Freedom First Society

Issue: H.Res.  716 — Several. Includes S. 1301 Debt Limit Increase Plus Lesser Matters. Question: On Agreeing to the Resolution.  1301 Deceptive Vehicle: Promoting Physical Activity for Americans Act.

Result:  Passed, 219 to 206, 7 not voting.  Agreed to by the Senate (Senate Vote 412, 10-7-21).  Became Public Law 117-50 (signed by the President, 10-14-21). Dems only scored.

Freedom First Society:   The Debt Limit increase portion of H.Res. 716 raised the limit by $480 Billion. (Expected to last only until the middle of this December, so another effort is underway.)

We do not score the Republicans on this one for their easy posturing opposition vote.

We have assigned (good vote) to the Nays and (bad vote) to the Yeas. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)

Bill Summary (Congressional Research Service):

Shown Here:
Introduced in House (10/12/2021)

Sets forth the rule for consideration of the bill (H.R. 2119) to amend the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act to make improvements; providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 3110) to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to expand access to breastfeeding accommodations in the workplace, and for other purposes; providing for consideration of the bill (H.R. 3992) to amend the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 to prohibit employers from limiting, segregating, or classifying applicants for employment; relating to consideration of the Senate amendment to the House amendment to the bill (S. 1301) to provide for the publication by the Secretary of Health and Human Services of physical activity recommendations for Americans.  [S. 1301 is a deceptive vehicle to raise the debt limit.]

Freedom First Society Analysis:  We’re constantly told that it’s unthinkable for the government not to pay its debts on time.  But apparently it’s not unthinkable to spend beyond our means and incur ever-increasing debt we cannot afford.

It’s important to recognize the orchestrated media betrayal — the option of serious federal rollbacks is not allowed in the “public discussion.”   The public rarely hears from “experts” warning us that we must curb unconstitutional spending to avoid bankrupting the nation.  Or explaining that eliminating such spending would lead to unprecedented national prosperity and even improved opportunity for the recipients of “unconstitutional” government welfare? The real problem — unconstitutional government is not mentioned.  If the federal government were limited by the Constitution, in normal times there would be no serious problem with deficits (and at current tax levels, there would be surpluses to begin retiring the national debt).

The Compromise Trap
The Insiders controlling the Establishment media would have us believe that bipartisan compromise is a necessary virtue.   But compromise among socialists is no path to freedom and prosperity.   Instead, an informed public must force the House to use its power of the purse to eliminate unconstitutional programs and spending

This power is poorly recognized today.  James Madison, often recognized as the “father of the Constitution,” emphasized in Federalist No. 58 that a simple majority in the House alone has the power to bring government under control:

“The House of Representatives cannot only refuse, but they alone can propose the supplies requisite for the support of government.  They, in a word, hold the purse — that powerful instrument … [for reducing] … all the overgrown prerogatives of the other branches of government.  This power over the purse may, in fact, be regarded as the most complete and effectual weapon with which any constitution can arm the immediate representatives of the people, for obtaining a redress of every grievance, and for carrying into effect every just and salutary measure.”

The House hasn’t exercised that authority in recent times because no simple majority has, or can acquire on its own, the desire and backbone to do so.  Such a majority would have to stand up to the Conspiracy’s grip on the parties and withstand its dominating influence on public opinion.

Realistically, the necessary backbone must come from an informed, engaged electorate following new, principle-based leadership, provided through a new channel of communications.

Bankrupt Bipartisan Politics
Of particular urgency, we must wake up our fellow citizens to the reality that BOTH parties are happy to give us more of the poison, i.e., even greater unconstitutional spending, to address the debt ceiling crises:

Indeed, both parties proclaim their partisanship while in reality negotiating to continue business as usual.  Phasing out fedgov’s massive unconstitutional spending is simply not on the negotiating table.

The Principled Position
Those Congressmen seeking to act responsibly should set the example by refusing to vote for any increase in the debt ceiling unless coupled with a reliable commitment to phase out unconstitutional spending.  Of course, there is currently insufficient support in Congress for such a responsible move.  Members of Freedom First Society seek to change that climate.

In the meantime, representatives should resist the claim of Congressional leaders that continuing business as usual is the only alternative to an unacceptable government shutdown and damaging credit default.  In fact, business as usual is the only alternative the leaders are offering, but that is the leaders’ fault.  The leaders should be forced to take responsibility for not offering alternatives that can be supported.

