Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech


Mr. WOODALL. I thank my chairman for yielding.

As a freshman, I have the privilege of serving on the Budget Committee. And in years past, the Budget Committee has been all about producing a political document, a document that may make for great sound bites, may make for great television, but doesn't make for great governance. As my friend from Arizona said earlier, the challenge, the $15.5 trillion in debt that has been placed on the backs of every child, every man and woman, every family in this country, has been the path that both parties have chosen.

My friend from Maryland, the ranking member of the Budget Committee, says there is no disagreement that we have to get the debt under control. Yet the President, who, to his credit, has submitted a budget, submitted a budget that raised taxes by $2 trillion on the American people, but so increased spending as well that the debt continued to climb even faster under the President's budget than it does under the broken system we have today.

Take a look at this. You can't see this, Mr. Chairman, but it's the drivers of our debt. If you look here at the blue line, it is Social Security; and Social Security is a situation that we know is facing peril, but it's facing peril in a predictable way that we'll be able to solve and control.

We see here the green line. It's Medicaid and other health saving in this country, and yet it is growing rapidly. We know how we can begin to curb that spending.

Look at this red line. This is Medicare spending growing out of control. We know it. We know it's true. That's the question folks ask me back home. In this budget conversation, they say: Rob, why does it sound like it's a big Medicare discussion?

The reason is because Medicare is the driver. Medicare spending, the spending that is done through a government mandate where individuals don't have control over their own health care, is driving this debt train.

Going back to my pride at being a freshman member of the Budget Committee, Mr. Chairman, this is a headline from MSNBC. And you know MSNBC is not one of the biggest fans of this freshman class, not one of the biggest fans of this Republican Congress. But this is what they said in a headline from March 15: ``In risky election-year move, Republicans offer Medicare alternatives.''

That's right. That is why 100 new freshmen came to this body last year. They didn't come to recycle old ideas. They came to offer solutions.

Yes, I know it's an election year, but dadgummit, Mr. Chairman, an election year ought to bring out the best in this body as folks work even harder to fulfill the hopes and dreams of the American people. That's what Chairman Ryan and this Budget Committee have done.

Could they have punted on this, Mr. Chairman? Could they have said, You know what, this is just too hard. We know it's coming, we know it threatens every senior in this country, but let's just punt until after the election.

We've heard some folks who have adopted exactly that attitude, but not this chairman, not Paul Ryan and the Budget Committee, not this U.S. House of Representatives. It may be risky, but they do it because it's the right thing to do.

And I tell you, Republicans and Democrats alike who were elected in this freshman class in 2010 came to do the right thing for the right reasons, not to follow election-year politics; and I'm just so proud of this chairman for giving us this opportunity.

So what is it that this Budget Committee solution is? Well, what it doesn't do, Mr. Chairman, is change anything for seniors on Medicare today, not one. No changes for today's seniors, whereas the President's proposal makes dramatic changes by empowering this 15-member IPAB board. We preserve and protect Medicare in this budget by providing for seniors--my parents, your parents and your grandparents--providing an opportunity for them to have some say in their health care decisions. We tried that with Medicare Advantage. It's been dramatically successful, and we expand that to give families more choices about their health care decisions. Preserving and protecting the Medicare mandate for future generations, this is the alternative.

Just to be clear, you can't read this, Mr. Chairman, it's the small print, it's all of the small print, that indicates the IPAB board. And it takes a lot of small print to create it because folks were scared to death when this thing was created. There's all sorts of language in this small print, Mr. Speaker, about how rationing will not happen with this board. Why? Because when you put a government board in charge of people's health care, the first thing you think is rationing.

Well, what this board can do is clamp down on what we pay providers. Now, I want you to think about the doctors in your life. I want you to think about those folks.


Mr. WOODALL. In your church, in your Sunday school class, at the CVS and at the Walgreen's is where you see those family practice docs. Do you really think those folks are the health care problem in this country? Do you really think that clamping down on more of your neighbors who provide the care to our community is the answer? Because that's the only thing this IPAB board can do: clamp down on those docs, denying care to every senior in this country.

We offer an alternative. It may be a risky election-year move, but it's the right thing to do. And I want to thank the chairman. All the naysayers in this country who said you couldn't, you did. All the folks who said you shouldn't, you did. And you did it because it was the right thing to do. This is a document that can govern our Nation, and it's one that we can be proud of, and I've been proud to be a part of it.