Arrington Opening Statement at Fiscal State of the Union Hearing
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WASHINGTON – House Budget Committee Chairman Jodey Arrington (R-TX) delivered the following opening remarks at a hearing on the "Fiscal State of the Union." Rep. Arrington's Remarks as prepared for delivery: Good morning, everyone. And welcome to the Members of the Committee and our witnesses. This Committee is charged with the fiduciary responsibility of resourcing the People’s Government and the fiscal trajectory of the United States of America. And right now, by any measure, we are well off track. We have convened this hearing today to Sound the Alarm for the American People and create a sense of urgency among our nation’s leaders. The nation’s fiscal outlook is rapidly deteriorating following a two-year avalanche of new spending that added more than $6 trillion to our national debt and triggered painful, historic levels of inflation on working families across the country. Our unprecedented, almost incomprehensible, $31+ trillion national debt has eclipsed the size of our economy–the largest in the world. Over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan CBO, our annual deficits will double, our interest payments will triple, and for every dollar we borrow, 50 cents will go just to paying interest on this debt. In just five years, interest payments alone will exceed what we spend on our entire national defense. The only other time in American history that our debt-to-GDP ratio has been this high was in the aftermath of World War II. We were able to recover from that because we had the will to reduce our spending and the runway to grow our economy back to a healthy balance sheet. Today, we are looking at a very different picture. Reckless spending and record inflation have left a trail of economic destruction for working families and small businesses in the form of shrinking paychecks, soaring interest rates, labor shortages, and a whole generation of Americans trapped in a cycle of poverty and government dependency. What makes this all the more disturbing is that we were warned. For the last 3 decades, we have known the structural challenges we face, from the largest generational retirement in the world to the rise in automatic spending consuming more of our revenues and now, runaway interest on the debt. And for the last 2 years, this administration threw gasoline on that fire with its unbridled spending. If we don’t change course–and soon–sustained stagnation could very quickly give way to a sovereign debt crisis that threatens not only our economy but our national security–with dwindling resources and dire choices putting our Republic and our children’s future at risk. Folks! It is well past time to think about the unthinkable! But it absolutely doesn’t have to be this way, I truly believe that. The fiscal state of our nation is unsustainable, but not unfixable. The president had the opportunity to set a new course and provide real leadership earlier this month with his budget proposal. Instead, his vision calls for the highest levels of taxes, spending, and borrowing in the history of our country. Even by Washington’s standards, it is a budget binge of catastrophic proportions. In fact, even after trillions of dollars in new tax hikes on families, job creators, and energy producers, that still isn’t nearly enough to make up for the vast and radical expansion of government the president seeks. All ten years of the spending proposed in the President’s budget are at a quarter of our entire economy, a level we not seen since the invasion of Normandy – and with his failed tax-and-spending policies constraining growth, our debt to GDP ratio will continue to deteriorate—hitting an unconscionable level of 220% by 2053. At the State of the Union, the president kept saying, ‘finish the job.’ But his plan doesn’t even start the job of addressing the real challenges facing our country. It is far too radical, far too reckless, and far too disconnected to meet this moment. We must reverse course, by stopping the spending spree, unlocking economic growth, and fixing our nation’s finances before it’s too late. As we look to lift our country out of this mess, several key principles emerge that must be included in any responsible plan: We must rein-in the wasteful, woke, and bloated bureaucracy and the out-of-control spending that created it. We must reduce unnecessary government burden and re-establish pro-growth policies that create jobs and promote prosperity for all Americans. We must end the era of dependency for able-bodied adults, encourage labor force participation, and restore the dignity of work. We must stop the assault on US energy production and unleash American energy dominance. And, we ABSOLUTELY must prioritize the first and most important job of the federal government: the safety and security of the American people. With uncommon courage and common-sense economic policies, we can stave off a debt crisis, strengthen America’s balance sheet, and save the Union. The longer we wait to start this work, the more drastic our choices will be—and the more likely it becomes that future generations will be trapped in a broken economy with a bleak outlook at best. If we do not have a sense of urgency about the task before us, our children will NOT inherit the blessing of liberty and opportunity, but instead will reap the whirlwind of an irreparable economic disaster. We have Sounded the Alarm. Now we must answer the call to act. I now recognize my friend and colleague, the ranking member from Pennsylvania, Mr. Boyle, for an opening statement.