(House of Representatives - July 20, 2011)

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[Pages H5270-H5276]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []

                              {time}  1550
                         ISSUES FACING AMERICA

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under the Speaker's announced policy of 
January 5, 2011, the gentlewoman from North Carolina (Mrs. Ellmers) is 
recognized for 60 minutes as the designee of the majority leader.
  Mrs. ELLMERS. Mr. Speaker, today we have a wonderful group of women 
who are going to come together and discuss the issues at hand right now 
in Washington and across America as we all are so concerned with what 
is happening to our economy.
  Some of you out there are up late at night wondering how you are 
going to be paying that mortgage, wondering how the car payment is 
going to be made and which payments you'll make this month and which 
payments you may have to put off for another time. We're all doing it. 
We might as well all admit it. And it's time to come together for 
solutions and answers.
  We, as GOP women in Congress, know how important these issues are. We 
are the women that are taking care of our children. We're taking care 
of our households. We're taking care of our parents and their health 
care needs, and we're watching out for our neighbors to make sure that 
they're okay.
  And we continue on this path. We simply cannot run on this path of 
unsustainable spending and financial uncertainty. We need jobs back in 
this country. There are those who have jobs and are worried if they're 
going to be able to keep them. And yet there are others who have lost 
their jobs and wonder if they'll be able to find another job. We 
understand this. We understand that it's affecting all of our 
households, and we're going to come together and discuss these very 
important issues.
  Before we get started, I'm just going to pass along to you one of the 
greatest quotes that I think hits home to all of us from Ronald Reagan: 
``All great change in America begins at the dinner table.'' How true is 
  Now, in many of our households, we don't all eat dinner together 
anymore like we used to. When I was growing up, dinnertime was a 
specified time and we all came together. And if you didn't get to the 
table, you didn't eat. Today we're all on different schedules, but that 
dinner table still remains. And we still sit there and we discuss these 
issues with our spouses.
  My husband is a doctor. Brent is a surgeon. He practices in Dunn, 
North Carolina. We have a son, Ben, who's 16. I'm worried about his 
future. I'm worried about my husband's practice because he is 
suffering, realizing that the volume of patients he once was seeing has 
decreased. That's out of fear, and that's out of the health care system 
that we have created now.
  So as we move forward, I am going to be introducing to you some of 
the greatest women that I have had the honor of getting to know here in 
D.C. I have many friends back home, but these ladies are my family 
here, and I'm going to start off with my esteemed colleague from North 
Carolina, Ms. Sue Myrick. She has been a mentor to me but mostly a 
  I thank you, Sue, for coming today and sharing your thoughts.
  Mrs. MYRICK. Well, it's my honor to be here. And I thank you for 
yielding me the time.
  As you said, we have a lot of colleagues here, and most of us share 
the same ideas relative to what we're about. You mentioned and are 
talking there about the dinner table and women being financial 
planners. We do the budget. We're the ones that take care of our 
families, as you said. We're the health care providers, all of that.
  You mentioned your husband's in business, but I, also, am a former 
small business owner. And when I look at what's happening today, there 
are so many businesses--I think there are, like, 400 new businesses 
every day that are started by women in this country. And when I talk to 
business owners at home, they say to me: I am really concerned about 
the fact that I could expand my business, but I'm afraid to because of 
the uncertainty that's out there. I don't know what policies are coming 
down. I don't know what kind of health care costs I'm going to have. I 
don't know what tax policies and what, if I hire somebody, it's going 
to cost me to retain that employee. I don't want to go out and hire 
them and train them and then have to turn right around and, you know, 
maybe let them go because I can't afford to keep them.
  So the policies that we're working on--and all of the women in 
Congress on our side of the aisle that really care about these issues--
are to make sure that we put policies in place that help and promote 
those small businesses to exist because they hire most of the people in 
the country. Most of the jobs are provided by small business. And it's 
really important.
  I also, from another standpoint, used to be the mayor of Charlotte. 
Unfortunately, the first and only female mayor. I wish somebody else 
would run on the female side, but that's beside the point.
  What I wanted to say is that we had to operate with a balanced 
budget, very simple. And you can do it. We've been talking this week 
and actually passed a bill yesterday of cut, cap, and balance. I mean, 
what a novel idea. It's the way all of us live all the time. It's how 
we do our business. And there's no reason the Federal Government, like 
the 49 States that balance their budgets, can't be living under a 
balanced budget.
  Yes, it's tough. We have to make some hard decisions. But the bottom 
line in all of that is we can do it. And if we have the resolve and the 
American people want us to do it, there's no such thing as government 
money. It's all the taxpayers who send their money up here to 
Washington. That's what we're spending. And we've been spending too 
much of it.
  So I'm encouraged by the fact that we really did have a vote on that 
bill yesterday that says we're going to live within our means, we're 
going to do what you do every day, and that we, as women, can have a 
voice in that and we'll continue to have a voice in that.
  And I thank you so much for putting this together so that we have a 
chance to express that to the American people.
  Mrs. ELLMERS. Thank you so much.
  I yield now to Ms. Herrera Beutler from Washington. Thank you so much 
for coming today. She is one of my fellow freshmen, and we have gotten 
to be good friends.
  Ms. HERRERA BEUTLER. Thank you so much. It's a pleasure to be here.
  This is one of the most monumental times we face as a Nation. We are 
right now making decisions that are not just going to impact those of 
us here today but our children and our children's children.
  I am so proud to be a part of this body that passed a bipartisan 
solution to our budgeting problems just yesterday. We passed, like the 
gentlelady spoke about, a balanced budget amendment.
  I know there's a lot of controversy happening right now, and it's 
frustrating to watch people posture here in Washington, D.C. Folks back 
home are sending me emails, and they're calling me, saying, Can you 
just get some solutions done, Washington? And you know my what my 
response is? I completely agree.
  It is frustrating to watch partisan bickering taking place. And I 
kind of smile to myself and I think, Just put more women in charge 
because we're going to fight for solutions. And that's what we are here 
doing today, promoting the solutions that we were able to pass on the 
floor just yesterday, solutions that require this House, this body, not 
to spend more money than it has coming in.
  You know, it shouldn't be a radical concept. It shouldn't be 
controversial in the least. Every mother watching

