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Hensarling: “This debt…it will damage our economy and it will cost us jobs.”

Washington, February 12, 2015 -


Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) delivered the following opening statement at today’s full committee markup of its Budget Views and Estimates for the FY 2016 budget:

Those who are not freshmen know that we run the debt clock in the proceedings of this committee. I fear too often it is something certain Members lose sight of; we shouldn’t. There is no family, no small business and certainly no great republic that can continue to spend money they don’t have. There are some who wish to ignore the clock and there are some who make light of the issue. I have no doubt that the governing authorities in Greece and places like Detroit also ignored the mounting debt and at some point the day of reckoning occurs. When it does, people suffer- particularly those on the lower income scale.

This committee should not ignore the perilous state that we find ourselves in; more debt created in the last six years than in our nation’s first two hundred. My laptop on my desk is awash of reports from the CBO, the GAO, the OMB not to mention respected economists and the Federal Reserve. All have come to the same conclusion that our debt is totally unsustainable. And yet, regrettably, we have the president who is submitting a budget that adds another $8½ trillion to our national debt.  Now just four years ago the president said “[A]ll this rising debt will cost us jobs and damage our economy.”  I wish that his actions followed his words. Apparently they do not.

That particular debt you see on the clock today represents roughly $160,000 of debt for every American household. That comes out of their American dream. That is funds that cannot be used to send kids to college. Those are funds that can no longer be used to pay for health care premiums that have risen. They are funds that cannot be used to capitalize a new small business so that again they can achieve their American dream.

So with the various programs and agencies within our jurisdiction we must do better. This debt, again I agree with the President in this case, it will damage our economy and it will cost us jobs. Regrettably, although our economy is certainly better today than it was perhaps a year ago, we still find ourselves in the midst of the slowest, weakest economic recovery in the post-war era. We still have millions and millions who are either unemployed or underemployed. Although the unemployment rate has come down, a major factor in that is the number of people who have simply left the labor force because they have given up. So the ratio may come down, but it belies the angst, the anxiety, the suffering of many low and middle-income Americans today.

We can do better and we must do better by those who are trying to get ahead. The best way to do that is to build a healthy economy and to build it from Main Street up, not Washington down. We have tried that. We have tried that for six years and it has failed.

The Budget Views and Estimates that have been put together today will help this committee and help the Budget Committee guide our proceedings to ensure that we can help low and middle-income Americans in their pursuit of happiness and that we can ensure that we do not leave a legacy of debt for our children and our grandchildren and betray the American dream; which is not the fancy new car, it is not the new home with the kitchen and the granite countertops. The American dream is ensuring that our children and grandchildren have greater opportunities, greater freedom and a higher standard of living than we have enjoyed.

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