As examples of unjustified pressure to go along, consider these statements made during the pseudo debates earlier:

Rep. Richard E.Neal (D-Mass.):
Madam Speaker, one of the essential duties of Congress is to preservethe full faith and credit of the United States. Today, we will once again take action to do precisely that.

A suspension of the debt ceiling will prevent us from defaulting on debt we already owe. This is not about new spending. It is about investments that this Congress has agreed to in the past and previously approved….

Our vote today is not a novel exercise. Congress has addressed the debt limit 78 times since 1960 to prevent default, 29 times with a Democrat in the White House and 49 times with a Republican in the White House…. [FFS: Yes, but that illustrates a Congress out of control!]

Rep. Kevin Brady (R – Texas):
Madam Speaker, today’s debt ceiling issue is a political and economic crisis of the Democrats’ own making. They have known for 2 years this day was coming. They never even bothered to draft a budget for the government, much less pass it, and never lifted a finger to start the bipartisan discussions on how to raise the debt ceiling while addressing America’s exploding national debt.

They have insisted on one-party rule all year, from an unnecessary, wasteful $2 trillion COVID stimulus that didn’t stimulate the economy or defeat the virus to a national takeover of State and local elections, bailouts of failing State and local governments, ignoring the humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border, and the disastrous surrender to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

House Democrats have made it clear: We are running the place. Just sit down and shut up. [FFS: Deceptive party politics at work. It’s not just a Democrat problem.]

The bottom line on the debt ceiling today: Democrats alone have set fire to America’s house and are now demanding Republicans put it out for them.   I urged Treasury Secretary Yellen, who I respect [FFS: A Council on Foreign Relations Insider] and who has bipartisan credibility, to do what the congressional Democrats have not: engage with Republicans on a reasonable framework of financial stability for our Nation….

Democrats control everything–the House, the Senate, and the Presidency–and they can easily pass the debt ceiling by including it in their $3 1/2 trillion tax hikes and welfare state expansion, which requires no Republican votes.    Again, considering Democrats have not had a single conversation about spending, stimulus, or the debt with us to date, I think they, by their behavior, have taken responsibility to pass this by themselves.   It is irresponsible to keep raising the debt limit, keep on spending without any framework, or any discussion about this explosion of America’s debt.

Rep.Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.):
Madam Speaker, as you recall, last week, House Democrats honored our responsibility to the American people by voting on lifting the debt ceiling and on a continuing resolution to keep government open to avoid a devastating shutdown. Not one Republican voted to lift the debt ceiling or to keep government open, even though there were very important measures to address the needs of people affected by Ida and to help us help the evacuees from Afghanistan, and other issues in there of concern to all Americans.

We all know the full faith and credit of the United States should not be questioned. This is in the Constitution. In the Fourteenth Amendment, Section 4, states: “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, shall . . . not be questioned.”…. [FFS: Boo on the destructive Fourteenth Amendment.]

Let’s just talk about the consequences. Our distinguished chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means talked about what it meant in people’s personal lives. And that is really what we are here about, for people in their personal lives, their financial and health security.

The consequences of not lifting the debt ceiling would be catastrophic….

Yesterday, Secretary Yellen announced that by October 18, the Treasury is set to exhaust extraordinary measures and cash on hand, leading us barreling towards a default. This has been going on since the end of July when the debt limit expired.

Addressing the debt limit is not about future spending. This is about meeting the obligations that the American government has already incurred, including when we worked together on the bipartisan COVID relief legislation last December. Only 3 percent of the current debt that we are lifting the debt ceiling to accommodate has been accrued under President Biden….

Congress has addressed the debt limit 78 times, as the distinguished chairman mentioned, since 1960; 29 times with a Democrat in the White House; 49 times under a Republican President. [FFS: Yes, but that illustrates a Congress out of control!]

More recently, since 2011, each of the seven times that the debt limit was addressed, Congress did so on a bipartisan basis. This includes three times under the most recent former President when Democrats cooperated.  We did so because the full faith and credit of the United States of America cannot be questioned–the Constitution says that–and because of all of the consequences that would happen if we did not lift the debt ceiling.

Republicans’ refusal to support a suspension of the debt limit now is cynical, hypocritical, and downright dangerous. [FFS: Ignores the essential responsible alternative: to cut unconstitutional departments, programs, and spending. Pay off the debt. Don’t incur ever more as though that’s the way things should be.]

Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.): Madam Speaker, I rise today and oppose the Democrat’s latest socialist spending spree. [FFS: Deceptive party politics at work. It’s not just a Democrat problem.]

Today, the Federal Government presides over nearly $30 trillion in debt and $100 trillion of unfunded liabilities in Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid.  These catastrophic debts are growing increasingly unsustainable. And now the Democrats are using the debt ceiling as a blackmail to enable passage of an unaffordable so-called human infrastructure bill. I still don’t quite understand what that means, but maybe they will enlighten us during the debate.

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-Calif.):  Madam Speaker, I rise in support of this legislation.

Madam Speaker, our national debt rose $7.8 trillion under the last President, a Republican President. My Republican colleagues voted for that spending; raising the debt ceiling is about paying those bills. But my Republican colleagues who claim to be the party of fiscal responsibility don’t want to pay their bills.

Well, the Republicans are risking economic Armageddon to score political points against a Democratic President. If we don’t pass this bill, unemployment numbers will skyrocket, markets will tumble, Social Security payments will be delayed, borrowing costs will go up, so that means for car loans, for home loans, for farm loans–all of that, because of their irresponsibility–will be out of reach for most Americans. It will be acatastrophe.

Madam Speaker, it is time to stop playing games, political games, and raise the ceiling, as we have done many times before in a bipartisan way. [FFS: It is time for the people to demand that the Congress vote to roll back unconstitutional departments, programs, and spending.]

Rep. Carol Miller (R-West Viginia):  Madam Speaker, let us be clear. My colleagues across the aisle want to raise the debt ceiling to pay for their 3.5 trillion tax and spending spree.  In my home State of West Virginia and across the country, people are paying more for gas, groceries, and other everyday items because of the liberals’ reckless spending.

Taxpayers are sick of footing the bill for the terrible policies which continue to make the problem of inflation even worse.

Americans shouldn’t have to pay for the consequences of Democrats’ out-of-touch actions. Democrats are responsible for the spending, and they need to take responsibility for the borrowing. This entire Congress, House Democrats have chosen to go it alone and push through liberal items without any Republican input.

The liberals have managed to spend trillions by themselves. They can raise the debt ceiling alone, too. Socialism has a price tag. It is time the Democrats learn that lesson. [FFS: Deceptive party politics at work. It’s not just a Democrat problem.]

Rep. Jason Smith (R- Missouri): Unfortunately, for months Democrats have been pursuing a radical partisan agenda that contains the most expensive piece of legislation in the history of Congress, all while ignoring our Nation’s debt. Now they are scrambling….

Since you love to do everything else in reconciliation, why not to raise the people’s debt? You are spending it. It is time for you to get a loan for it. Folks, we are in a crisis right now. My counterpart on the House Budget Committee made the statement: We should raise the debt a gazillion dollars.  This is what we are dealing with, folks. The America people are fed up. They want fiscal accountability. We need a reasonable body in this House. 

Rep. Ron Estes (R-Kansas): Madam Speaker, I rise today to oppose this disastrous attempt to suspend the debt ceiling.  For the past 9 months, the Democrat-led House has made spending trillions of dollars on Big Government socialist and Green New Deal programs their priority. They have done this while ignoring so many critical needs of our country, which has led to a crisis at our southern border, runaway inflation, rising crime, workforce shortages, and a disastrous retreat from Afghanistan. [FFS: Deceptive party politics at work. It’s not just a Democrat problem.]

For the most part, my colleagues on the left have simply ignored these crises, while Republicans have introduced commonsense legislation and pushed the administration to answer for these very real and concerning issues.

But today we are facing a crisis by their own creation that they cannot ignore: suspending the debt ceiling when we already have $28 trillion in debt. Some of my colleagues have even suggested that we should abandon the debt limit altogether, giving the Federal Government no safeguards to prevent ballooning debt and damaging the United States’ credit rating.

Families, farmers, businesses, and even State and local governments have to live within their means and make responsible financial decisions to be successful, but the attitude in Washington continues to pass on massive debt to future generations in exchange for our current lifestyle.  But we aren’t looking at this debt crisis in a vacuum. We could be voting on $5.5 trillion in more spending soon if Speaker Pelosi can pull together her caucus.

Suspending the debt ceiling while also proposing trillions in new spending is reckless. Every American, adult and child, already bears the burden of about $85,000 each. Raising the debt ceiling is about future spending. An unlimited debt ceiling until December of 2022 would result in a massive increase in spending by the Democrats.

