MAGIC FORMULA FOR BALANCED BUDGET IS ILLUSION; Congressional Record Vol. 141, No. 193
(House of Representatives - December 06, 1995)

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             MAGIC FORMULA FOR BALANCED BUDGET IS ILLUSION

  The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Longley). Under a previous order of the 
House, the gentleman from Hawaii [Mr. Abercrombie] is recognized for 60 
minutes.
  Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Speaker, reclaiming my time, Mr. Dornan has 
given me, with his last sentence, literally a transition point for the 
issue that I wish to discuss this evening yet once again, and that has 
to do with the so-called balanced budget.
  Mr. Speaker, as you may know, and certainly others of our colleagues 
who have been paying attention to both debate during the bills at hand, 
and in special orders with respect to the budget reconciliation bill, 
that I have, among others, been saying for some time now, that this 
magic formula that is being proposed by the majority about a balanced 
budget is in fact an illusion.
  Now, Mr. Speaker, rather than just taking into consideration the 
observation of the majority leader, Mr. Armey, the other day that 
politicians could get hit by a train and get back up and say I got the 
best of that deal, so therefore, we cannot pay much attention to 
politicians, let me make some references then to some of the people in 
the press, some of the journalists who have been doing their homework 
on this issue. Here is the fundamental premise, Mr. Speaker.
  I am maintaining that there is no balanced budget in 7 years. What 
bothers me is that most journalists, when they report this, and when I 
say most journalists I am talking across the board up to and including 
public radio and public television, all of the networks, they simply 
report what is said and then what the reaction to that is as if they 
were covering a tennis match from one side to the other. Nobody asked 
the basic question of the Speaker of the House, who has, despite his 
indications that he was going to take a more reticent position, to step 
back; I think he said he was going to bench himself.
  In the last 2 days the Speaker has come forward with threats about 
crashing the stock market, driving interest rates through the roof, 
demanding that his plan for a balanced budget be the basis of the 
budget reconciliation bill.
  Mr. Speaker, I submit to you and to my other colleagues, and I have 
offered again and again during special orders the opportunity to other 
Members to come down and refute what I am saying. It is not that I want 
to engage in a contest, because this is far too important for trying to 
score points, but it is a simple question of whether we are in fact, as 
Mark Twain has said that the truth is so rare we ought to be very 
careful in spending it.
  The fact of the matter is that there is no balanced budget proposal 
on the table. There is no balanced budget proposal on the table that is 
being negotiated between Speaker Gingrich and the White House. I say 
Speaker Gingrich; I know there are other negotiators there, but I think 
we all know that nothing is going to move in the House, according to 
the Speaker, in any event today, if I am to understand his declaration 
today correctly, that we have to abide by his proposal for a balanced 
budget in 7 years, or we do not move.
  Now, as I say, all kinds of threats are involved in that. I am a 
legislator all my elected life. Maybe Speaker Gingrich, having only run 
for the Congress of the United States and spent all of his time in the 
Congress of the United States, and for the first time being in the 
majority, has not had the same kind of opportunities or experiences 
that I have had as a legislator.
  I have been a legislator as well as a member of civic organizations 
and community organizations; I have been an officer of them. I have 
been on the city council, I have been in the State House, I have been 
in the State Senate. I do not cite that as any particular virtue, but 
simply as a recitation of the record with respect to legislative 
experience. That experience tells me that you do not get anywhere in 
negotiations by threatening the other side or laying down absolutes to 
them, particularly when there is no basis from your side.
  I am perfectly willing at any time, and I am sure members of the 
Democratic Caucus are and those who are doing the negotiating, up to 
and including the President of the United States and his 
representative, Mr. Panetta, are quite willing to try to come to an 
agreement. This is not a Parliament. This is a constitutional system 
with a division of houses, a legislative and executive branch, and as 
much as the Speaker would like to be Prime Minister of the United 
States, he is not. He is the Speaker of the House. Therefore, if he is 
going to negotiate with the Executive, he is going to have to come to 
the table with some honest numbers.
  He says that that is what it is that he wants to do, but the fact is, 
and I will repeat it again and again and again until some people I hope 
in the media, whom we have to depend upon; and Mr. Speaker, Mr. 
Jefferson said at one point that he would prefer in a democracy as 
opposed to free elections and a free government and a free press, he 
preferred a free press, because the press is what secures our freedom. 
Yet the free press in this particular instance has been remiss and not 
doing 