[[Page H5271]]

this, every mother in America, daughter, sister, aunt understands you 
cannot spend more money each month than you have coming in, no.
  Women in the household tend to be the decisionmakers when it comes to 
finances, to health care, to education, to taking care of older parents 
or family. Women tend to be those decisionmakers, which gives us a 
solution-oriented bent, which is why we're here today saying we are 
willing to work with anybody who puts a plan on paper to move this 
country forward, that reduces government overspending.
  Again, very simple, don't spend more than you have coming in every 
month. That is a plan to economic prosperity. Don't treat small 
business owners--many of whom are women--don't treat small business 
owners as your personal piggy bank. You can't just go back to the cash 
cow every time you want to spend more money.
  It's ironic. Margaret Thatcher--in fact, I saw this quote, I think it 
was yesterday, which basically said--I'm going to paraphrase her a 
little loosely. But she said: The problem with socialists is eventually 
they run out of other people's money. And that's the reality. Women 
understand, you just can't live beyond your means for sustained amounts 
of time.
  For too long people of both parties--right, Republicans and 
Democrats--overspent. People of both parties in the White House have 
overspent. We can talk a long time about what got us here, but that's 
not going to get us out of the mess. What we need now are our 
solutions. And the solution that was passed yesterday--again, a 
bipartisan solution to cut the overspending, cap future growth of 
government, and balance our budget--is a solution that's going to get 
our country on a path to prosperity. It's going to tell job creators, 
keep doing what you do best; entrepreneurs, keep dreaming, hire more 

                              {time}  1600

  In my neck of the woods in southwest Washington, we have double-digit 
unemployment. Three years plus now of families hurting. Enough is 
  I encourage the Senate, I encourage the White House to come to an 
agreement, show us something on paper. We're willing to work together 
and to negotiate. We're all about making a solution happen for the 
American people. But let's live within our means. It shouldn't be that 
  With that, I thank the gentlelady for putting this together, and I'm 
proud to be a part of it.
  Mrs. ELLMERS. Thank you so much.
  I yield now to my very good friend from Alabama (Mrs. Roby), who is 
the mother of two, and she is wise beyond her years.
  Mrs. ROBY. I thank you very much for those kind remarks, and, again, 
what an honor and a privilege to be here on the floor of the U.S. House 
of Representatives representing Alabama's Second District, but also 
here just to embrace the very quote that you began with: All great 
change in America begins at the dinner table, from President Ronald 
  As I sit here, and I've been listening to my colleagues, I can't help 
but reflect back on my time as a child around the dinner table with my 
parents and my siblings. I am so grateful for the parents that I have 
that encouraged debate, yet taught me the responsibility that I have as 
an American and as an individual. Certainly I credit my wonderful 
parents for the opportunities that I've had to lead me to this place 
today to have the privilege and honor of representing Alabama's Second 
  This week, this Congress is embarking on a historical path. We all 
understand the responsibility that we have, and each of us brings to 
the table a unique sense. As women, as those who pump gas and go to the 
grocery store and see the rising costs of milk, we bring a perspective 
to this Congress that I think is vitally important to demonstrate 
exactly where this country is now. The people that are having to make 
the choice between whether they're putting food on their table or gas 
in their car so that they can get to their job to provide for their 
family. So again, thank you for letting me be a part of this.
  All of us that are here on the floor today, since the day we walked 
in, particularly this past January, we have been fighting to tighten 
the government's belt. Every American has done so in the past several 
years, and it's time that this Federal Government did the same. We did 
it with the continuing resolution. We did it with the House budget 
resolution, and we've been doing it throughout the appropriations 
process, and we have done it this week.