The last debt ceiling increase covered all of the spending done during the Trump administration and for the first 7 months of the Biden administration. We can’t just keep kicking the can down the road for future generations to figure out. We need to stop the reckless spending, taxing, and borrowing now. That is the best way to protect the full faith and credit of the United States.

Rep. Brian Higgins (D-New York):  Madam Speaker, the Republican Party is, in fact, the party of debt and deficit. Ronald Reagan, a Republican, grew the deficit to $152 billion. Bush 1, a Republican, grew that deficit to $290 billion. President Clinton, a Democrat, wiped out the entirety of the deficit and gave $128 billion surplus to Bush 2, a Republican, who turned that $128 billion surplus into a $1.4 trillion deficit. Obama, a Democrat, cut the Bush deficit of $1.4 trillion to $600 billion, from which Trump, a Republican, grew that deficit to $1 trillion. [FFS: Ronald Reagan was a phony media appointed conservative.]

Rep. Susan DelBene (D-Wash.):  The debt limit has long been a bipartisan issue. Each of the last seven times the debt limit has been addressed, it was on a bipartisan basis. [FFS: Bipartisanship doesn’t make it okay. It is time for the people to demand that the Congress vote to roll back unconstitutional departments, programs, and spending.] Putting politics ahead of the country is the exact kind of cynicism that makes American people sick. And as a former business leader, these are the games that keep our business community from being able to invest, to innovate, and grow.

So I say to my colleagues, it is your duty to extend the debt ceiling and protect the American people from an economic crash. The Joint Economic Committee, which we all depend on for advice and guidance, predicts a default will result in a lasting downgrade of America’s credit, drastically increasing costs for car loans, mortgages, student loans, and credit.

Rep. Jodey Arrington (R-Texas):  Madam Speaker, it is not our duty to raise the debt limit; it is our duty to not spend so recklessly and so egregiously and irresponsibly that we bankrupt this country, and we rob our children of their freedoms and the opportunities that we have all been blessed with as Americans. That is our duty. [FFS: Right on!]

I won’t give Republicans a pass on this, Madam Speaker. This place is broken. We play by a different set of rules–if we are honest–than the American people. The pay-fors just for the infrastructure bill are total jokes. It is a gimmick. It is Enron accounting scams. People in our country who operate that way would be thrown in prison. So we are all accountable.

But I have never seen this kind of spending spree to accelerate the curse that we are putting on the heads of our children. James Madison said: “. . . a public debt is a public curse, and in a Republican Government a greater curse than any other.”

Trillions of dollars have been spent. We were promised bipartisanship and restoration of unity in this place. We are jamming more bipartisan spending bills starting with COVID, which was a bailout of union pensions and which was a bailout of blue States and Democrat-run cities. Very little went to COVID. That is deception.

We are accelerating what Admiral Mullin said was the greatest threat to the United States. He said that the greatest threat to our national security was our national debt. So we promised the cradle-to-grave cash, entitlements, and more handouts without any regard to responsibility and without any requirement for work, and we are going to bankrupt the next generation. We are going to steal from them what we have enjoyed.

This is not a profile in courage.

Madam Speaker, I urge my colleagues to reconsider all of this spending that is bankrupting the country, and I urge them to vote “no” on the reconciliation bill. 

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Calif.): Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of doing what every adult is expected to do: pay their bills. That means raising the debt limit.

Let’s be clear: this is not about new spending. This has nothing to do with any of our plans for new investments in infrastructure. Those plans are all paid for through other means. When we raise the debt ceiling, it is so we can pay the bills for money we have already spent. That means the reason we need to raise the debt ceiling right now is to pay Donald Trump’s bills–which, as usual, he would rather leave unpaid.

Under the last administration, the deficit grew every year, totaling over $7 trillion in debt increases, requiring Congress to raise the debt ceiling three times.

Mr. Rep. Adrian Smith (R-Nebraska): Madam Speaker, I would like to state for the record the [earlier] remarks shared were inaccurate.

The fact of the matter is, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act actually resulted in more revenues to the Treasury. Let’s not forget that. And the fact of the matter is, a growing economy will do far more for the American people than new government programs that we can’t afford.

We are standing here now, and of course, I think we should make good on our debts and make good on our obligations. This bill is not the solution. Instead of focusing on basics of governing, the majority has chosen to spend the past 10 months kind of arguing here and there–a lot actually–first passing their $2 trillion inflation catalyst at the beginning of the year, and now arguing among themselves how to spend another $5 trillion.

