Skip to Main

January 31, 2024

Schweikert: Congress Has Abdicated Responsibility for Restoring Nation’s Fiscal Health

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Representative David Schweikert (AZ-01) delivered a speech on the House Floor last night to explain that each day Congress ignores the nation’s fiscal reality, the harder it becomes to prevent economic calamity from wreaking havoc on future generations. Rep. Schweikert also shed light on how working-class Americans are poorer today than they were three years ago by comparing inflation-adjusted wages.

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 Congress’ inability to solve the nation’s looming debt crisis:

[Beginning at 15:14]
“Congress has decided they don’t want to be in charge. Let’s be honest. You see the clown show we engage in around here where someone gets their feelings hurt, or someone wants to make up some crap, or we’re going to fight over this much on discretionary [spending]. Yet the fact that if you’re borrowing $7.4 billion every single day, and we knife each other for several weeks over $16 billion of savings, you save 2.5 days of borrowing. But we never got around to the big issue, and that’s the clown show we have engaged in here. And I know I’m being a jerk, but I’m just so frustrated because I’m terrified this is going to wipe out your retirement [savings] and my kid’s future. I have young kids, and they are adorable. And they deserve to prosper. Is borrowing $85,000 per second what you all intended to hand your children? I need to say it over and over and over again. Congress has decided we’re not in charge. We’re not capable.

“So you want to know who’s now in charge? The U.S. bond market and the international bond market. Remember, this actually happened in the 1990s. During the Clinton administration, there was a period there where they basically said, ‘Nope. We’re going to go on a bond purchase holiday.’ Interest rates spiked up. The White House absolutely freaked out. Congress actually stepped up and did something. And guess what? By the end of the decade, we had a substantially balanced budget. But it took the bond market to kick this Congress in the head. It took a bond market to kick the White House in the head. The numbers are dramatically uglier today than they were in the 1990s. I’m just waiting for the moment when the bond vigilantes say, ‘Hey, now’s a great time. Let’s throw the trigger. Let’s go make some money off the U.S. sovereign debt. Let’s kick every U.S. taxpayer in the head because that Congress isn’t willing to step up and do what’s hard.’

“But there are things we can do. The problem is, every day we wait, we’re another $7.3 or $7.4 billion in debt. And every day we wait, the window gets narrower. The Left’s make-believe world is, ‘Well, we’ll just tax rich people.’ Well, I’m going to show you that’s a complete fantasy. And I’ve done that for the last three times I’ve come from behind these microphones. So what’s our point? Every 140 days, we’re borrowing $1 trillion. Got that one? Number two, if we don’t do it, the bond market will do it for us. But when they do, it’s ugly. And for every Member here, if that happens, you have the obligation to go home and explain why you didn’t step up and try to do something. And number three, I’m going to show you that the fantasy of the Left that they’re just going to tax rich people, gets you maybe 1.5-2% of the economy in a fantasy world. For those of us on the right, everything we are able to cut, we might get a [percentage] point. Maybe we get two [percentage] points. But if we’re borrowing almost 10% of the economy this year, does anyone see a math problem?”

On debt growth topping economic growth by over $1 trillion in 2023:

[Beginning at 24:14]
“So, if you actually had GDP growth from Q4 of 2022 to Q4 of 2023, the whole economy, every bit of the economy grew about $1.5 trillion. That’s actually much better growth than the economists said we were going to have. The problem is, we borrowed $2.6 trillion during that same time. So the borrowing actually may have been what was driving much of the GDP growth. We did it with debt. And here’s just a basic thought experiment. If you’re able to tax — our traditional tax, we get about 17% of the economy. If you live in a fantasy world, it makes the math much easier — say 20% of the economy. If I grow $1 trillion of GDP growth at $200 billion in tax receipts, does anyone see my math problem? So if I needed to cover $2.6 trillion of borrowing, you need a GDP growth dramatically bigger than this. Remember, $1 trillion of GDP growth gets about $200 billion. I need 10-10.5x that just to produce enough new tax receipts to cover the debt. Because once again, the debt is demographics. We got older, and we don’t like to talk about it. Are we going to magically change the demographics? But we know what’s ahead of us.”

On how working-class Americans are poorer under President Biden than they were before:

[Beginning at 29:25]
“Why are so many Americans cranky? I believe this chart shows it. You take a look at economic growth. Under President Trump, you had a 9.8% growth in your income. So far [under President Biden], if you adjust for inflation, the growth in your income, you are poorer today than you were 30 months ago. Some people talk about, ‘Well, there’s this MAGA thing out there and then there’s these populists, and these people are really upset.’ It’s because they’re poorer today. Working-class Americans. Our working class brothers and sisters out there, they’re working their hearts out just to try to survive. They are poorer today. In the Phoenix-Scottsdale area, unless your wages are up about 20-22% over the last 30 months, you are poorer today than you were 32-33 months ago. No wonder you’re cranky. You may not completely understand the math of inflation, and how everything’s more expensive, and how you are going to finance your next car, and have you seen your mortgage rates, but this chart shows it. And for my brothers and sisters on the Left, have some love, have some compassion. Understand people are getting crushed. Stop making excuses.”

Back to News