  Our children, my children, my children's children, they deserve a 
future free of crushing taxes so that they have the same opportunity 
that I mentioned that I had before. They deserve to be free from a life 
of indebtedness to China.
  The Cut, Cap, and Balance Act ensures that we fulfill our 
constitutional obligation to pay our debts. We're at a place right now, 
you and I could never call up our credit card company and say, hey, 
credit card company I've maxed out my card. I don't have any cash to 
pay you the interest on what I already owe, so could you just increase 
my credit limit? Can you imagine? Can you imagine going to your husband 
and saying, I maxed out, but I need a little bit more so I'm just going 
to call the credit card company. That's exactly what's going on here. 
And if we don't insist, just like you and I would in our home, just 
like our spouses would, just like we would for our children, if we do 
not insist that there are significant spending reforms where we cut up 
that credit card and say no more--your child wouldn't change his or her 
behavior if you just continued to give them more; nor would you change 
your behavior if your credit card company allowed that kind of action. 
We should require the same of our Federal Government as we do in our 
  It is so urgent that we provide the American people with honest, 
honest solutions, and I believe that we have demonstrated that this 
week. I look forward to the next coming weeks as we can do all that we 
can, as Republican women, to help turn this tide of spending in this 
country so that we can save this country for the next generation. It 
cannot be about the next election. It must be about the next 
  Mrs. ELLMERS. I would now like to yield to my very, very special 
friend, Mrs. Biggert from Illinois, who has been a voice of reason. She 
is a strong woman here in Congress for us in the GOP conference, and I 
appreciate all of her remarks, which are always extremely thoughtful.
  Mrs. BIGGERT. Thank you, and I thank you for doing this.
  I think that we've got such great women that have come into this 
Congress in this last term and are really, you are all moving forward 
and really, I think, setting the tone for what's going to happen in the 
future, and I appreciate that.
  But, you know, it is time for America to live within its means. I got 
an email from a constituent from Lockport, Illinois recently, and she 
wrote to me imploring Congress to say no, no to all personal income tax 
increases. And she further explains that she's a single mom. Just think 
of how many single moms are out there having to work to keep their kids 
clothed and in school and keep her home going.
  She said that she is a single mom, struggling to keep her home, raise 
her son, and pay her bills. She says, I cannot pay any more taxes. I 
will lose everything. There are so many like that out there.
  A gentleman from Downers Grove, Illinois, wrote to me and said, it's 
sad to see the constant disagreement in Washington over almost all 
issues, including national security, foreign affairs, et cetera. But 
the budget must be controlled. This is the hard-earned money of 
American taxpayers that must be spent wisely. Less is better.
  We must live on budgets and not be able to borrow whenever we run out 
of money, as the gentlelady just said. We don't have a credit card. 
Most people don't have the credit card that they can go and get their 
limit raised. Neither should we. We have to cut taxes and stop 
spending. So let's get people back to work so that this country can 
prosper and be great again.
  For too long the government spent the taxpayers into a debt that they 
can not afford. And despite trillions in the so-called stimulus, the 
economy has grown only weaker as a result.
  So consider these troubling statistics. Our tax burden is approaching 

[[Page H5272]]

highest levels in our country's history and is expected to rise. Unless 
we take action now, it could exceed 20 percent of GDP in just 3 years, 
a record we've only seen once in 35 years.
  Similarly, household taxes are excessively high. Even in the slow 
economy, at over $18,000 last year, the average household tax burden 
has almost doubled in the last 50 years. What's worse is that the 
interest on our debt for 1 year is equal to the entire budgets of the 
Departments of Labor, Agriculture, and Veterans Affairs combined.
  In individual terms, it means that each American's share of our debt 
is over $46,000. When I think of my family and future generations, this 
means that my nine grandchildren would collectively owe over $414,000 
if they had to pay their share of our debt today. Before my youngest 
grandson graduates from college, he would owe $103,000 on our national 
debt. This is unacceptable. And that's why we took this first step to 
address the crisis yesterday by passing the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act. 
And our colleagues across the aisle would argue that this plan goes too 
far by restricting future borrowing. But the reality is that this bill 
simply caps spending at the same sustainable rates as past generations, 
about 20 percent of GDP, a post World War II average. No more and no 
  Don't we care as much about our children and grandchildren as our 
parents did? I do, and so do the people who sent us here to Congress. 
So we need to show our creditors, our competitors, and the American 
people that we are willing to make the tough choices needed to restore 
confidence and growth in the United States.
  I'm so proud of all the women that are participating in this and are 
really making a difference and showing that we can move forward and 
balance our budget and live within our means like families across 
  I thank you for leading this effort.

