startle all of us. It will announce that, in the fiscal year that ended just two weeks ago, the federal government spent $1.4 trillion more than it actually had. What this announcement means, is that lawmakers in Washington ran up a federal deficit in 2009 greater than the deficits of the last four years combined.
"This is a staggering statistic. It's impossible for most of us to imagine sums of money this large, let alone the unprecedented amount of money we've borrowed this year alone. But one way to think of it is to realize that, since January 20th of this year, the federal government has borrowed $1.2 trillion or more than $10,500 for every household in the United States.
"Let me repeat that. Just since January, the federal government has borrowed more than $10,500 for every single household in the United States.
"As you can imagine, there's a limit to how much we can borrow without facing serious consequences, such as dramatically higher interest rates that will further hamper job creation and massive spending cuts and taxes down the road. That's precisely why Congress sets a limit on how much debt the government can carry at any one time. But the administration has decided to worry about all these things at a later date. For now, it just wants to continue to borrow and spend, borrow and spend, just as it's done all year.
"But we're in dangerous territory. And, as a result of all this borrowing, Congress is about to reach the limit on the amount of debt it can legally carry. The administration expected this would happen, and that's why it recently asked Congress to raise the debt ceiling. Rather than cut spending or implement reforms that would reduce costs, the administration is proposing that we borrow even more to finance its industry bailouts and now its health care proposal. What this amounts to is a public admission that it can't live within its own means.
"Think about the message this sends to the American people. At a time when millions of Americans are experiencing a financial hangover from overusing their own credit cards, the government is still at it. Rather than pay down some of the principal, the government is asking the credit card company to increase its limit. And what does it plan to buy with the room it gets on its credit card: more government spending programs.
"This is fiscal madness. The primary reason we're in so much trouble financially is the fact that we can't afford our current spending patterns. The projected deficit for 2009 is nearly twice as large as the previous postwar record from 1983. Yet, instead of reforming existing programs like Medicare and Social Security in order to make them financially sound and stable, the administration doesn't want to make the hard choices.
"And this is one of the reasons the administration has a problem on its hands with the American people when it comes to health care. Most of the health care bills the administration supports would raise our debt by hundreds of billions of dollars. And, yet, the administration knows that Americans are concerned about all this spending and debt. Otherwise, it wouldn't have touted a report last week saying that a conceptual version of one of the several health care bills being discussed in Congress could cut the deficit by some $80 billion over 10 years.
"Leaving aside the fact that this particular bill will never see the light of day, an important question arises: How can an administration that's asking Congress for a $1 trillion increase on its credit card limit claim with a straight face to be excited about $80 billion in deficit savings?
"That's like putting a new Mercedes on the government credit card, and then calling a press conference on frugality because the dealer threw in a complimentary cup holder ...
"Americans don't buy any of it, and that's why they're overwhelmingly opposed to the administration's health care proposals. At the outset of this debate, there was one criterion for success: reform would lower the cost of health care. And yet no one outside Washington believes that creating a new trillion-dollar entitlement will do anything but increase costs and increase our debt.
"We're heading down a dangerous road. It's long past time for the administration and its allies in Congress to face the hard choices that Americans have had to face over the past several months. No more spending money we don't have on things we don't need. No more debt. Real reform will lower costs and debt, not raise both when we can least afford it."
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