September 20, 2023

Chairman Arrington Delivers Opening Statement as Committee Considers Budget Resolution

Washington - Today, House Budget Committee Chairman Jodey Arrington (R-TX) delivered the following opening remarks at the markup of the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for FY2024-FY2033. This plan restores fiscal responsibility, economic freedom, and prosperity in America.

Chairman Arrington’s remarks as prepared for delivery:

I want to thank all my fellow committee members for a great start to this Congress.

I think the Ranking Member and I agree that we want this committee to be a place for open, robust, and constructive debate – I certainly expect that today.

But let’s go back to where we started. In March, we had a hearing on the Fiscal State of the Nation. I think our witnesses and our members on both sides shared the same sentiment that the fiscal health of our country is in decline and our deficit spending – which is driving our record debt – and unfunded liabilities into the future are completely unsustainable.

We also agree that both Republicans and Democrats have contributed to this financial mess we find ourselves in. This isn’t a partisan problem, it’ a math problem that requires real leadership from both sides of the aisle before it’s too late.

No leader worth their salt could agree with that assessment and not feel an overwhelming sense of urgency and responsibility to address it – and that’s why we’re here today.

Whether your concerns for the country are climate change and social safety nets, OR infrastructure and military readiness, a sovereign debt crisis would put all of these programs in peril.

As a backdrop to the introduction of our budget resolution, I think it’s noteworthy to reflect on what happened in August – one of the three major credit rating agencies, Fitch, downgraded the United States’ credit rating.

Fitch stated that their decision to downgrade was due to “fiscal deterioration” in the coming years, mainly as a result of:

  • Soaring interest costs,
  • A weaker economy (recession; .5% GDP),
  • And the structural imbalance in our federal budget of runaway mandatory spending.

Fitch also said our cuts to non-defense discretionary are only “a modest improvement” and that Congress has no long-term plan to alter address the real debt drivers of mandatory spending in order to meaningfully reduce our debt-to-GDP.

Finally, they warned that if we don’t address these things, we should expect two consequences:

  • Further downgrading of US credit
  • Losing the reserve currency status of the dollar

Whether our growing deficits and debt cause a slow economic decline or a sudden economic catastrophe, a sovereign debt crisis will NOT only jeopardize our economic prosperity, but our national security, America’s leadership in the world, and our children’s future.

That’s why our Founding Fathers warned us repeatedly about excessive debt. My favorite quote is from our Fourth President, James Madison, which is reflected in the title of our budget:

“A public debt is a public curse.”

That curse hangs heavy over the heads of our children and looms large on the horizon our country.
Our budget resolution will REVERSE THE CURSE by reining in spending, returning to pro-growth policies, and restoring fiscal responsibility.

This fiscal framework will balance the budget in 10 years by reducing deficit spending by $16 trillion.
We achieve these savings without cutting Medicare, Social Security, or veteran benefits.

We believe that the most practical and politically palatable way to fix the insolvency and unsustainability of these critical safety nets is through a bipartisan debt commission, and we make that recommendation in our budget.
Here's the plan:

First, we right-size the bloated federal bureaucracy by eliminating wasteful and unnecessary discretionary spending.

Next, we reverse the recent spending spree that has occurred over the last 2 years.

  • No more IRS armies, no more green corporate giveaways, no Obamacare subsidies for the wealthy.

Third, we rein-in runaway mandatory spending through entitlement reforms that by put patients in charge of health care, strengthen Medicare for seniors, make Medicaid work for the most vulnerable, and end cradle to grave dependence.

  • 70% of our budget and 90% of our growth  

Fourth, we root out the rampant waste and fraud in our entitlement programs.

  • According to GAO, our federal government have upwards of $2 trillion in improper payments in the next decade.

Fifth, we reignite growth and prosperity with lower taxes, real regulatory reform, energy independence, and America first trade policies.

  • If we can add just 1% to CBO’s economic growth assumptions, we can reduce the deficit by $3 trillion over 10 years.

Lastly, we reform the broken budget process to make it more transparent and accountable so that it will yield more responsible results.  

President Biden said, “show me your budget and I’ll show you your priorities.”

I want to be clear: there is a stark difference between President Biden and the Democrats’ priorities reflected in his budget, and Republicans’ priorities outlined today.

In the Republicans’ Reverse the Curse budget resolution,  

  • We rein in spending,
  • We reform entitlements,  
  • We return to pro-growth policies that will grow the economy faster than inflation and our spending, and
  • We restore fiscal responsibility by balancing the budget in 10 years. 

In his budget, President Biden:

  • Imposes the highest levels of taxing, spending, and borrowing in the history of the United States:
    • $90 billion in increased discretionary spending,
    • $2.2 trillion in new mandatory spending next year,
    • $4.7 trillion in new taxes
  • Instead of balancing, he adds $17 trillion to the debt over the next decade.  

Today, as we lay out our vision for the future of our country, the stakes could not be higher.

If we demonstrate an extraordinary sense of urgency, persistence, and political courage, we will preserve America’s leadership in the world and secure the blessings of liberty for our children. If we don’t, we will be the first of our nation’s leaders to leave the next generation not with a better and brighter future, but with a worse and weaker country than we inherited.

We must “reverse the curse.”

Chairman Arrington Delivers Opening Statement as Committee Considers Budget Resolution