Hensarling: “Mr. President, show us your hand, show us your plan.”
WASHINGTON – House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) delivered the following remarks today on the House floor on the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012, a bill Chairman Hensarling authored which would require President Obama to detail his plans for implementing the $1.2 trillion across-the-board defense and discretionary spending cuts required by the Budget Control Act. The bill, sponsored by Chairman Hensarling and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), received overwhelming bipartisan support, passing the House by a vote of 414-2.
“Madam Speaker, we know our nation faces very serious threats overseas, but we also have a very serious domestic threat as well, and that is our national debt—a debt that has increased more in the last three years on a nominal basis than in the previous 200. Thus, the Budget Control Act. Because, as the chairman of the House Budget Committee pointed out, the Super Committee, on which I served, as did the ranking member, did not prove so super, we are staring into the face of a sequester. So I would like to not only compliment the chairman of the House Budget Committee for his leadership for bringing an alternative to this very destructive sequester that still maintains the deficit reduction levels of the Budget Control Act, but I’d also like to compliment the Democrat ranking member for also offering an alternative plan. It is one I disagree with, one that by my reckoning includes 73 percent tax increases, but he should be applauded and House Democrats should be applauded at least for recognizing the draconian defense cuts that could do real damage to our national security. As Secretary Panetta has said, the sequester ‘will do real damage to our security, our troops and their families, and our military’s ability to protect the nation.’ But although I compliment the ranking member, I find it more challenging to compliment the Democrat Senate Majority Leader. Senator Reid has said: ‘I’m not going to back off sequestration.’ That's what he has said. Thus, we are looking at a 10 percent real cut in our national defense.
“Madam Speaker, I also picked up Monday’s edition of the Washington Post, not exactly known as a bastion of conservative thought, and I read the headline: ‘Democrats Threaten to Go over Fiscal Cliff if GOP Fails to Raise Taxes.’ So on the one hand, this is a very simple piece of legislation that I’ve co-authored with the chairman of the House Budget Committee. It simply says, ‘Mr. President, since under sequestration you get to call a lot of the shots’ – according to the Congressional Budget Office: ‘The administration's [OMB] has sole authority to determine whether a sequestration is required and, if so, the proportional allocations of any necessary cuts’ – all this is saying is, ‘Mr. President, show us your hand, show us your plan. Let the American people know what the true impact is going to be on our national defense, on our economy, on a number of vital services, because you have the discretion.’ That's all this bill does.
“But I fear to some extent it may mask another agenda on what the debate is really about. Madam Speaker, I need not tell you, we continue to face the weakest, slowest recovery in the post-war era, and there are some who seem to have an ideological passion for raising taxes on the American people. An earlier speaker got up in an earlier debate and said that the largest small business group in America, the National Federation of Independent Business, has just released a new study saying that the president's tax plan will cost 710,000 jobs – jobs of working families, and those same working families will see their wages fall by 1.8 percent. So why would we want to raise taxes on anybody in this economy? Some will point out, ‘Well we need to reduce the deficit’ — and we do. But Madam Speaker, if you do the math and give the president an increase in tax rates on the top two tax brackets, not only does it destroy jobs, it's about 2 percent to 3 percent of his 10-year spending budget. So it harms jobs and it doesn't solve the problem. I fear it is a diversion from the failed policies that we have seen from this administration that has created the worst unemployment crisis since the Great Depression. But I would hope that we would at least have a growing consensus that we shouldn’t decimate national defense and there should at least be transparency.
“I urge all of my colleagues to support the Sequestration Transparency Act.”