Full Text Debt Ceiling Showdown July 30, 2011: Senator Jon Kyl Gives Republican Weekly Address — Discusses Debt Ceiling Crisis

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

THE HEADLINES: DEBT CEILING SHOWDOWN: OBAMA VS CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS:

Weekly Remarks by Sen. Jon Kyl — As Provided by Republican Party Leadership

Good morning.  I am Senate Republican Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona.

By now, most Americans know that lawmakers in Washington are engaged in a difficult debate about the nation’s ‘debt ceiling,’ the legal limit to the amount of money the federal government can borrow.

The debt ceiling is currently set at a little more than 14 trillion dollars, and if Congress and the president don’t reach an agreement to raise it by this coming Tuesday, the Treasury secretary tells us America will no longer be able to pay all its bills.

The consequences of missing this deadline could be severe, precisely because Washington….

…borrows so much money — more than 40 cents out of every dollar it spends. So, spending would have to shrink by 40% very quickly.

What’s more, markets would likely respond, dropping in value and hurting the retirement savings of millions of Americans.

Republicans have tried to work with Democrats to avoid this result and put our country on a better path, but we need them to work with us.

We start from the understanding that the reason the debt ceiling is a problem is because of runaway Washington spending. So, Republicans have been united in the belief that raising the debt ceiling without making significant spending reductions would be irresponsible. Arizona republican senator Jon Kyl

With debt crises rolling across Europe, we know it is only a matter of time before people start to question whether America can sustain its huge and growing debt.

If we don’t do something about our spending problem now, the scenes we’ve seen playing out all across Europe could happen in America.

If we don’t change the way Washington operates, we will not get control of our government, or our future.

In short, we hoped that the need to increase the debt ceiling could be an opportunity to make some very hard decisions to reduce government spending.

Unfortunately, after weeks of negotiations, it became clear that Democrats in Washington did not view this crisis as an opportunity to rein in spending. Instead, they saw it as an opportunity to impose huge tax increases on American families and small businesses.

President Obama is simply too committed to the European-style of big government that his policies have set in motion. To Democrats in Washington, the answer isn’t to cut spending, but to raise taxes and keep on spending.

Democrats claim they would only target the privileged few. But behind the scenes they argue for much broader tax increases.

The simple fact is, in order to afford the kind of government this president wants, taxes would have to be increased dramatically — and for middle-income Americans, not just on the wealthy.

Job-killing tax increases are the wrong medicine for our struggling economy. Back in 2009, President Obama admitted that you don’t raise taxes in the middle of a recession. This advice is just as true today.

At the moment, more than 14 million Americans are looking for work and can’t find it. According to economists, a healthy economy is one in which unemployment is around 5%. The unemployment rate today is 9.2%.

And we got more bad news yesterday: Our economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.3% in the second quarter and the first-quarter growth was downgraded to just four tenths of one percent. Raising taxes will only make this worse. And prolonging the debt crisis will only add to the ongoing economic uncertainty.

Republicans believe we must solve our debt crisis — and we believe we can solve it if Democrats will work with us.  No one will get everything they want, and we can’t solve all of our problems at once, but surely we can reach an agreement that will increase the debt ceiling, impose accountability, and begin reducing the size of our federal government.

That may not be what some in Washington really want. But it’s what Americans, and the American economy, really need.

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