Responding to President Donald Trump touching on the national debt in his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night, on Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., took to the House floor to weigh in on the issue. His speech is below:
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to discuss one of the most serious issues facing the United States – the staggering national debt that will reach $20 trillion this month, or $62,715 per person living in our country.
While the national debt grew over $9 trillion under President Obama, we now have an opportunity here in this Congress to work together with the new administration to propose and debate solutions that will address our country's debt and get our fiscal house back in order.
Every day, families across my district sit around the dinner table and make tough decisions about how they'll spend their money. Most stick to their budgets because they don't have a choice, and their government should be no different.
In 2015, I was proud to support a two-year bipartisan budget agreement that implemented new caps on discretionary spending for both fiscal years 16 and 17. Too often enormous sums are wasted due to unpredictable budget cycles and government shutdown threats.
With the adoption of this two-year budget Congress was able to reduce wasteful spending by providing certainty to agencies as they plan for the future. The budget also included reforms to entitlement programs, which is the largest percentage of national debt. It's important that we protect programs like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the invaluable safety net for those who need the help, while working to implement reforms to make these programs solvent for future generations.
Mr. Speaker, my constituents sent me back to Washington to continue to build consensus with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to advance solutions that will rein in our national debt, and that's exactly what I plan to do. It is our duty as elected officials to leave our children and grandchildren with the same economic opportunities as previous generations, and that will continue to be one of my main priorities here in Congress.
U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., was first elected to Congress in 2014.