                              {time}  1610

  Mrs. ELLMERS. Thank you.
  And to your point, I would just like to refer to this chart right 
here. As you can see, we have two individuals who are talking about how 
they're going to pay those taxes, and that checkbook right there, with 
obviously a nice lady's hand filling out that check. We don't know what 
it's for, but we all know that feeling. And this actually ran in The 
Chicago Tribune May 6, 2011. It says, ``Financial planners say they are 
seeing more women becoming the sole decisionmakers when it comes to the 
family's finances,'' as you were speaking. ``More and more women are 
taking on the role of their family's chief financial officer; they set 
the budget, pay the bills, make the grocery list, and can tell you how 
much it truly costs to run the family.'' And I believe that the 
American people, as you do, should be able to know how much it costs to 
run the country, and we should stick to that budget as well.
  Thank you so much for your comments.
  I would now like to yield to my good friend who, the last time we had 
a Special Order, I just literally watched her because she is a numbers 
person, and I am always so impressed by that because I am not a numbers 
person. So thank you to the gentlelady from Kansas. She is, again, just 
so incredibly smart, and I thank you, Lynn Jenkins, for coming today to 
help us with this effort.
  Ms. JENKINS. I thank the gentlelady from North Carolina for yielding.
  I am Lynn Jenkins from the Second Congressional District of Kansas, a 
proud Republican woman, a mother of two, and a CPA with nearly 20 years 
of experience helping small businesses, major corporations, and 
American families budget and return to solvency.
  You see a family up there in the picture. I have spent nearly two 
decades working with families across the dinner table to help them 
chart their way back to prosperity and fiscal responsibility, and I can 
tell you that if you want to be serious about balancing your budget and 
returning to solvency, you have to look at both sides of the ledger; 
you have to look at what you're taking in and what you're spending, and 
you have to look at your assets and your liabilities.
  When it comes to spending and liabilities, it seems that in this town 
there is some consensus that Washington does indeed have a spending 
problem. The time to rein in this out-of-control wasteful Washington 
spending and debt is long overdue. That is why the House has passed a 
responsible, fact-based budget that will curb Federal spending by more 
than $6 trillion over the next 10 years, and why just yesterday we 
passed a measure to again cut spending by trillions of dollars and cap 
any future spending as part of a deal to grant the President his 
request to raise the debt ceiling.
  But it is our assets that make our country truly blessed because our 
greatest asset is the strength, the drive, and the ingenuity of the 
American worker and the American business owner. That is why we need to 
enhance this asset and therefore increase our revenues in a way that 
grows the economy. And it is not to hit our small businesses with tax 
increases or more regulation, but rather to institute these pro-growth 
policies like House Republicans are doing in our efforts to reform the 
Tax Code to make it fairer and flatter, to increase exports by finally 
passing the three pending trade agreements, increase our energy 
production, and remove the burdensome regulations that are stifling 
growth and hiring.
  You simply can't tax your way out of this mess and into a robust 
economy; you have to grow your way out of it. You don't have to take my 
word for it. The President himself agreed with me just last year when 
he said raising taxes would ``just take more demand out of the economy 
and put businesses in a further hole.''
  Balancing our budget is critical to our future, just as it is 
critical to every business and family across this great country. So 
it's my hope that the establishment here in Washington can finally see 
the error of its ways, make real cuts to this out-of-control spending 
binge, put hard caps on the attempts to increase spending in the 
future, and establish some pro-growth policies that will lift us out of 
this stagnant economy and into the prosperity the American people 
  Mrs. ELLMERS. Thank you very much.
  I now yield to my good friend from South Dakota, part of our freshman 
leadership, part of our freshman class who has truly shown her 
leadership. Thank you for coming today, Mrs. Noem. I am very excited to 
hear your comments.
  Mrs. NOEM. Thank you, and I thank the gentlelady for yielding to me 
today. I certainly appreciate it.
  Mr. Speaker, I rise today not only as a proud Republican woman as 
well, as my good colleague from Kansas said, but also as a wife and as 
a mother and as an American concerned about Washington, D.C.'s spending 
  We not only need a solution to dig ourselves out of the situation 
that we are in, but we need to make sure that we don't find ourselves 
back in the same place. We need to make sure that we are putting us on 
a new fiscal path that certainly addresses the problems that we have in 
front of us. The frustrating thing about that entire process is that 
this President has been on the sidelines. Certainly we all know the 
Biblical phrase that ``without a vision the people perish,'' and that 
is truly what is happening to America today--that we don't have a 
leader who has been willing to step forward and give us a plan to tell 
us what he truly thinks are the options that are available to us. 
Instead, that has been left to others to lead, and he has been more 
than willing to stand on the sidelines and to criticize every single 
one of those options that have been brought forward. In fact, his 
original budget, which was proposed in February of this year, failed to 
even address our most difficult problems.
  The Democrat-led Senate voted down his budget unanimously. No one 
jumped onboard because they recognized that, under his plan, that we 
doubled our debt in 5 years and tripled it in 10. It certainly wasn't 
going to be the answer to what we needed to prevent this most 
predictable financial crisis that we find ourselves in.

  Since then, the executive branch has failed to provide the American 
people with a solid plan to move forward. During a House Budget 
Committee hearing the CBO director, Douglas Elmendorf, referenced 
President Obama's revised budget speech by saying this: ``We don't 
estimate speeches. We need much more specificity than was provided in

[[Page H5273]]

that speech for us to do our analysis.'' And essentially what he was 
saying was, we can't score a speech, we don't know what a speech means. 
Anybody can give a really great speech; what we need is leadership. We 
need someone to step up to the table and tell us what we need to do to 
address our problems so that we can put it into action.
  House Republicans have taken this lead in the looming budget crisis. 
We have shown time and time again that we are serious about cutting our 
spending, we're serious about balancing our budget. In January, we 
passed H.R. 1, which continued funding through 2011, only to have it 
stalled by the Senate, which in effect essentially delayed any action 
until it got down to the brink of a government shutdown. In March, we 
passed our budget plan for fiscal year 2012. We are still waiting--more 
than 800 days--for the Senate to pass anything that resembles a budget. 
We are doing our work here in the House, but we can't do it alone; we 
need a willing partner in the President, and we need a willing partner 
in the Senate.
  Last night, the House again passed yet another plan to get our fiscal 
house in order. We voted overwhelmingly to support Cut, Cap, and 
Balance. I supported this plan because my constituents have been 
calling for weeks telling me to support serious change, serious 
spending cuts, and a balanced budget amendment. They realize they can't 
spend more money than what they have in their households; they want 
their government to have some common sense.
  South Dakota families and businesses understand the need to balance a 
checkbook. Our country, just like our families, can't continue to spend 
more than it makes. Even my 9-year-old son realizes that. Recently, he 
had the chance to come out with me to Washington, D.C., and he wanted 
to spend some time at the Spy Museum, he had been talking about it for 
months. So he did a lot of chores around the ranch to earn some money, 
but when he got there and he got to walking through the gift shop, he 
realized he didn't have enough money to buy everything that he wanted. 
He saw a lot of things he wanted to take home with him, but he didn't 
have the money, so he had to prioritize. He had to pick and choose and 
leave some things there because he simply couldn't afford that. Was he 
disappointed? Absolutely. He was heartbroken. But I tell you what: That 
taught him a life lesson that he will only learn from people that have 
common sense, that understand you cannot spend money that you do not 
have and you have to prioritize and make choices.
  America is out of money. We know this, and President Obama knows 
this. And yes, we do need fundamental tax reform; yes, we need to 
identify our priorities; and yes, we absolutely have to stop spending 
money we don't have. Strong leadership, action, courage, along with 
responsible solutions, are needed from all of us if we want to preserve 
the American dream for our kids and our grandkids.