[[Page H 14168]]
its duty in asking the Speaker, what does he mean when he comes to the 
table and says a balanced budget.
  Mr. Speaker, I contend that there will be at least $1 trillion in 
additional deficit in this so-called balanced budget. Now, if someone 
can come to the floor and refute what I am saying, I probably should 
not use the word refute; again, it sounds like it is a contest, but if 
someone can come and explain how that is not the case, Mr. Speaker, I 
would like very much to hear it.
  Now, this is not merely an observation that I am making. Let me make 
reference to an article in USA Today, Monday, October 23, 1995, by 
William Welch. I called Mr. Welch because I was interested to see that 
there was actually a member of the working press who had gotten into 
this issue.
  Let me explain to you what it is that I am contending, that is to say 
what is behind my contention that the proposal for a balanced budget is 
in fact not a balanced budget. It is a political illusion because 
apparently, or for whatever the political reason, the political agenda, 
I presume it has to do with election politics in 1996, the Speaker 
wants to make the claim that his party has been for a balanced budget. 
What he is really talking about is whether or not the deficit can be 
reduced.
  There is not going to be a balanced budget in this century, I can 
assure you of that. There is not going to be a balanced budget, as the 
average person understands a balanced budget to be, in this century. If 
we adopt some reforms, some genuine budget reforms, as I have mentioned 
previously, like separating our capital spending from our operating 
budget, going to a biennial budget, and other reforms that we might 
take up next year, perhaps then we can move genuinely towards balancing 
the budget while we reduce the deficit. However, in the budget that is 
being proposed by the Speaker and is now the subject of negotiation, he 
is actually increasing the deficit. The deficit is going to increase. I 
can give you the exact numbers.

  For fiscal year 1996, $245.6 billion, and on through 1997 and on up 
to the year 2002. In the year 2002, when we are supposed to have a $10 
billion surplus, we are actually going to have a deficit of $108.4 
billion, according to the budget document that the Committee on the 
Budget has put forward. You need only read on page 3 of the budget 
document that Mr. Kasich and the Committee on the Budget put forward, 
which is sitting on the table down at the White House, and see that 
what I am saying is the case.
  Let me repeat it. We are going to increase the deficit all during 
this time. How then is it possible for us to say that there is going to 
be a balanced budget? How is it possible for the Speaker, although he 
has never been shy, as we know, in going on television and making 
claims of one kind and another, how is it possible for him to say that 
he is going to have a balanced budget? Mr. Speaker, the answer is very 
simple. He is not going to use the off-budget numbers.
  Now, I do not think that the average American is aware of the fact 
that we have two different kinds of budgets here. We have accounting 
games that go on at the Federal Government level. We have figures that 
are on budget and we have figures that are off budget. Now, Mr. Welch's 
article is entitled ``Off-budget Spending Hides Red Ink.'' That is not 
me speaking. This is the editorial judgment of USA Today in terms of 
those who are writing the headlines. ``Off-budget Spending Hides Red 
Ink.''
  Let me quote from it for a little bit. ``Senate Republicans were 
crowing last week,'' I am quoting now from Mr. Welch's article, 
``Senate Republicans were crowing last week after the Congressional 
Budget Office certified that their budget plan would bring the Federal 
books into balance in 7 years. But the Congressional Budget Office has 
another set of figures that GOP leaders are not talking about. It shows 
that under the GOP budget plan, the government will have to borrow at 
least $105 billion in the year 2002, the target year for a balanced 
budget. Only in Washington, to borrow a phrase from opponents of 
government, would a budget dependent on continued borrowing be judged 
in balance.''
  Mr. Speaker, what that means is that Mr. Welch has hit upon the 
secret, the hidden secret of the Republican balanced budget: You take 
money from the Social Security trust fund.
  Now, the fact that it is in the Treasury, the fact that it is 
supposedly sacrosanct in the Treasury allows them the verbal gymnastics 
of being able to say, well, we are not really taking the money. Well, 
of course you are. You are borrowing the money and you have to pay it 
back with interest. You are going to borrow, if you use the figures of 
the original budget resolution, some $636 billion. That was the figure 
in January. I know that because I have a letter here dated October 20, 
1995, from the Congressional Budget Office, and its Director, June 
O'Neill.

