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Senate Proceeding on Apr 13th, 2011 :: 6:09:50 to 6:19:55
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David Vitter

6:09:30 to 6:09:51( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: quorum call: objection. mr. vitter: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i watched with great interest president obama's speech about our spending and debt crisis. that's what i would call it. he didn't use as stark terms, unfortunately, but it is a spending and debt crisis.

David Vitter

6:09:50 to 6:19:55( Edit History Discussion )
Speech By: David Vitter

David Vitter

6:09:52 to 6:10:13( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: first of all, i'm -- i'm at least a little encouraged that he is finally beginning to enter the debate about this crisis. it is headed to a crisis. it is the greatest domestic threat we face as a nation and at least this speech acknowledges that it is a huge threat and that his own budget,

David Vitter

6:10:14 to 6:10:34( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: submitted just a few months ago, was a pass on all of those big issues and he needed a redo. this is a great threat to all of our future says and prosperity. let me try to put it just a little bit in perspective, mr. president. borrowing right now is at least

David Vitter

6:10:35 to 6:10:56( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: 40 cents out of every dollar, so every dollar the federal government spends, 40 cents of that, over 40 cents is borrowed money. we're spending $3.7 trillion a year but we're only taking in $2.2 trillion. because of that, we've recently

David Vitter

6:10:57 to 6:11:17( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: been racking up over $4 billion of new debt every day. so every day, new debt of $4 billion a day, and a whole lot of that we owe to the chinese, more than $1 trillion. now, that eventually has very serious consequences in terms of

David Vitter

6:11:18 to 6:11:39( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: our prosperity, our future, the sort of country envisioned and future we -- country and vision and future we can leave for our kids. as interest rates go up, which they inevitably will if we stay on this path, that just downright costs jobs. when interest rates go up 1%, federal debt goes up

David Vitter

6:11:40 to 6:12:00( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: $140 billion because the debt is so much. when those interest rates eventually go up, it makes it harder for all of us and our families to buy cars and homes, to pay tuition, to create jobs if we're a small business. admiral mike mullen, the joint chiefs of staff, has said that -- quote -- "national debt is our biggest

David Vitter

6:12:01 to 6:12:23( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: security threat." so the highest-ranking person in uniform in charge of our national security says that our biggest security threat isn't iran or north korea or anyone else, it's actually this domestic debt issue. and debt at current levels,

David Vitter

6:12:24 to 6:12:46( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: which is 94% of g.d.p., economists say that's already costing us about a million jobs because our debt level is so great. so again, at least the president in his speech today, which is essentily a do-over of his budget from a few months ago, at least the president is beginning to acknowledge that fundamental

David Vitter

6:12:47 to 6:13:07( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: threat and that's good. but we need more than a speech, we need more than a vision; we need a real action plan, a detailed plan from the president and we didn't get that today. so my first reaction to the speech was that it's just that, it was a speech. it was a nice sounding speech.

David Vitter

6:13:08 to 6:13:28( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: it had a lot of nice themes. but it was a speech. and if the president, who is so quick to criticize congressman paul ryan's budget, if he really wants to enter the debate, he needs to enter it on a par with that level of detail, that level of specifics that congressman

David Vitter

6:13:29 to 6:13:51( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: ryan and house republicans gave. and so the president needs to submit a new budget, a new detailed proposal, not just give a speech. and then we need to engage in a real debate and come up with a plan, an action plan to tackle this spending and debt issue.

David Vitter

6:13:52 to 6:14:13( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: and we need to do that before we vote on any debt limit increase. just speaking for myself, i'm not going to consider increasing the debt limit, which the president wants all of us to do, unless and until there's tied to it a real plan to deal with this spending and debt crisis. so this speech today perhaps was

David Vitter

6:14:14 to 6:14:34( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: a start, but my general reaction is, we need more than a speech, we need specifics, we need a new budget submission. and then we need to engage in a bipartisan discussion and negotiation. but we shouldn't wait till may, as the president suggested. that should start immediately,

David Vitter

6:14:35 to 6:14:56( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: tomorrow because we need to hammer out meaningful details before any proposal comes to the floor for votes to increase the debt limit. now, in terms of the general themes the president struck, i have to say i was disappointed because to my ears it was same old, same old.