                              {time}  1620

  As a wife, mother, and a Republican woman, I support a balanced 
budget amendment, smaller government so my kids can grow up with the 
liberties and freedoms and so that they don't have to worry about 
paying the bills that we are continuing to rack up in this country. It 
is time to change our ways.
  I certainly thank the gentlewoman for yielding to me.
  Mrs. ELLMERS. Thank you so much for your comments.
  You know, it's interesting, we all have our stories, our anecdotes 
about our household budgets and what we're dealing with. My son is 16 
years old, and he received his driver's license a couple of months ago. 
But the deal with him is, Ben, you can't get a car until you finish 
that Eagle Scout project. And you're going to have to be responsible to 
pay for the gas that goes in it. Well, there's not a day that goes by 
here in Washington that I don't receive a picture that he texted me of 
the newest truck he's found or the newest Jeep. But there again, he 
understands the deal. The deal is no vehicle until the Eagle Scout 
project is at least under way. I'm yielding on that. I'm negotiating 
with him, but that's the plan.
  Sometimes, as you said, we just can't have everything that we want. 
In a perfect world we could, but we can't because when taxpayer dollars 
are being spent, it's not an endless flow of money coming into 
Washington that is from some unknown source. It's taxpayer dollars that 
we are spending. We have to be good stewards of that. And what better 
way to do that than the Cut, Cap, and Balance plan that we passed here 
in the House yesterday evening.
  It was so incredibly powerful to see those numbers up on the board 
and to think that we could actually put a balanced budget amendment in 
place, which is basically amending the Constitution. This would be a 
historic moment for us, and we will be part of it. And President Obama 
would be the President that puts that forward for future generations. I 
just again am so proud of it. Like I said, when you bring it home, we 
all have to deal with those budgets in our own household. Washington 
should be doing the same.
  I would like to yield now to our vice-chair, the gentlelady from 
Washington, another member of leadership and a voice of understanding, 
reason and leadership for the GOP women, vice-chair of our GOP 
Conference. Mrs. McMorris Rodgers, thank you so much for coming to 
offer your comments.
  Mrs. McMORRIS RODGERS. Thank you very much. I am proud to be here 
this evening to join the Republican women. I want to especially thank 
you as our leader from North Carolina. I am proud that you are one of 
the dynamic Republican women freshmen who joined the House this year.
  As I think about what the solution is that faces America, I believe 
Republican women are a big part of that solution. We see that for all 
of the people in America that are frustrated with leaders in Congress 
who go behind closed doors and strike a deal without putting it to the 
people, Republican women, women are seen as being honest and 
trustworthy and problem-solvers. And Republican women are also seen as 
being fiscally responsible and the ones who, I believe, are a big part 
of the solution. So I am proud to join you all this evening.
  In so many ways we are at a crossroads here in the country. We have 
had record unemployment, over 9 percent for a record amount of time. We 
have also reached a record in our spending. As I think most people in 
the country are aware, the President has asked Congress to raise the 
debt ceiling by $2.4 trillion to get us through November of 2012. That 
is his request. The Republicans believe it is very important that as we 
look at our fiscal situation, that we are not just continuing down the 
current path of raising the debt ceiling, of adding to the credit 
cards, but that we are changing course and cutting up those credit 
  I think it is important for people to realize what that means for 
them and their families. This request would be $20,000 for every 
American family, $20,000 in additional debt for every American family 
across this country. It is very important before we vote to raise that 
debt, add that debt to our families moving forward, that we change 
course. And the real question in my mind is whether or not the 
President recognizes that we cannot continue down this path. When you 
think about our future, economic opportunities, national security 
interests, it is very important that we change paths.
  That's why I am proud of the legislation that passed the House last 
night with an overwhelming majority. We actually got some Democrat 
votes. It is a bipartisan bill that passed the House with 234 votes. 
Now it is over in the Senate. We already know that 37 Senators have 
signed on to support this bill. We want to make sure that America 
realizes that there is a plan on paper that has passed the House and 
does have support in the Senate, and we want to continue to build on 
that support.
  Cut, Cap, and Balance is a reasonable, credible plan to addressing 
where we find ourselves as a country. Yes, it includes cuts in current-
year spending. It includes caps as we move forward so that we are going 
to bring down how much we are spending, and it includes a balanced 
budget amendment. I am a strong supporter of a balanced budget 
  When I was first running for Congress in 2004, I talked a lot about 
the balanced budget amendment. What I didn't appreciate was to what 

[[Page H5274]]

