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March 24, 2023

Schweikert: Congress Must Take Its Fiscal Responsibility Seriously

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative David Schweikert (AZ-01) delivered a speech on the House Floor last night in which he warned his Democratic colleagues about the consequences of a debt ceiling increase without any serious attempts to reduce the deficit. Rep. Schweikert argued that just raising the debt ceiling would signal to debt markets around the world that the United States doesn’t take its fiscal responsibility seriously and that the federal government cannot continue to borrow money at unsustainable rates. Rep. Schweikert also explained that the nation’s current banking crisis is directly tied to soaring inflation coupled with interest rate hikes which occurred as a result of Congressional Democrats’ reckless fiscal policies.

Excerpts from Rep. Schweikert’s floor speech can be found below:

Click here or on the image above to view Rep. Schweikert’s remarks.

On reminding Democrats that the 2011 U.S. credit downgrading was a result of the nation not taking its fiscal responsibility seriously:

[Beginning at 0:46 mark]
“If I get one more Democrat running around here screaming at us, ‘We’re going to default! You remember we got downgraded.’ That’s not what happened. The language S&P did in 2011 wasn’t because of the debt ceiling fight. If you actually read it, ‘US loses AAA credit rating after S&P downgrade.’ But it was because S&P cut the long-term US rating by one notch to AA+ with negative outlook, citing concerns about budget deficits. It wasn’t the debt ceiling. It was the failure of this body to take our demographics [and] our spending seriously. This is a decade ago. I heard one of my colleagues on the other side walk up by one of these microphones and […] forget what actually happened. It wasn’t because of a fight over the debt ceiling. It was because we didn’t do enough to demonstrate to the debt markets around the world our own pension systems, your own retirement, and other ones around the world. We didn’t communicate to them that we are going to take the debt seriously. And this [was] a dozen years ago. ‘The agency said the deficit reduction plan passed by the US Congress on Tuesday did not go far enough.’ This is from 2011.”

On the dire CBO budget projections:

[Beginning at 2:42 mark]
“And we still have members running around here going, ‘Oh, we’re going to default. Just do a clean debt ceiling.’ My argument is very, very simple. Do you not think the debt markets will punish the United States if we walked in and said, ‘We’re just going to keep borrowing. Just raise the damn debt ceiling. Just raise it!’ Do [you understand how much trouble we’re in]? Do [you] understand nine budget years from now, according to the Congressional Budget Office from three weeks ago, you can get rid of all of defense, get rid of the White House, get rid of Congress, get rid of the Supreme Court. You can get rid of all of government — the FBI is gone, the Park Service is gone, the Foreign Service is gone. All foreign aid is gone. It’s all gone. Every dime is gone. There is no discretionary [spending]. You still have to borrow a couple hundred billion dollars, and the next year it’s dramatically worse because the Social Security Trust Fund is gone, the Highway Trust Fund is gone, the Medicare Part A Trust Fund has long since been gone. This place is an economic fraud. And yet, if you listen to the speeches around here, we do beautiful virtue signaling. ‘My feelings!’ Screw our feelings. Let’s hold out a calculator. The cruelty that will happen around here if we do not take this seriously.”

On inflation fueling the nation’s banking crisis:

[Beginning at 8:59 mark]
“I’m finding I’m having to react to all the crazy propaganda out there. As my brothers and sisters on the Left do everything they can to avoid the responsibility for what they did with causing inflation and the cascade of inflation. You understand the banking difficulties we have today are derivatives of inflation. Inflation goes up — what do we have to do to knock down inflation? Well, we’ve got two things we could do. We could really step up productivity so we make more goods and services to sop up all the excess cash and spending that’s out there. Or we do what this lazy Body has been doing the last couple of years, and that is just let the Federal Reserve raise interest rates, raise interest rates, and roll off their books so we’re going to pull liquidity out of the economy. Oh, by the way, when you do that, what happens if you buy a bond today at 1% and six months from now interest rates are at 3%? You do functionally understand you lost two-thirds of the value of that bond. What do you think happened to Silicon Valley Bank? The banking crisis is an absolute derivative of crappy Fed policy, keeping interest rates at 0%, and substantially, this place spending like crazy in the previous years, setting off inflation, forcing the raising of interest rates. And now interest rates, when they go up in inflation, create distortions in the economy.”

On the actual cost of tax credits in Democrats’ inflation bill:

[Beginning at 15:44 mark]
“So let’s actually take a look at the Left’s Inflation Reduction Act, which is the most Orwellian name in modern history. The cost estimates for the battery production credits in the Inflation Reduction Act [were] supposed to cost $30.6 billion. That’s what they told us. That is what they told the American people. So we’ve had the economists breaking it down, looking at the numbers, and they’re coming back saying, ‘Hey, that’s not actually what the language in the legislation says.’ It’s not $30.6 billion for the batteries. It’s $196.5 billion. Okay, so maybe one of the first things we need to do around here as a body is, say, ‘[My] brothers and sisters on the Left, we’re going to help you. We’re going to hold you to your own promises. When we do our next budget, we’re going to at least make sure these things are frozen where you told the American people they were going to be.’ […] You want to understand why the American people are so upset with us? It’s scams like this.”

On the tax hikes in President Biden’s FY 24 budget proposal:

[Beginning at 24:20 mark]
“This is their version of compassion. Remember, we used to get the former Speaker to show us [her] budget, and we’d see [her] priorities, [her] ethics, [her] values. Okay, so losing 335,000 jobs and having workers lose 1% of their wages, is that the Democrats’ compassion? This is [the result of] crappy economics. So, President Biden’s proposed budget comes nowhere close to solving the long-term [budget crisis]. Remember how they were just so excited? ‘We’re going to [cut the deficit by] $3 trillion!’ If every dime of the almost $5 trillion of new taxes comes in, and I asked [Treasury Secretary] Janet Yellen this, and she was very polite, completely avoided giving me an honest answer. Did you score what you do to the economy’s growth? We just saw in the Tax Foundation’s slide what happens to the economy’s growth with their almost $5 trillion in new taxes. ‘But we’re reducing the deficit!’ No, you’re not. They just reduced how much more spending they were going to cause. They still raised the deficit by another $20 trillion. Once again, it’s games with virtue signaling around here. This is their vision. When does it break? When do we break the back of this economy, the American taxpayers, the working middle class? How much more debt can we stack up on them? And if we do this, will we have any capacity to follow the Constitution, defend this country, and also keep the commitments to those who are [on] Medicare or Social Security?”

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