                              {time}  2245

  It is addressed to a Member of the U.S. Senate and copies to two 
other Members of the Senate, including the chairman of the Budget 
Committee. ``Dear Senator: Pursuant to section 205(a) of the budget 
resolution for fiscal year 1996, the Congressional Budget Office''--and 
this is the office that is cited by the Speaker as being the source of 
his figures for this budget--``the Congressional Budget Office provided 
the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee on October 18 with a 
projection of the budget deficits or surpluses that would result from 
enactment of the reconciliation legislation submitted to the Budget 
Committee. As specified in section 205(a), the Congressional Budget 
Office provided projections''--this is what is being used for these 
budget figures, Mr. Speaker, projections of the Congressional Budget 
Office, that was insisted upon by the Speaker.
  Ms. O'Neill then has a parenthesis, ``using the economic and 
technical assumptions underlying the budget resolution and assuming the 
level of discretionary spending specified in that resolution,'' end of 
parenthesis, ``of the deficit or surplus of the total budget, that is, 
the deficit or surplus resulting from all budgetary transactions of the 
Federal Government, including Social Security and Postal Service 
spending and receipts that are designated as off-budget transactions.'' 
Now, Mr. Speaker, maybe you can get away with this in your household. I 
doubt it. I cannot get away with it in my household. So far as I know, 
there is not an American family that can get away with having off-
budget transactions.
  Those who do off-budget transactions find themselves in the courts. 
They find themselves under felony indictment for fraud. They find 
themselves in situations in which they are accused of kiting checks. 
They find themselves in a situation in which they have written checks 
from accounts in which there are insufficient funds, or they find 
themselves under the racketeering statutes under indictment in court. 
But for purposes of accounting, for political purposes, the Republican 
budget says, ``Oh, we're going to count this off-budget transaction.''
  Now what is off-budget? All the money that comes out of your paycheck 
for Social Security that you are paying in right now is being, as was 
described by one of the Senators who very unfortunately passed away, as 
embezzlement from the Social Security system.
  I go on, again quoting from Director O'Neill's letter of October 20 
from the Congressional Budget Office: ``As stated to Chairman Domenici, 
the Congressional Budget Office projected that there will be a total-
budget surplus of $10 billion in 2002.'' But the next sentence says, 
``Excluding an estimated off-budget surplus of $115 billion in 2002 
from the calculation, the Congressional Budget Office would project an 
on-budget deficit of $105 billion in 2002. If you wish further details 
on this projection, we will be pleased to provide them.''
  Now, Mr. Speaker, we both know that there is a new set of figures 
that are going to come from the Congressional Budget Office. They were 
supposed to arrive this week. They did not arrive. That is why the 
budget negotiations are stalled. We are going to get a new series of 
numbers.
  So when I give you the number $636 billion, that is based on what 
took place from the Congressional Budget Office estimates in January 
1995. They have a new set of projections in August of 1995, different 
numbers, and I expect they will have different numbers again. 

[[Page H 14169]]
But whatever the numbers are, it is the process that counts.