the Federal Government spends money, borrows money, and prints money 
with no limits. I thought there must be some limits. There are no 
limits on the Federal Government's ability to borrow, to spend, and 
print money; and the balanced budget amendment was one that even Thomas 
Jefferson, after they finished writing the Constitution, said: If I can 
make one change, it would be to limit the Federal Government's ability 
to borrow money. It's been a debate through the ages. It is long 
overdue. This is the time. It's about America's future, and I'm proud 
to stand here tonight in support of Cut, Cap, and Balance and the 
balanced budget amendment and getting our fiscal House in order for our 
economy today and for keeping the American Dream alive for many years 
to come.
  Mrs. ELLMERS. Thank you so much.
  I would now like to yield to the gentlelady from West Virginia (Mrs. 
  Mrs. CAPITO. Thank you.
  I would like to thank my colleagues here today for the opportunity to 
talk about something that is extremely important to every woman in 
America, every person in America. It is not really a man or woman 
thing, or a child or a grandparent thing. It is all of us. So I look at 
things a lot of times, like a lot of people, I try to put my own life 
filter over what is going on here.
  I'm in the sandwich generation. I have elderly parents who are having 
bumpy roads with their health. I just today for the very first time had 
my only and most beautiful granddaughter with me today on the House 
floor. I realized poor little Celia has $45,000 worth of national debt 
on her head. And then I think of my parents trying to manage their 
health care and their finances in their senior years: have they 
prepared enough, and did they make the right choices. I think about all 
of the in-between generation, the sandwich generation which I am, and I 
know that we want to make the right choices for ourselves so when our 
children are taking care of us, those decisions can be easier for them 
and we can be well prepared.
  Quite honestly, with a $14 trillion debt, I don't think we're going 
to be prepared. What kind of handcuffs are we putting on our future 
  I think about times in my life when maybe I have gone up to the limit 
on my credit card or maybe things haven't been as--particularly when we 
were younger, trying to buy a house for the first time and trying to 
figure out how we were going to manage the dollars when we were first 
getting started, and when we realized maybe we were going a little over 
the limit or spending too much, was the first thing we thought about, 
was it let's get a loan, let's ask our parents for more money?
  No, the first thing you think about is how are we going to cut back? 
How are we going to save? How are we going to live within our means? 
Because that is the reasonable and rational way. That is the way that 
our parents did it, and that's the way we've tried to do it.
  But that's not the way things go on here in Washington. A lot of 
people say why is it only about cutting spending. Because if we don't 
prove and show we can cut spending at the beginning before we talk 
about anything else, we are never going to do it. I think those are the 
hard decisions. Those are the kitchen-table decisions. All great change 
in America begins at the dinner table. That is a Ronald Reagan quote. 
That is absolutely true. That is why I think the Cut, Cap, and Balance 
bill that we passed yesterday makes so much sense to a lot of American 
women around the kitchen table because that's what they're doing.

                              {time}  1630

  And so I think when we think about it in terms of the balanced 
budget, when I listened to the debate yesterday, I think about my home 
State of West Virginia. We have a balanced budget. We have hundreds of 
millions of dollars in surplus right now because we are not permitted 
by law to spend more than we bring in. And so we had a good year this 
year for a lot of different reasons. But I think some of it is the 
smart budgeting that we did up front as a State--make tough decisions 
as a State to make sure that at the end of the year we're not dipping 
into the rainy day fund, that we're not finding ourselves saying the 
only way we can save ourselves is to raise somebody's taxes. It's 
because the spending decisions that were made in the front end with a 
budget--we have a budget for the first time in, I think, 3 years in the 
  And everybody around their kitchen table makes a budget. If they 
don't make it every year, certainly when they're in trouble they start 
making a budget. You do really simple things like decide not to go out 
to eat, stop your magazine subscriptions. The easy things first and 
then the really hard decisions. That's where we are right now are the 
hard decisions.
  I think as a daughter and as a mother of a daughter and a mother of 
now a granddaughter, I think women make a lot of these decisions. I see 
the generations changing. I see the decisions maybe that my mom made 
were not as involved as the ones that I'm making. And I certainly can 
see that my own daughter, independent, on her own, is going to be so 
much more empowered financially to make decisions. So let's not leave 
her and the next generations holding a big IOU on their back. Let's 
take the opportunity.
  Another question I get is that we've raised the debt ceiling how many 
times in the past--numerous times in the past. I think they were 
quoting 17 times under Ronald Reagan or something like that, if I 
recall correctly. And that is correct. We have raised the debt ceiling. 
I've voted to raise it before. But this is different. We need to seize 
this opportunity. Because if we don't seize the opportunity to clamp 
down on the spending now when the American people realize what an issue 
and what a problem and what a generational burden we're passing on--we 
have the ear of the American people, and that's the difference. That's 
the difference.
  A lot of things in our lives are all about timing. Certainly 
political lives are all about timing. Sometimes you can have the 
greatest candidate in the world, and if it's not the right time, they 
can't make it. And this is the time. This is the time for us to grab 
the reins, to say to the Senate and the President and the American 
people, We're ready, you're ready, and let's join together and do this.
  So I look forward to hopefully Cut, Cap, and Balance making it 
through the Senate. But at least if it doesn't make it in the form we 
pass today, the concepts within this--cutting, capping, and balancing 
our budgets--are everyday events in people's lives. We need to do it 
here. I look forward to joining with all my fellow women Republicans 
we're talking with today, with the rest of the women in the country, 
but also every man, woman, and child in this country, because it's all 
about every American, and we don't want to see an overburden on either 
the older generation, the younger generation, or the generations to 
  Thank you for having us. I look forward to working together.
  Mrs. ELLMERS. Thank you so much.
  I would like to now yield to one of my fellow freshman colleagues who 
I have gotten to be very good friends with. She is an incredible 
individual. She is a great person to be serving with. I truly 
appreciate all of her input, thoughtful comments. We discuss issues 
every day here in Congress.
  I yield to my good friend, Sandy Adams, from Florida.
  Mrs. ADAMS. Thank you.
  I join my fellow Republican women today to come and talk to you about 
what we passed yesterday, Cut, Cap, and Balance. I want to reach out to 
the American people and tell them why. August 2 is quickly approaching, 
and what we have heard from our President is, first, the Biden talks. 
Then it was the ``grand bargain.'' Then it was the McConnell-Reid deal. 
Then it was Gang of Six. Again, all of these are proposals, all of 
these are ideas. Nothing on paper. Nothing to be scored by the 
Congressional Budget Office. Not one thing put down in writing so that 
the American people and, quite frankly, Congress knows what is truly in 
these plans.
  So now, just yesterday, the House Republicans passed Cut, Cap, and 
Balance with bipartisan support. It's the only legislation that has 
been introduced to Congress that actually addresses the debt, the 
deficit, and the ability to get our budget back in order, balancing our 
budget, the only one scored by the Congressional Budget Office. I 
supported that legislation and I

