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November 18, 2011

Velázquez on Republican Budget Amendment

Washington, DC – Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY) spoke on the House floor today regarding the Republican so-called "Balanced Budget Amendment." Following are her remarks:

"I rise in opposition to this misguided amendment, which will visit harm on working families, prevent government from responding to crises and cripple the U.S. economy. Under this amendment, it would become difficult to raise the debt ceiling, putting our country at greater risk of default. It is alarming that, so shortly after averting the most recent danger of a default, the authors of this amendment would endanger our nation's credit, so directly.

"Equally disturbing, should a war, domestic crisis or natural disaster strike, our government could find its hands tied, incapable of responding, swiftly. When crises occur, Congress must have the flexibility to respond -- it is shortsighted and dangerous to cede this authority from the legislative branch.

"Not only would this amendment effectively slow our response to future catastrophes, but it would also undercut our current economic recovery --eliminating 15 million jobs. The fact is, if you like 9% unemployment, you will love this amendment.

"Our government has, in the past, been able to balance its books and create surplus. When President Clinton left office, we had a $5 trillion surplus. However, an unprovoked war, coupled with tax cuts for the wealthy, erased this windfall and led to our current fiscal problems.

"If we truly wish to tackle the deficit, the most effective thing we could do is create new jobs. In the 1990s, economic prosperity helped drive deficits down. Rather than wasting this institution's time on a cheap political stunt -- which has zero chance of becoming law -- we should create opportunity and work to restore the American dream. That is a deficit reduction plan all of us could support.

"Vote no on this amendment. I yield back."