Mikulski Urges Fast Action to Avoid Fiscal Cliff; End to Culture of Decay

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) today spoke on the Senate floor to urge swift action to avoid the fiscal cliff and bring an end the culture of delay in order to restore confidence on Main Street and Wall Street.

“[W]e need a sense of urgency about solving the fiscal cliff. We need to end the culture of delay in this institution,” Senator Mikulski said. “We need to show that we can govern ourselves and we can put ourselves on a sound fiscal path with the right combination of growth, frugality and ensuring a safety net to the most vulnerable of our citizens. So I’m here to say to my colleagues from both sides of the aisle, both sides of the Dome and even the White House, let’s get the job done.”

Senator Mikulski’s full remarks, as delivered, follow:

“I rise to say we need a sense of urgency about solving the fiscal cliff. We need to end the culture of delay in this institution.

“I’m very concerned that as we talk about solving the problems of the fiscal cliff, there is this whole dynamic going on, there is this whole patina going on; from the staff level to Senators people are saying ‘oh, we’re going to be here until Christmas Eve.’

“I think that is a disaster. I think it’s a disaster for our economy. I think it’s a disaster for our demonstration of our ability to govern. And I think it’s a disaster for our standing in the world. We need to show that we can govern ourselves and we can put ourselves on a sound fiscal path with the right combination of growth, frugality and ensuring a safety net to the most vulnerable of our citizens.

“So I’m here to say to my colleagues from both sides of the aisle, both sides of the Dome and even the White House, let’s get the job done.

“I propose we really conscientiously work hard to make sure that we have a framework that we could vote on by the weekend of December 16. Why do I want December 16 as a deadline? It’s Sunday. Some have said let’s have a Small Business Week. We have had Cyber Mondays. Let’s have a strong economic closing the week before Christmas.

“My point is this. If we show that we could govern and actually pass a bill by Sunday, December 16, that really does exactly what I said; show that we have a sense of frugality and are on a path forward with solving our issues around debt and also have the elements that promote growth and ensure a safety net for the most vulnerable, we could do three things.

“First, we could show that we could govern. That would really be very big in the public’s mind. It would be important to the public and it would be important to the world, particularly those that lend us money. It would be an enormous sense of boosting consumer confidence.

“Nine days before Christmas, we would show that we are on the way to solving our problems. And for those who benefit from either federal employment or contracts with the federal government, there would be stability in their employment. I can also tell you that we would have a floor on the stock market and we might even have a jump in the stock market.

“Just one-third of Americans believe Congress can be counted on to behave like responsible adults. Only one-third of the people believe that. They see no compromise or cooperation. They have seen lip service. We need not to be trading pet rocks over what we need to do, and we shouldn’t throw them either. We have to come together, both sides of the aisle, both sides of the Dome with the White House.

“We do not lack in ideas. The content for a solution is not new. We have had excellent people working on this. We have seen Simpson-Bowles in a report. Domenici-Rivlin. Wise heads giving us good ideas. We have had the Super Committee that fleshed out a lot of these issues and know where the disagreements are. We have had the Gang of Six. We have had the Gang of Eight. Let’s get to the Gang of 100 and pass this bill. I would be happy with the Gang of 51. We don’t lack in ideas. We need the will and momentum to get this job done.

“Now, my principles are simple and straightforward. One, let us have a sense of urgency. Two, make sure that when we look at cuts that we count the cuts that we have already done. For example, the $900 billion we have done in the Budget Control Act. Because that would also include the $450 billion we have done in defense spending, the kinds of issues we’ve talked about here. Let’s also count the $500 billion that we did in reforming Medicare during health care reform.

“We’ve had good words. Now we need good deeds and swift action. Just think what it would mean to reach an agreement by December 16. Unlock to avoid a sequester. Think about what a signal this would be to middle class people on Main Street and also the people on Wall Street. Because business would have a certainty, we would have consumer confidence, and we could have a new self-confidence about ourselves that we could govern.