[[Page H5275]]

will continue to support it because it is the only legislation that has 
been brought forth to handle our debt, deficit, and our budget. Not any 
of these other plans that have been floated out there, spoken about, 
talked about, nothing in writing.
  As I heard one of my colleagues say earlier, the Congressional Budget 
Office said, We can't score a speech. And the American people don't 
really know what's in that legislation unless you write it down and let 
them take a look at it. That is so important for the American people. 
They want to know what we are doing. That's why it was so important 
that we had Cut, Cap, and Balance out there. The American people had a 
chance to read it, review it. They've seen what we have done. And I'm 
hearing from the people in my district that they're happy. They're 
happy that we have passed a responsible bill.
  We're facing $14.3 trillion in debt. It's equal to about 95 percent 
of our entire economy. And $3.7 trillion of that was just accrued under 
President Obama's watch. To put that in perspective, it took the United 
States from 1776 to 1992 to accrue that same amount of debt that we've 
accrued in about 2\1/2\ years. We're mortgaging our children's future. 
We're borrowing 40 cents on the dollar, much of it from the Chinese. 
And we are sending the bill to our children and grandchildren. This has 
got to stop.

  If we don't listen to the American people, then shame on us. We have 
heard them loud and clear. We know they want us to get our fiscal house 
in order because every day the American people are making their hard 
decisions on what they're going to buy, whether it's gas, whether it's 
prescription drugs, whether it's food, because everything is going up. 
And the jobs are going away. We have a high unemployment rate. We have 
different credit rating places telling us, Get your fiscal house in 
order or we are going to downgrade you. If that happens, the American 
people are the ones that suffer with us. This affects each and every 
one of us.
  That is why I am proud to have supported Cut, Cap, and Balance. That 
is why we stand here today talking with you, the American people, 
letting you know we heard you. I'm ringing the alarm. My colleagues in 
the House are ringing the alarms. But the Senate Democrats and this 
President don't seem to be listening. We have a problem, and it is not 
a tax problem. It is a spending problem here in Washington. We need to 
get that spending under control.
  Since 1917--I think that's when they first passed this debt ceiling 
legislation, and I think, personally, they passed it with hopes that 
Congress would never spend more than they took in. That's my opinion. I 
wasn't here back then. But I will tell you that year after year, 
Congress has voted to ignore, to move on, to continue the spending 
without addressing the true drivers of our debt. We have to address 
those drivers.
  If Congress isn't willing and the President isn't willing, then the 
American people are willing, and they're saying, Send us the balanced 
budget amendment. Let us show you where we are on this. Forty-nine 
States have a balanced budget requirement and they're able to live 
within their means. We should do no less. The American people live 
within their means, States live within their means, and Congress and 
the Federal Government should do no less.

                              {time}  1640

  Years of kicking the can down the road have come to an end. Reckless 
spending needs to stop. And the Senate's repeated failure to pass a 
budget and do their jobs that has led us to this economic crossroads 
needs to stop.
  I'm asking my colleagues in the Senate, take up this bill, pass this 
bill. Listen to the American people. They want the opportunity to vote 
on a balanced budget amendment. Let them. What are you afraid of? Let 
the American people's voices be heard. Let them vote.
  Americans deserve better, and we have proven that here in the House. 
I hope that our Senate colleagues are listening. I hope our President 
is listening. August 2 is quickly approaching. You do not have a 
scorable plan written down. We need to make sure that we protect our 
American heritage for our future generations.
  Mrs. ELLMERS. I thank the gentlelady.
  I now yield to the gentlelady from Ohio.
  Mrs. SCHMIDT. I thank my good friend Mrs. Ellmers from North Carolina 
for hosting this Special Order this evening because this is about 
America's future and about America doing what each and every woman, 
each and every man, each and every family has to do each and every week 
at their table, and that's balance the budget and pay the bills.
  The greatest President, they say, in the last century was Ronald 
Reagan. And in his farewell speech, he said, ``All great change in 
America begins at the dinner table.'' And it does. It's the universe of 
our home life. It's where we educate our children, where we feed our 
children, where we stake out the ideas on how we want our future to go, 
where we plan parties, where we plan events, and where we discuss 
Grandma's departure. It is the center of our home. And it is from that 
that I want to focus on what I think needs to be said tonight.
  We have to balance our budget in America, in this House, in this 
Chamber, at this kitchen table. We have all seen what it is to take a 
checkbook, take the bills, and make them come together. That's what we 
need to do, and that's what I believe a balanced budget amendment will 
force this Congress and future Congresses to do: balance our checkbook.
  Just like mothers and grandmothers across this country, I have a 
major stake in the future of our Nation, and that is not just my 
daughter and her wonderful husband, but my Michael and my Anthony, my 
wonderful little grandchildren.
  My father was the epitome of the American Dream. He came from 
nothing, but he worked hard and started his business and paid the bills 
of those businesses at their little, small kitchen table. And he grew 
that and gave us the opportunity to make sure that what we wanted to 
accomplish in the United States was available to us. And that's what I 
did for my daughter. And, you know, when she started her little 
business, do you know where she started it? At the kitchen table in the 
house she grew up in. And she's got a thriving little business. But 
she's got two little children, and we want that American Dream for 
  We've got to get our fiscal house in order. We cannot keep creating 
the debts and deficits that we are creating in this country. A balanced 
budget amendment will force us to do the right things for our country 
just as moms and dads across the Nation have to do all the time at 
their kitchen tables; that's live within their means.
  I urge the Senate to take up the balanced budget amendment. I urge 
this Chamber to adopt it, I urge the Senate to adopt it, and to make it 
a reality.
  Mrs. ELLMERS. Thank you so much.
  I now yield to my other--I say ``other'' but we have many--good 
friend from Missouri (Mrs. Hartzler), who is one of those great 
freshmen that I'm serving with.
  Mrs. HARTZLER. Thank you, Renee. We certainly appreciate your hosting 
this today, and I certainly am glad to lend my support for a balanced 
budget amendment.
  It goes back to my childhood. I've shared this before, but I wanted 
to share this again because this is what I grew up with, and I believe 
it's what most Americans grew up with.
  I grew up on a farm, and it was just my mom and my dad and my sister 
and me. And every January my mom would get out all these ledger papers 
and lay them out on the kitchen table. That was before the days of the 
computers. Each page represented a month. And she and my dad would 
spend days, literally, charting out the cash flow for our farm for the 
rest of the year. And they would try to estimate how much the yield was 
going to be on the corn and the soybeans, and they had to guess how 
much the price was going to be, and they researched the cost of the 
seed and the other inputs and the fuel, and they charted that all out, 
and then our mortgage payments.
  They were able to, through working that pencil and erasing and 
reworking it, figure out how they were going to make everything work, 
how they were going to be able to live within their means. It wasn't 
always easy, but as the years went on and conditions changed, Mother 
would get that eraser out and she would readjust that cash

