WASHINGTON, December 31 -


Mr. Speaker, ``We don't have a trillion-dollar debt because we haven't taxed enough; we have a trillion-dollar debt because we spend too much.'' That was Ronald Reagan in 1982.

President Reagan went on to lead America out of a recession, but history has a way of repeating itself. Somehow, Washington never gets the message, and here we are, 30 years later on the brink of another crisis on New Year's Eve, still addicted to spending money. Now we are over $16 trillion in debt. President Reagan's words and principles remain true today, and they were true when he said them: the problem is spending money.

Mr. Speaker, the American people know this. Why doesn't the Federal Government and Congress understand it? Why? Because Washington is obsessed with spending someone else's money. It's the arrogance of power that Congress spends the people's money without regard to how this obsession affects those very people.

When American families are in debt, they sacrifice and they cut spending, whether that means taking one less family vacation or fewer presents under the Christmas tree.

Homes across the fruited plain are feeling the pain of the economic squeeze in their wallets, and they adjust accordingly, because that's what happens when times are tough. American families don't have a limited credit card like Congress does.

The people are angry because they wonder why reckless Washington can't do the same. I hear that message every day from southeast Texans. These citizens are wiser than the tax-and-spendocrats here in Washington, D.C. Let me share a few of those straight-talking Texans' words with you.

Michael says this:

You can't have the cookies without the milk. Tax reform and spending cuts, not one without the other.

Hubert from Baytown, Texas, says this:

Our children and grandchildren will have to recover from reckless spending. Washington has a spending problem, not a taxing problem.

Jeff says:

You don't become fiscally responsible by continued increases in your credit card spending limit. Folks in Congress need to quit running from the hard choices and stop burying our children and grandchildren in debt.

David from Humble, Texas, said this:

This isn't really rocket science. Stop spending money we don't have, cut back on what we do spend, and stop sending money to our enemies.

Now there's a novel idea.

Paul from Beaumont said this:

We do not have a revenue problem; instead, we have a spending problem.

And it's been a spending problem for a long time.

Larry said:

If I'm out of cash, I stop spending. Perhaps Congress should do the same thing that I do in my house. When I don't have enough money, I quit spending. But Congress has its own printing press backed by the Chinese.

Ashley says:

Spending must be stopped. Just taking more from Americans will not fix this problem. Even if my direct taxes are not affected here, my employer's are. So what will that mean for me in the long run? I'm afraid I'm going to find out.

Yes, Ashley, you're going to find out here on New Year's Eve.

Jimmy from Crosby, Texas, says:

I'm fed up with them never agreeing to a budget and spending like there is no tomorrow. This out-of-control action has got to stop.

And, finally, Renee from Crosby, Texas, said:

Please demand that spending be cut; fraud, waste, and abuse in government spending be addressed before any new taxes be forced upon hardworking Americans.

Mr. Speaker, the American people, they actually do get it--at least those people who work and pay taxes. The backbone of America--the workers of America--say stop the spending obsession.

Mr. Speaker, the problem is spending. We got here by spending too much, not by taxing too little. We're going off the cliff with our pockets full of somebody else's money.

And that's just the way it is.