Debt Management and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2015

Floor Speech

Date: Feb. 11, 2016
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. WOODALL. I thank my friend from Texas for bringing this bill to the House.

I confess, Mr. Chairman, I have served on the Budget Committee since I arrived in this House 5 years ago, and I have listened to testimony on every single budget the President has submitted to this Congress. Among all the calls of the redundancy of this legislation, I want to just encourage my colleagues to read the five short pages that are this bill. It says this:

Not more than 60 days and not less than 21 days before the debt ceiling is to be raised, the Secretary of the Treasury shall submit the following: a detailed explanation of proposals of the President to reduce the public debt in the short-term, which is the next fiscal year; the medium term, the next 3 to 5 years; and the long term, the next 10 years.

Five years I have served in this institution; five budgets of this President I have looked at. Not one reduced the debt by one penny this year, next year, 10 years from now, or 100 years from now. This is not redundant.

What Mr. Marchant is asking of not this President, but the next President, whoever he or she may be, is to not promise the American people everything on their children's credit card, that if you are going to come to the American people and ask for a credit line increase on America's credit card, you ought to offer at least some semblance of a plan for paying the bill back.

I have heard the charge of hypocrisy here on the House floor. Again, I serve on the House Budget Committee. Every single year, this House, Republicans and Democrats, pass budgets that balance. Every single year, this House, Republicans and Democrats, pass budgets that plan not just to pay back a penny of debt, but all of the debt.

We can't expect less from our next President. We have to expect more. Republican or Democrat, the next President, before coming to ask for the debt ceiling to be increased, should come with a plan for eventually paying that debt back.

Mr. Chairman, it is embarrassing to me that a clean debt ceiling increase is part of the national parlance. I have got seventh, eighth and ninth graders back home who know what a clean debt ceiling is.

We should never have a clean debt ceiling increase. We should never raise the American people's credit line without a plan for paying it back. Not once, Mr. Chairman, have we considered a bill on the floor of this House that has the requirement that Mr. Marchant is proposing today.

The burden will fall on us to implement it, but leadership falls to the White House as well. Don't come and ask the American people for more money until you come with a plan for eventually balancing the books. That is not too much to ask, Mr. Chairman. In fact, it is too little to ask, but it is a fantastic first start.

I ask all of my colleagues to support this bill.