October 29, 2013
Sean Neary/Meaghan Smith
Baucus Statement on the Resolution of Disapproval
As prepared for delivery
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt said: “Our capacity is limited only by our ability to work together. What is needed is the will.”
I’ve just returned from a week at home in Montana traveling from Fort Benton to Billings to Bozeman. I visited with constituents from all across the state.
At each one of my meetings the conversation would touch on the first snow of the season, or football and the Bobcats’ game, or the Grizzlies’ game.
But inevitably every conversation turned to the challenges we face here in Washington and the standoff we just had over the country’s borrowing limit and funding the government.
Folks have lost faith in our ability to serve them. They are worried about what the dysfunction means for the future of our country.
For more than two weeks, Congress was stuck in a stalemate, unable to agree on a course for our nation. The political standoff shook America’s confidence and threatened the global economy.
Thankfully, compromise was able to overcome conflict and cooler heads prevailed. But our nation didn't emerge from the fight unscathed.
The 16-day government shutdown took a $24 billion bite out of the U.S. economy, according to Standard & Poor's. The rating agency now projects the U.S. economy will only grow at 2.4% in the fourth quarter — as opposed to the already slow 3% predicted prior to the shutdown.
That is a staggering self-inflicted wound, and defaulting would have been even worse.
Thankfully, that didn’t happen.
Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell were able to find the will and come together to provide a path forward that averted default.
Their bipartisan legislation passed on October 16, and it pulled us back from the brink.
It created a conference committee to negotiate a budget compromise, and it gave the President the power to suspend the debt limit until early February.
It also gave Senators an opportunity to object and overturn the suspension using what’s called a “resolution of disapproval.”
That’s what we are considering here today.
I strongly urge my colleagues to reject this resolution. For the good of our economy, it cannot pass.
Passing this resolution would plunge this nation back into the same economic crisis we were facing just two weeks ago.
And with economic confidence still suffering from the shutdown, another debt ceiling crisis could drive the nation – and the world – back into recession.
We cannot let that happen. It’s time to be responsible leaders.
Congress needs to stop governing from one self-created crisis to the next.
Tomorrow, the budget conference committee will begin discussions on a plan to resolve the fiscal challenges before us.
The conference will be led by Chairman Murray and Chairman Ryan. They are smart, hard-working and solutions-oriented, and I’m confident they can craft a compromise.
I began my remarks with a quote from President Roosevelt, and I’ll close with another.
Roosevelt once said: “The great test for us in our time is whether all the groups of our people are willing to work together for continuing progress.”
Today, we face our test.
I strongly urge Members of the Senate to reject the resolution before us. It is a step backward, a return to shutdowns and showdowns. Enough is enough.
Instead, we must find the will to work together for progress — for the good of our economy, and the good of our country.
Thank you and I yield the floor.