2:18 PM EST
Richard Neal, D-MA 2nd

Mr. NEAL of Massachusetts. Madam Speaker, I yield myself such time as I might consume.

Madam Speaker, I rise in support of the debt limit legislation we are considering today, and I want to thank Mr. Rangel for his hard work on the bill in the waning days of the Congress this first session.

Let me talk about what the bill does. This bill is simply about continuing operations for the Federal Government. That is the title of the legislation. ``Continuing operations'' means getting the Social Security checks out on time, an almost sacred duty that we have. This means providing support for our troops and keeping our museums and our parks open. That is what an increase in the debt limit will allow. Simply stated, this is about bills that have already been incurred.

Now, I will, during my time here, resist the temptation to become overly [Page: H15422]

partisan and speak specifically to the issue that is in front of us until there is a misstatement of the facts in opposition.

What this bill does not do is increase or decrease spending. That is a key consideration. Those decisions have already been made through the regular order. Let me emphasize the following: This bill does not raise nor does it cut taxes. That is different legislation. I respect the opinion of all Members here--who, by the way, my hunch is have been on all sides of this issue during their time here in the Congress. But we all desire the same, and that is to bring our budget into balance with the

future. Beyond that, there is broad agreement. But this bill is simply paying the check after the items have already been ordered. This bill would raise the limit by $290 billion, which is estimated to allow the government to operate through February 11 and allow us to adjourn for the year.

Despite what some might say, the Treasury Department will reach the current limit on the national debt by December 31, and they have told us that there is no ability to do extraordinary measures that will, indeed, stretch that out.

Now, I hope that the offering that I make to resist demagoguery on this issue will be met. If not, we certainly will have an opportunity during the course of the next hour to slug it out based upon the facts, and I hope that we will regard Social Security and veterans bills that have already been incurred to be paid. We certainly can have moments of instructions here--we're all indeed prepared for that on all sides--but I hope that the opportunity to resist the temptation to dismiss the reality

of what we're doing here will be before all of us.

I reserve my time.