“I represent a great state that has an innovation economy, both from the federal government and its great federal labs like NIH to its great national security areas like Cyber Command at Fort Meade. Yes, they would be devastated by a sequester. So would our contractors, both defense and civilians. Great iconic institutions like Hopkins would take a big, big, big hit – and not only research and development, but in providing care to the needy, care to the desperate who come from all over the country to get help for a sick child or an aging relative, or to get eyesight restored at the Wilmer Eye Clinic.

“Sure, I’m standing up for jobs in Maryland, but I’m trying to stand up for America. We need to show we can govern and we cannot wait until December 24. That somehow or another this is going to be Santa Claus. Because if we don’t act soon, we’re going to get rocks in our socks, and they would be well deserved.”


  1. Really says

    The best thing she could do to fix this would be to retire from Congress. She has rubber-stamped yes to just about every spending bill ever. Sorry Babs, we are broke, its your fault, now its time to pay the piper.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 11 Thumb down 6
  2. HYDESMANN says

    Hey Babs, where have you been for the past several years? Glad you woke up.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4
  3. Jtownejeff says

    I’m going to let you all in on a little secret: there is no ‘fiscal cliff’. If Congress does nothing, and tax cuts expire and spending cuts are made as designated, we will not fall off of some hyperbolic cliff. It would be equivilant to a stubbed toe; a paper cut.

    Let the cliff come! And in 6 months when people have adjusted, set the framework for another cliff next year. and go off that cliff too.

    People, we are $16 TRILLION in debt. That is not a trivial number. That figure is exponentially higher if you count unfunded liabilities to Medicare, SSI, federal pensions, etc.,

    This is not revenue problem, and it never has been. It’s a spending problem. Congressmen have been essentially buying votes since before most of us existed, and it needs to stop. I’d estimate that over half of the federal budget is outside of the constitutional bounderies of the federal government.

    Let the cliff come! My family will feel the sting too, but we will survive. And so will all of you.

    Jeff Beck

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3
    • CDEV says

      You are absolutely correct. The reason we hear about is a cliff is that neither side wants the deal they made to reduce spending and raise revenue to help balance the budget. In fact this is exactly what is going to have to happen every year in order to balance the budget. It is the same thing Clinton did to balance the budget. Will it make things tight and slow down growth…..yes but in the end we will be better off! I personally do not mind paying $2,000 more in taxes that come with spending reductions to help balance the budget.

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      • Because says

        I agree, an extra eighty dollars a pay period is a small price to pay for solvency, although it should be accompanied by Defense Cuts back to the levels before 2001. There is absolutely no reason to maintain this size of a force unless you intend to borrow your way to world domination. Let someone else take the lead, only hubris demands that we pay to police the world by ourselves.

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        • B says

          Defense spending is less then 20% of the budget. Entitlements are over 60% and growing fast.

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          • Because says

            Less than 20% of the US Budget and ten times more than anything budgeted by any other country on the planet. Tell me – do you enjoy pushing people round just so you can have one third of the energy consumed here and $3.29 gas? Pretty selfish and arrogant.

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          • Common Sense says

            Because you’re an idiot.

            Because you believe in liberal/progressive claptrap.

            Because you are financially and economically illiterate.

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          • CDEV says

            Defense was 24% last year of total SPENDING……but I could not find a source where entitlements where 60% of the budget! Please cite a source for me!

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          • B says

            Solid position Because. You don’t want to take resources from other countries, but the policies you support wont allow us energy independence. Very rational.

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          • Because says

            B. I would prefer not to be the most arrogant, most selfish thoughtless, clueless, willful country on the planet, despised by friend and foe alike.

            What are you shooting for with your defense dollars? Did you want fear or respect?

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          • B says

            Wont have to take them Cdev, they will collapse under their own weight soon enough if changes aren’t made. Other then being unconstitutional, I don’t have a problem with what either program is intended to do. The problem is that both have become nothing more then government sponsored pyramid schemes and generational theft.

            I think defense should be cut, it just shouldn’t be the only program mentioned BECAUSE some don’t have the courage to really take on the problem.

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    • My Share says

      Not all of us will weather it quite so well.
      You can pay my share.
      I didn’t borrow the money or spend it.
      Thank our parents for that and let them pay it back.

