Weekly Republican Address: Rep. James Lankford on Democrats’ Budget Failures

John Boehner

WASHINGTON, DC – Delivering the Weekly Republican Address, Rep. James Lankford (R-OK) calls on President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate to join the House in confronting government’s spending problem and passing a budget.  The Democratic-run Senate has not passed a budget in 1,360 days, despite being legally required to do so annually.  The White House has already announced that, for the fourth time in five years, it will be late in submitting a budget to Congress. 

House GOP leaders announced earlier today that the House will consider legislation next week to raise the debt ceiling for three months, and require both the House and Senate to pass a budget or lawmakers’ pay will be withheld. 

NOTE:  Rep. Lankford is chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee.  The Weekly Republican Address is embargoed until 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, January 19, 2013.  The audio is available here, and video of the address will be available here to view and here to download.   A full transcript follows.

Hello, I’m Congressman James Lankford from the great state of Oklahoma. 

“Tomorrow, President Obama will be sworn in for a second term.  Though we disagree on many areas of policy, I join my fellow Americans in pledging to pray for the President, his family and our nation in the days ahead. 

“During the last four years, our nation has faced difficult economic times.  Millions of Americans are still out of work and the cost of groceries, gas and healthcare continues to rise.  In the long history of our nation, we have never increased spending and federal debt faster than we have in this period.

“In the book of Proverbs it says a wise man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children; unfortunately Washington is consuming our children’s inheritance.  Americans get it: federal overspending is now actually dragging our economy down rather than lifting our families up. 

“It’s time for Democrats and Republicans to work together to create a plan to get our nation and our families back on track.  Every family and every business has a budget, our nation should have a budget as well.

“In fact, every year, the president is required by law to submit a budget proposal to Congress by February 4th.  But the Obama administration has already informed Congress that for the fourth time in five years it will be late submitting a budget to your representatives.  Unfortunately, the president has already missed more budget deadlines than any of his predecessors.

“The House and Senate are also required by law to submit a budget each year…not surprisingly by April 15th, tax day.  But, the Democratic-run Senate hasn’t approved such a resolution for almost four years, – 1,361 days to be exact.  This is not the result of Washington gridlock.  Majority Leader Harry Reid said it would be ‘foolish’ for his party in the Senate to produce a budget.  We disagree.  With more than 16 trillion dollars in debt, we believe it is foolish not to have a budget.

“In the House, led by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, we will again meet our legal obligation to pass a budget on time.  Our budget will moderate spending, pay our bills and keep the government running.  Most importantly, it will be a plan to slowly but surely walks our nation out of debt, deficit and decline.   On your behalf, we will insist that the Democrats who run the rest of Washington do the same.

“This debate is often argued in numbers and figures, but it’s really about families like yours that bear the burden of a slow economy.   Constant uncertainty and ever changing government rules chase our jobs and opportunities overseas.  When day to day life costs more and jobs pay less, we don’t solve the problem by delaying our federal spending decisions, raising taxes or refusing to tackle our nation’s most pressing economic challenges.    You deserve better. 

“With the swearing in of a new Congress and the inauguration of President Obama, this is an opportunity for a fresh start. 

“But because government debt really does affect all of us, Republicans will NOT simply provide a blank check for uncontrolled spending, irrational borrowing and constant nickel and dime tax increases.   We should cut Washington’s budget, not your family’s budget. 

“The issues we face today are not impossible obstacles, they are merely the challenges of our time.  We have the guidance of great leaders of the past who have faced tougher challenges than this with grace and dignity like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Dr. King once said, ‘Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: ‘What are you doing for others?’

“That is a good word for all of us and a clarion call that should ring in our ears on his birthday weekend.  Regardless of our differences, we all have the same dreams of a better future for our kids and grandkids.  I pray my children will grow up with your children in a nation where they can enjoy the shade of God’s blessings and the freedom that has uniquely been the United States America.”

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