[[Page H5276]]

flow to make sure that we stayed in balance, make sure that we had 
everything that we needed. And that's just common sense. That's 
families balancing their budget.
  I carry on that tradition. I do it, and people all over Missouri's 
Fourth District do it. Families I talk to, they say, Every year we 
balance our budget, how come Washington doesn't? Every small business I 
visit says, We balance our budget, how come Washington doesn't? Every 
farmer and rancher I visit with says, We balance our budget, how come 
Washington doesn't?
  We have got to start taking the common sense from the people and 
apply it here in Washington.
  Even the States, they certainly are one up on us here--49 out of the 
50 States have a balanced budget amendment. They live within their 
  Yet Washington thinks they don't need it. Well, I think they do. With 
a $14.3 trillion debt that we have now, it is evident that people here 
cannot live within their means, and they need to have the constraints 
of a budget.
  So we've passed it here in the House. It was the right thing to do. 
It's supported by the American people. Now the Senate and the President 
need to get on board.
  Why the President would oppose our cut, cap, and balance plan, I have 
no idea. I want the President to share with me and with all of us and 
the American people why he does not support balancing our budget. We do 
it at home. We need to do it in Washington, and we need to do it now.
  Thank you.
  Mrs. ELLMERS. Thank you so much.
  The gentlelady from Texas (Ms. Granger) will be finishing this 
evening's comments.
  She is a good friend to all of us as freshmen, a mentor to us, and I 
thank you for coming this evening as well. It means very much that you 
contribute to this.
  Ms. GRANGER. Thank you very much.
  Mr. Speaker, I want to talk a little bit about my experience 
balancing budgets because I had to manage many different kinds of 
budgets, and some all at the same time.
  As a business owner for 23 years, I had to balance my insurance 
company's budget. As the mayor of Fort Worth, I had to balance the 
city's budget. And as the mother of three, I had to balance the 
household budget.
  What is the same about every budget I have ever balanced is that 
there was never any choice. There were very serious consequences for 
not being fiscally responsible, whether it was in my business, at city 
hall, or at home.
  Most Americans have had the same experience I've had. We all sit 
around the kitchen table and figure out how to make ends meet, and then 
we ask why can't Washington do the same thing?
  Families and businesses have to balance their budgets every single 
day. It's only right that the Federal Government, with $14.3 trillion 
in debt, should finally have to do what all Americans already do. But 
when Washington is asked to balance the budget for the American people, 
this seems to be too tall an order.
  Washington could learn a thing or two from the women in Congress: 
10.6 million businesses owned in the United States are owned by women, 
and women now make up the majority of the workforce. We're the leaders 
of Fortune 500 companies. But as we've taken an even greater 
responsibility, we haven't given anything up. We're balancing budgets 
at our business during the day, and when we get home, we're taking care 
of our families' finances, and many of us care for our aging parents 
and their budgets too.

                              {time}  1650

  We know what it means to make ends meet, and we've lived up to that 
responsibility in every part of our lives. It's now time for Washington 
to do the same.
  Mrs. ELLMERS. Thank you so much.
  My good friend was pointing out the need to be following our finances 
as more and more women are becoming businessowners. They are the 
breadwinners, as you can see from this chart here, once again figuring 
out the bills, balancing the budget, taking care of our family members 
and their health care needs. It's so important.
  In order for us to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars here in 
Washington, it's time for a balanced budget amendment. I am very proud 
of what our House did in a bipartisan effort yesterday, and I'm hoping 
that the Senate and the President will also be part of that very 
significant, historic move so that we can get this country back on 
sound financial ground.
  With that, Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.