3:06 PM EST
Cliff Stearns, R-FL 6th

Mr. STEARNS. Madam Speaker, let me say to my colleague from Massachusetts that he and I came in together. Back in 1988, we were both elected, and he and I served in the same class together. As I recollect, he was mayor of Springfield.

You balanced your budget as mayor. You had to balance your budget. Now, we've been up here trying to balance the budget, you and I, for almost 21 years. It has not been successful. I supported a balanced budget--both a constitutional amendment as well as a legislative balanced budget. I don't believe you or your colleagues did. I say this because, frankly, we have been talking about deficit as long as you and I have been in Congress. We can blame Republicans. We can blame Democrats, but let's

just look at the record for a second.

When you and I came in under Bush I, do you remember those deficits? They talked about $250 billion, and we just lamented about it and lamented about it, and we complained about it. Well, you know, that's what happened. It has exploded. So now we're looking at deficits that are a lot larger, as my colleague mentioned, $1.4 trillion.

When you look at Bush II, George W. Bush, he had deficits of $600 billion. I remember the folks on that side were complaining about how terrible that was at $600 billion.

Well, the problem is now we're talking almost two, three times that amount of money. Actually, when you go back and look at when Ronald Reagan was President, critics called great criticism to him. They said the deficit was out of control in this country. The deficits were about $250 billion. So the point I am trying to make is that the deficit under Republican Presidents and even under Republican control of the House and the Senate and the White House was small, very small, to what we have today.

You can say that there is good reason for this vote today because you support our troops and our wars, and you also support veterans. I think that's true. Yet there has been no effort by your side to hold the appropriations bill.

I have been on the House floor, and I say to my colleague, your appropriations bills are 13 percent larger than last year's. Almost every one of them was 13, 18--One was almost 20 percent. How in the world can you justify appropriations bills that are so large?

So in the end, Democrats are not trying to reduce costs nor balance the budget. In fact, they are recklessly encouraging more government spending. That is why they need to increase the debt ceiling.