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        • Common Sense says

          Because is an imbecile.

          Because can’t do basic math.

          Because is a liberal/progressive who hates
          anyone who has $1.00 more than he has.

          Because just doesn’t get it.

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          • Because says

            And you live in a singularly retarded piece of the world with an outlook that everyone else needs to bend to your will because you are driven by love of God and country and “Damn it” a Conservative.

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          • Common Sense says

            Because you’re weak minded, naive and oblivious.

            Because I believe you can be religious, agnostic or atheist.

            Because it’s about economics and finances.

            Because you can’t tax enough to meet needs of government and it’s about the needs of the people.

            Because it is about liberty and economic freedom. You can’t have one without the other.

            Because you assume too much.

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  4. Fed Up says

    The smurf can help us all out by simply saying “I quit” along with many of her colleagues. All because the electorate is too stupid to get rid of the campaignocrats who created and perpetuate our fiscal problems.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 8 Thumb down 3
    • Amazed. says

      Babs has been at the whole politicocampaignspeak for so long now I doubt she is capable of having a conversation with a real human being… I picture her alone at dinner: “We have to cut away the bone from this steak, quit deliberating about the fat around the edges and get down to the real crux of the situation – dessert is waiting… and not just any dessert, but one for the people, the people’s dessert… one where they know we’re there for them from Main Street to Wall Street… where’s my Sea Bond?” blah, blah, Blah… Babs, you and the rest of Congress are caricatures of real humans making decisions that affect real people’s lives as if you actually live real lives yourselves.

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  5. The Money Tree says

    The truth that nobody will admit to is it’s too late regardless. It was too late when they passed the “war on poverty” programs of the 60′s – somehow the government from 1920 to today, in a single generation has managed to ruin our country. It laid a groundwork for a series of expenditures with an unsustainable trajectory that will overwhelm this nation. We may be 16T in debt right now, but if you include all the federal and state promises to those folks currently alive – each citizens, each federal employees, each retiree and everyone who will end up in Obamacare it’s more like 78T – that dog won’t hunt. We’re going off far more than a fiscal cliff – this thing will implode regardless of what they decide to do this year. A bandaid won’t work on a compound fracture. Confiscating the wealth of the top 1% will pay for about 8 days of government spending using 16T as a guidepost…and if you look at the future realistically this thing is sinking.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
  6. The Money Tree says

    Slight correction – the unfunded liability total is actually 87T right now; in understandable terms that’s $550,000 per every american alive including those born this moment and it represents 550% of our entire GDP. The politicians showboat over billions trying to win a war of public opinion knowing full well this party has been over for a long, long time. Right now it’s just as matter of who gets stuck when the thing goes down. Like a sick game of hot potato; they’re busy dressing up the potato like it’s palatable but it’s already an enormous turd. Keep your weapons handy.

    Well-loved. Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
    • Late in the game says

      Very sadly and unwillingly I have to agree with most of what you say this time.

      Welcome to the dystopia.

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  7. Marc A Eaton says

    Liberals don’t want us policing the world but have no problem sending our hard earned tax payer money all over the world to people who hate us.

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  8. B says

    If fast action means accepting the joke of a proposal that Obama started off with, then I’m ready to jump.

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  9. metta world peace says

    the unfunded liability number doesn’t take into account revenues received, just the cost of providing these benefits. We do have an spending problem and lack of revenue problem but our biggest problem is realizing that we need more revenue and also need to cut military spending, buying warplanes and ships that are not needed and cut our defense budget in half to still fund national defense, not foreign defense. Let’s cut corporate welfare and go after the tax cheats ie, Mitt Romney types that take the $$$ offshore accounts and pay a nominal tax rate of 13% on millions while I pay a tax rate of 26% on my income of 89k/yr. Republican’ts lost the election and the argument so work with us or be prepared to lose more seats in the next election in 2 yrs.

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    • B says

      Do you really believe that the government is all of a sudden going to do the right thing with the added “revenue,” and cut spending and pay down debt?

      What argument do you claim that you won? Obama ran on taxing the rich more, and Republicans are racist. No ideas, no hope and no change.

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