  Here I have a letter from the Congressional Budget Office. This is 
the office that Mr. Gingrich says he wants to rely upon for the figures 
for his balanced budget proposal, and here you have the director of the 
office, in a letter written on Congressional Budget Office stationery 
on October 20 of this year, saying that, and I quote, ``Excluding an 
estimated off-budget surplus of $115 billion in 2002,'' parentheses, in 
the Social Security trust fund, ``from the calculation, the 
Congressional Budget Office would project an on-budget deficit of $105 
billion in the year 2002.''
  Mr. Speaker, there is no way that you can continue to have budget 
deficits year after year after year, take money from Social Security, 
the principal and interest of which is due to the Social Security trust 
fund, and then not find that you have actually increased the deficit 
rather than balancing the budget, and increased it by a sum in excess 
of $1 trillion by 2002.
  When you have done that, you have not begun to deal with the question 
of what happens after 2002. Is the Government of the United States 
going to stop in 2002? When you have this magic number of 7 years 
associated with the balanced budget, are people in this country under 
the impression that suddenly in the year 2002 we are not going to owe 
any money? And that which we have borrowed up until 2002 somehow will 
be paid in 2003 and beyond by some plan which has not yet been 
enunciated?
  Has any journalist asked the Speaker, what do you plan to do in 2003? 
And what do you plan to do in 2014, 2015, 2020 and 2030, when the money 
you have taken from Social Security is due to those who are then 
eligible for it? Where is the money going to come from?
  Mr. Speaker, I am down on this floor, I am in the special order, it 
is late at night here in the East. As you go across the country, it is 
a little bit earlier. I know people are tuned into the Government. I 
hope some people are listening tonight.
  I hope somebody out there understands that the Government is going to 
go on beyond the year 2002, and that unless you want the immediate 
political benefit of being able to claim that you are balancing the 
budget when in fact you are increasing the deficit, increasing it at a 
rate that is unconscionable, there is no cold war.
  The deficit increased by trillions of dollars at the time of 
President Reagan and through President Bush's administration, in which 
at least the argument was made that we had a foe that we had to fight 
and so it was necessary to borrow this money. There was some discussion 
that if we ran deficits and cut taxes that more revenue would come in. 
That did not happen, but at lest there was a rationale for it.
  So history now tells us that when you increase spending, when you cut 
taxes for the wealthy, when your revenues go down, that your deficit is 
going to increase. It is going to increase. And this does not change 
anything. It not only does not change it but it exacerbates the 
situation.
  Notice again I am down here talking, I know there are other people 
that are out there that are familiar with the budget. I certainly do 
not pretend to be an all-around expert on the budget, but I tell you, 
Mr. Speaker, I have not been elected for more than two decades by being 
slow on my feet and not doing my homework.
  I know that the budget is not going to be balanced. I know that the 
funds to offset the deficit are coming out of the Social Security trust 
fund, and I know that there is not a word in that budget reconciliation 
bill that proposes one single dollar of how that deficit is supposed to 
be made up, and how the money being borrowed from Social Security is 
going to be repaid so that the recipients who are due that money are 
going to be able to get it in the next century.

  It is right here from the Congressional Budget Office.
  Now, if people in this country want to have on-budgets and off-
budgets, I suppose that we can do that. But do not tell me that is an 
honest number.
  Mr. Speaker, I have been in the minority of the majority before. When 
I served in the majority, in my legislature or in the council or now in 
the House of Representatives, I have been in the majority and I have 
been in the minority, I have won elections, I have lost elections.
  I have been a minority in the majority as I have said, but I will 
tell you this, I have never in my life, and I have served on ways and 
means committees and I have served as chairman of subject matter 
committees. So I understand what it is when you are told that you have 
a cap, when you have a certain amount of money that you have to spend 
and you have to make tough decisions. I have made thousands and 
thousands of those decisions, as has every other legislator who has 
spent any time thinking about what their legislative duty is.
  And I know that when somebody tells me that there is something off-
budget that can be counted, it amounts to what at the State level, Mr. 
Speaker, or at the county level, at the village level or town level, 
would be a special fund.
  Now we special fund all kinds of things in the State of Hawaii, and I 
expect you do it in your State and everybody else does. Maybe it is the 
airport fund, where the fees that come in for the airport, landing fees 
and so on, are put into a special fund and you know that the money that 
comes in is going to be spent for airport activities, or highway 
transportation fund. People pay taxes on the gasoline that they buy and 
they know that the money that comes in from that the surplus, if you 
will, from those funds are going to be spent on highway projects.
  Well, the Social Security trust fund is supposed to be for Social 
Security. It is not there as a piggy bank to be looted at will with an 
IOU in it that says, ``I'll pay you back at some time in the future. 
Catch me on that when you can.'' But that is what this proposal does.
  Mr. Welch has caught it. Let me go on with some more of his article.
  ``In figuring the Federal budget deficit, Congress does not count the 
government's spending from certain trust funds, principally from the 
fund for Social Security benefits. By law,'' Still quoting from Mr. 
Welch, ``Congress has placed the Social Security trust fund off-
budget,'' Quote, unquote.
  ``The surplus, the amount left after Social Security payroll taxes 
are used to pay benefits to current beneficiaries, is invested in 
Treasury securities. That money, in turn, flows into the federal 
treasury and is spent on everything from congressional salaries to fuel 
for battleships.''
  In other words, we have borrowed against ourselves. We have borrowed 
our own money. When you borrow the money, you have to pay it back. It 
is not a paper transaction. It is real money we are talking about here. 
It is money that has to be paid back.
  I have asked my Republican colleagues again and again about this, and 
about the only answer I get is, other Democratic Presidents have done 
this, Democratic Congresses have done the same thing.