This bill is clearly not the solution. This bill isn’t bipartisan. It was brought to the floor solely by Democrats and reflects their take-it-or-leave-it approach to governing. It does nothing to address our Nation’s spending problem. It is a blank check which allows the majority to spend as much as they want in the coming months unrestrained by a true debt limit for the duration of this Congress.

Democrats control government and can immediately raise the debt ceiling right now. There is a better way, however, than this particular bill.  Madam Speaker, I urge a “no” vote. 

Rep. Daniel Kildee (D-Michigan): We have passed action to address the debt limit 78 times–29 times with a Democrat in White House and 49 times with a Republican in the White House. In fact, when President Trump was in office, Democrats helped. We cooperated, and we helped to address this issue three times.

Rep. Brendan Boyle (D-Pennsylvania): Why do we constantly keep finding ourselves in this rather bizarre, counterproductive debate that achieves nothing?

We always know the debt ceiling is ultimately going to be raised.  [FFS: That needs to change.]

The question is: How much of a political game of chicken will we have to go through?

And that game of chicken comes at a real cost. The last time the United States came close to not raising the debt ceiling was exactly 10 years ago. The GAO found the cost at $1.3 billion, and, my God, just imagine if ever a miscalculation brought about an occasion in which by accident we truly didn’t raise the debt ceiling.

When on the Ways and Means Committee I asked Secretary Mnuchin what would happen, he replied that the consequences would be so dire he couldn’t even imagine them.

Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-Calif.): Madam Speaker, I rise because I have had enough of the games. I have had enough of the bad faith arguments and enough of the hypocrisy when it comes to the debt limit from the other side of the aisle.

Rep. Kevin Brady (R–Texas):  What a bunch of nonsense that we [earlier] heard. I respect the majority leader. I love his talk about courage and principle and language and all of that. But what he didn’t tell you was that in February of 2018, Speaker Pelosi, he, Whip Clyburn, 119 House Democrats, voted to shut down this government, to default on America’s debt, and deny hurricane assistance to communities not just in Texas, but across the country. He played politics with America’s debt. So did many Democrats that day.

While they lecture us about irresponsibility, here is what we do know. This is a dangerous, irresponsible charade. Democrats are desperate to blame the GOP for this when, in fact, they created this economic crisis.

For 2 years, our Democrat colleagues have known this day was coming and never even passed a budget. They didn’t even try to pass a budget to deal with this. They never sat down with Republicans. They have rammed everything through this House this year.

Now, even though they have all of the votes they need, they are just playing political games, willing to shut down this government, willing to deny disaster aid, willing to harm our economy and working families so they don’t have to raise this debt ceiling.

The truth is, they don’t want to. They can. They don’t want to. They are manufacturing this crisis. They have all the votes they need. They are willing to bring this economy to the brink. They have got all the votes they need. All they have to do is include it in reconciliation.

They just don’t want to. They just don’t want to….

Trust me, this isn’t just about past debts. This is about a green light to spend America deeper and deeper and deeper into debt.

To quote our Democrat leaders in 2018: “Republicans control the House, the Senate, and the White House. The responsibility to govern rests squarely on their shoulders.” Democrats control the House, the Senate, and the White House. This responsibility rests on their shoulders.

I will tell you, Madam Speaker, at the end of this debate, I intend to offer a motion to commit the bill to the Committee on Ways and Means and include a provision that would prohibit the IRS from implementing a bank surveillance scheme.

The reason I am doing this is because Democrats are leading a campaign to impose bank surveillance on your personal bank account and your business bank account. They are targeting families and farmers and America’s small businesses. They want to give the IRS unfettered access to individual and business bank accounts. It is an outrageous intrusion into the private lives of all Americans. And they want to do that because they think they can raise money to lift the SALT cap, to give tax breaks to millionaires, to create tax havens for billionaires against the very tax hikes that they are proposing. Penthouse occupants are cheering. The building janitor gets nothing.

This is why they don’t want to take responsibility for lifting the debt ceiling, because they have huge plans to really harm middle-class Americans while giving huge tax breaks to their friends.

When Democrats want to sit down with Republicans and have a serious conversation about how we raise the debt ceiling, how we address the financial stability of this country, let me tell you, I am in, a lot of us are in. I am hopeful someday we can get to that because that is what our country deserves. I will oppose this debt ceiling.

Madam Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to include the text of my amendment in the Record immediately prior to the vote on the motion to commit.


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