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Ranking Member Cole Floor Remarks on the House Amendment to S. 1301

As delivered on the House floor during debate on the rule providing for consideration of the House Amendment to S. 1301:

Today’s rule covers a standalone bill that suspends the national debt limit through the end of 2022.
 
Today’s item does not come up out of a vacuum. Just last week, the Democratic majority in the House passed a continuing resolution to fund the government through early December. Unfortunately, that bill also included this same suspension of the debt ceiling through 2022. The inclusion of this item meant that not a single Republican in the House supported last week’s bill, and not a single Republican in the Senate supported it either.
 
But today, not content with having run headlong into a brick wall once, the majority is now seeking to do the same thing again. As the baseball player and philosopher Yogi Berra once said, today is truly “déjà vu all over again.”
 
Madam Speaker, I don’t know how much more clear Republicans can be on this topic. So long as the Democratic majority continues to insist on spending money hand over fist, Republicans will refuse to help them lift the debt ceiling.
 
This year alone, the majority has rammed through one partisan spending bill using reconciliation already. That bill spent $1.9 trillion, allegedly for COVID relief, but really about a laundry list of progressive policy priorities. And I remind my friends, they were offered a compromise of many hundreds of billions of dollars, but that wasn’t sufficient.
 
Today, the majority is neck-deep in negotiations on an even bigger partisan reconciliation bill, this one supposedly $3.5 trillion, but frankly, likely to run much higher than that. If passed, this one would mean Democrats have pushed through $5.5 trillion of spending in one year, which is almost one and a half times the amount of normal yearly federal spending. And that all comes on top of our regular discretionary and non-discretionary spending.
 
Madam Speaker, Republicans have been very clear on this for months: so long as Democrats keep pushing these bloated spending measures and so long as they continue to ram through partisan policies like those found in the Green New Deal, Republicans will not work with them to raise the debt limit. 
 
Since the beginning of the year, Democrats have been pushing their policy agenda despite having the bare minimum of a majority in both the House and Senate. The results have been shocking. More big government socialism, more spending and higher taxes. They have been doing all of this on their own, with Democrats only voting for these measures.
 
To be clear, this is the choice the majority has made. They have chosen to govern in a majority-rules fashion. They are pushing through bill after bill, larded up with huge spending and more and more big government socialism, all on their own. The majority also has the power to lift the debt ceiling all on their own, using a process they are quite familiar with – reconciliation. Since they have chosen to ram the rest of their agenda through on their own, they also have the responsibility to lift the debt ceiling on their own. If they want to keep spending the people’s money like this, then they alone must act and take responsibility.
 
Madam Speaker, my good friend alluded to the fact that he has voted for debt ceiling increases in his capacity as a member, and I know that to be true, and I respect my friend. I have done that myself and I for them under both Republicans and Democrats.
 
But I do want to address this point about the debt limit. This point was best summed up by Speaker Pelosi in her Dear Colleague letter Sunday night: “The debt limit is a shared responsibility. I urge Congress to come together on a bipartisan basis as it has in the past.” 

Oh really? I think we should look at the record and clear that up. The last five times that Congress voted on raising the debt limit, when Republicans controlled the White House, the Senate and the House, President Biden, who was then in the Senate didn’t vote to raise it a single time. Majority Leader Schumer voted to raise it once out of five times. The Democratic leadership voted to raise it once out of five times. So to somehow pretend that both sides have not on occasion used the debt ceiling to express their concerns or that everybody has rallied to the cause simply does not square with the facts.
 
Madam Speaker, I will make a bold prediction. I suspect that it will, at some point, get raised. And I suspect it will be before we reach a deadline. And I share my friend’s point, that indeed that needs to happen. However, when you launch a program as expensive and expansive as the Democrats have, and you choose to do it on a partisan line way, then don’t shirk the responsibility at the end of the day. Don’t try to shift it to others. I think that is what is happening here.
 
One last point Madam Speaker. We talk a lot about the Trump debt, but let me remind my friends that they were in control of the House during the last two years of the Trump presidency. I remind my friends, most of the debt was actually accumulated in that time. And I do remind my friends it was a bipartisan effort. The biggest part of that debt was COVID-19 relief, which we agreed on, on both sides of the aisle, both supported for and both raised the debt ceiling for.
 
So, when we work together we can solve these problems. My friends have chosen no to work with us, and now they are going to have to bear up the responsibility. I’m sure they are up to the task. 
 
With that, I urge opposition to this rule.

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