  I am not the one who came here saying, oh, it is not going to be 
business as usual, we are going to change the way everything is done 
around here, we are going to change the Government, we are going to do 
things the right way, we are going to be honest with our numbers. The 
Speaker says that over and over and over again.
  When you used off-budget numbers before, off-budget funding before 
for other things, it was to fund the budget for that year. Nobody was 
kidding themselves that they were balancing the budget. If anything, 
what we tried to do--and we started with President Clinton's budget, 
the first budget, I would remind the Speaker, since Harry Truman in 
1948 that in consecutive years reduced the absolute amount of the 
deficit and the rate of the deficit.
  Mr. Clinton's budget did not get rid of the deficit but it started us 
on the path. I think that the Committee on the Budget and others always 
use the words glide path. This has become the new catch word. A glide 
path. The glide path does not start with this budget--I do not want to 
characterize it as phony, the way the Speaker uses the word phony all 
the time, because that is pejorative. I am not going to say that. But 
what I will say is that illusionary budget, the illusion of this so-
called balanced budget is such that you do not have the glide path that 
President Clinton started sustained.
  President Clinton's budget has reduced the deficit and reduced the 
rate 

[[Page H 14170]]
of the deficit and has done so far 3 years running.
  You cannot take it all out or the economy would collapse. This is the 
same kind of thing, no different than when you are trying to pay your 
mortgage and buy a car and get the washing machine. You figure out how 
much money is coming in, you figure out how much you can spend a month 
or over the year, and that is how you balance your budget.
  It is your ability to pay, and that has to be judged against your 
gross income, your expected revenues. That is what banks do when they 
loan you money for a house. They are betting that you will be able to 
sustain your payments on the mortgage for whatever the period of time 
is for that mortgage.
  Now, this is what people understand to be a balanced budget. But does 
anybody presume that they do not have to pay the mortgage? That when 
they borrow the money they do not have to pay it back or they just pay 
a portion of it back, that thee is no plan, that there is no 
obligation?
  We are mortgaging the Social Security trust fund so that the Speaker 
can say he is balancing the budget. I do not know if you will be here 7 
years from now. I do not know if he is going to be here next year, 
unless we do change the system of government here to the prime minister 
or parliamentary system he seems to admire so much. I think he is 
subject to election just like I am and just like you are, Mr. Speaker.
  We talk about 7 years as if we can commit the next Congress to this 7 
years. We cannot commit the next Congress. We cannot even commit this 
Congress next year to what the budget allocations are going to be.
  And there will be two Presidential elections before this 7 years is 
up. We have no idea whether President Clinton or anyone who might 
succeed him will have the same desires, the same plans, the same 
proposals.