David Vitter

6:14:57 to 6:15:19( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: the first thing was increasing taxes, and he's been at that theme over and over again and that was absolutely the first theme he hit in his speech, increasing taxes. the problem, -- the problem is, mr. president, when you look the level of taxation we have, that is not extraordinarily low.

David Vitter

6:15:20 to 6:15:40( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: that is not somehow way below normal historical averages. what is way above normal historical averages is spending. and so if you just look at the data compared to history, we have a runaway spending problem. we don't have a taxation problem. the second big theme the president hit was cutting

David Vitter

6:15:41 to 6:16:01( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: defense spending. again, coming from a liberal, this is just same ol', same ol'. a traditional predictable theme to cut defense. i don't think that's really a new approach or a new discussion from the president. third big theme was to cut tax

David Vitter

6:16:02 to 6:16:23( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: expe now, a lot of folks at least in louisiana won't know what the heck that means. so let me translate. cutting tax expenditures means increasing taxes. it means doing away with certain deductions and certain credits. it means your tax bill goes up.

David Vitter

6:16:24 to 6:16:45( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: now, i'm all for tax code simplification. i think we need an enormously simplified tax code. i do think we need to get rid of a lost deductions and credits. but that should be used to lower the overall rate, particularly rates like the corporate tax rate, which in the u.s. is highest of any industrialized country in the world.

David Vitter

6:16:46 to 6:17:07( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: and then in terms of the theme of real cutting, that theme was very short on specifics, very long on general statements, including that entitlements and things like medicare would not be cut or reformed in any way. so when you look at these broad themes -- and that's all there

David Vitter

6:17:08 to 6:17:29( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: was, broad themes, not specifics -- it was, quite frankly, disappointing, sorely disappointing. but at least perhaps it's a start. as i said at the beginning of my remarks, i hope it's a meaningful start. but to be a meaningful start and to produce fruit, we need to go

David Vitter

6:17:30 to 6:17:50( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: from a very broad, very general speech to a detailed submission. the president needs to resubmit his entire budget. that is do-over. so he needs to resubmit a detailed budget which matches congressman ryan's proposal in the level of detail, in the level of specifics the budget

David Vitter

6:17:51 to 6:18:11( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: chairman in the house has provided. and then we need to immediately get to a bipartisan discussion and negotiation. shouldn't wait until may. that should start immediately for one simple reason: because i don't think there's any chance of passing any increase to the debt limit

David Vitter

6:18:12 to 6:18:33( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: without having attached to it major reform, major structural reform that ensures that we are upon a new path of lowering spending and lowering debt. of course i can only control one vote. but speaking for myself, i will say that i won't even consider those proposals to increase the

David Vitter

6:18:34 to 6:18:55( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: debt limit unless and until there's a proposal that passes the congress to actually decrease the debt. ultimately, the problem isn't the debt limit, the problem is the debt. you know, when an individual has a spending problem or a credit card problem, the solution isn't getting a higher limit on his

David Vitter

6:18:56 to 6:19:16( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: credit card; the solution is to deal with the spending and the debt problem, which is the underlying core problem. the same here. and so we need to do that as we move in this debt-limit discussion. i hope we'll all do that, mr. president. i hope we'll come together in a

David Vitter

6:19:17 to 6:19:37( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: meaningful bipartisan way to do that. actuall attack the problem, which is spending, which leigh leads to the second problem, which is debt -- which leads to the second problem, which is debt. and to proposal and pass reform, real structural reform before we have any vote on increasing the debt limit.

David Vitter

6:19:38 to 6:19:55( Edit History Discussion )

David Vitter: i urge all of us to work construct nifl that regard. i hope the president's speech is a start toward that, but of course time will tell and actions versus words are what ultimately matter. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. baucus: the presiding officer: the

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