                              {time}  2300

  But even if we grant this 7-year process and do our level best in a 
manner of good faith and goodwill to try to implement it, the fact 
still remains the question has not been answered about what do you do 
with the mortgage on Social Security. And unless we can answer the 
question that is inherent is Mr. Welch's article, it cannot be done.
  Now Mr. Welch is not the only one who has brought this up. Mr. Lars-
Erik Nelson, in the New York Daily News, October 20, scarcely a little 
over a month ago, let me quote him from the article entitled 
``Borrowing from Social Security to Aid the Rich,'' Lars-Erik Nelson, 
``See that social security deduction on your paycheck? It is the key to 
the Republican plan to `balance' the Federal budget while giving tax 
cuts to the wealthy.'' That is not me saying it. That is Mr. Nelson's 
observation from reading the budget.
  Again quoting, ``In 2002, the year Republicans have been promising a 
balanced budget, they will, in fact, come up $108,000 billion short. 
According to the House Budget Committee's report.'' Now there, Mr. 
Speaker, I submit to you is a third party, not me, not someone with a 
partisan political agenda, someone else coming up with the exact same 
figures that I just gave you from the budget.
  Again quoting, ``The Republican plan makes up the different by 
borrowing, the late Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania called it 
embezzling, from the social security trust fund.''
  Going on, ``The Republican plan continues the embezzlement in pure 
accounting terms. The Republicans are right, if the amount of money the 
government collects in a given year equals the amount that it pays out, 
the budget is in balance. But borrowing from the trust fund to cover 
current operating costs means raising taxes on the next generation, our 
children, to pay back the debt to the trust fund.''
  I will say one thing on this, Mr. Speaker, and I hope it does not 
sound pejorative because I try to keep comity on the floor. I like to 
have good relations with all my friends and colleagues here, despite 
whatever differences we might have. I am getting a little sick of 
hearing people talk with crocodile tears about their children and their 
grandchildren and how the balanced budget proposal is on behalf of 
their children and their grandchildren. I would like those people to 
explain, not to me, but explain to the American people and explain to 
those children and grandchildren how they are taking care of those kids 
by upping the ante on what they have to pay for what their mothers and 
fathers borrowed without paying it back.
  Let me read it to you again: ``The Republican plan continues the 
embezzlement. In pure accounting terms, the Republicans are probably 
right.'' In pure accounting terms, parenthetically, in pure accounting 
terms, that is what the Republican Party always wants to do. The old 
saying is the Democrat borrow, Republicans collect interest. Hah, hah, 
where this balanced budget is concerned, let me tell you, that will be 
true with a vengeance.
  Reading again from Mr. Nelson, ``If the amount of money the 
government collects in a given year equals the amount that it pays out, 
the budget is in balance. But,'' and there is always the ``but,'' ``But 
borrowing from the trust fund to cover current operating costs means 
raising taxes on the next generation, our children, to pay back the 
debt to the trust fund.''
  I have yet, Mr. Speaker, despite my best efforts, and as I say, I 
believe I am open and available to anybody on either side of the aisle 
on this, I have asked again and again of my friends with whom I 
have had discussions of varying lengths about this issue, how do you 
propose to pay back the money to the Social Security fund? Nobody that 
I speak to, by the way, Mr. Speaker, on this issue denies to me that 
this is what is going to happen, that this is how the budget ostensibly 
is being balanced.

  Now I will repeat, I could not get away with this in my family. I 
could not get away with it. I do not know of a Member here that can get 
away with it in their own family budgeting. It cannot be done. We 
propose to do it and get away with it. The press is letting this slide. 
This is almost the only way we have to try and get this out is to take 
advantage of the fact that we have our special orders and hope that 
somebody in the press, like Mr. Nelson, like Mr. Welch, will pick up on 
it and begin to explain to people from the Fourth Estate, from the 
press, from someone who is not directly involved in the political 
process, from partisan views, partisan viewpoints, begin to explain to 
people what exactly is happening.
  In addition, quoting again from Mr. Nelson, ``In addition, using 
Social Security deductions to balance the budget means that working 
people who cannot escape that FICA deduction,'' that is what is called 
the FICA deduction, that is your social security deduction, who cannot 
not escape that deduction on their paychecks make up the shortfall 
caused by tax breaks for the wealthy and for business. Mr. Nelson 
quotes internally, ``It is the largest transfer of wealth from labor to 
capital in our history,'' Senator Daniel Moynihan, Democrat, New York, 
said yesterday. We are using a 15 percent payroll tax, the combined 
burden on employer and employee, to pay the interest on Treasury bonds, 
which are generally not owned by blue-collar workers.
  It is the working people. So when people say is there a difference in 
the parties, I say there is.
  Mr. Speaker, I respect the position you have and other Members of the 
majority have. You are freely elected by your constituents. But I 
believe I also have the right and the obligation to point out, I 
believe, the position we are taking as Democrats is to defend the 
working people of this country and to defend their interests against 
great wealth. Great wealth can always take care of itself. Great wealth 
can take these bonds and get this interest.
  What I ask, Mr. Speaker, is that these points be taken into account, 
and I hope that we will find ourselves dealing honestly with this 
budget. You will find in days to come, Mr. Speaker, that the plan that 
the President is putting forward, that is to say, the proposal, the 
elements of the proposal are going to be those that will be recognized 
by the American people as the basis for a fair conclusion to this 
budget debate.
  Mark my words, the Speaker of the House will not be able to say, ``Do 
it my way or no way at all.'' He will not be able to continue this, it 
is hard to characterize because I have never seen a legislative 
situation like this in my life in which the leader of a legislative 
institution sets an immutable standard 

[[Page H 14171]]
against which no one can dissent and that there is no room for 
discussion. I have never experienced that before, because you cannot do 
legislation that way.
  So what the President is saying is that the agreement that was 
reached, and I think this is very, very important, the agreement that 
was reached on the balanced budget over the 7-year period, and, by the 
way, Mr. Speaker, parenthetically, this is closer to 8 or 9 years 
because we are halfway through this spending, not halfway through but 
by the time we get this budget reconciliation finished we will be 
halfway through the year.
  So I submit to you, as I bring my remarks to a close, Mr. Speaker, my 
point would be this, that the proposal that the President has put 
forward is, and he is acting in good faith on that proposal because 
that proposal said that we would try to deal with 7 years, and as I 
indicated, it will be 8 years or longer, in effect, because we are 
already months into the fiscal year without an agreement, in the 1996 
fiscal year without an agreement, and using the Congressional Budget 
Office figures or whatever they turn out to be, these are all 
guesstimates, and as I have already indicated, the Congressional Budget 
Office, at least when you ask them the right question, does not give 
you an answer which is not true; they have indicated that we are going 
off budget to balance this so-called budget, going into the Social 
Security funds.
  It says we have to protect Medicare. We have to protect Medicaid. We 
have to protect our children. We have to protect those who grow our 
food.
  Now, minus protecting these elements, Mr. Speaker, our health, the 
health of our people, the health of our elderly, the welfare of our 
elderly, the health and welfare of our children, education, nutrition, 
and those who grow our food, agriculture, and unless we protect those 
things, we are not going to have this balanced budget despite anybody's 
best effort at it.
  So I submit to you that the President is acting in good faith. The 
President has a proposal on the table. The President understands 
negotiations. He has been a Governor. He has worked with legislatures 
before. He understands the executive-legislative relationship and the 
Governor, that is to say, Governor Clinton, who is now President 
Clinton, will be prepared, along with members of the Democratic Party, 
to take our proposal to protect people while at the same time reducing 
the deficit and try to structure from that a compromise which will lead 
to eventually a balanced budget.
  I have no objection to the phrase. I have an objection to the 
illusion that it is going to be implemented in 7 years.
  So I want to conclude, Mr. Speaker, at this stage by saying once 
again that I will be on this floor up to and through the time of the 
conclusion of the budget negotiations so that at least there will be 
one voice on this floor and speaking out from this body, someone like 
my colleagues who are sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of 
the United States, taking as that obligation to speak the truth on the 
budget, something which is as fundamental as anything that there is 
that we do. All money measures come from the House of Representatives. 
We are the people's House, elected by the people. It is our 
responsibility and obligation to say that we are working with an honest 
budget, with honest numbers, and that if we are not and there is a 
continuation of this proposition that somehow the budget is being 
balanced by mortgaging the Social Security trust fund, that I speak out 
against it, and others speak out against it.
  So I believe, by the time these negotiations are concluded, President 
Clinton will have put forward a series of proposals based on the 
proposition that there is give and take in every legislative activity 
and that if the Speaker is refusing to negotiate by simply setting down 
an immutable standard from which he will not deviate, that the American 
people will make their judgment known on election day in 1996 as to the 
efficacy of the Speaker's policy.
  I believe that if we deal with the situation honestly, we can bring 
the deficit down, that eventually the budget can be brought into 
balance, we can salvage the Social Security trust fund rather than 
ravage that trust fund, and see to it that Medicare and Medicaid, the 
welfare of our children and the people who grow our food are protected 
and that we have a budget that we can honestly put forward to the 
American people as being in their best interests.

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