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History of Debt Limit Increases
Posted by on October 14, 2013

“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure.  It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills.  It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally.  Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.  America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”

-       Then-U.S. Senator- Obama in 2006
(He voted against the debt ceiling increase)

Despite the more than $6 trillion that’s been added to the debt on his watch, President Obama initially insisted he “will not negotiate” in a bipartisan way. While the President publically maintained that he was not negotiating on the debt limit, he finally met with House Republicans last week.

In divided government, not all sides will agree on everything, but they must work together. Efforts to reduce America's debt and deficit have been coupled with the debt limit debate under previous president’s including, Presidents Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Clinton – and, even President Obama in 2011. 

Debt-Limit History:

According to the Congressional Research Service, Congress has voted 53 times from 1978 to 2011 to change the debt ceiling.

o   Of those 53 votes, 29 occurred in a Congress run by Democrats

o   17 votes occurred in a split Congress

o   7 votes occurred in a Republican-controlled Congress

Of the 53 increases in the debt limit, 26 of those votes were “clean” with no strings attached.  The remaining votes were part of an omnibus package of other legislative bills, and other times the debt limit was paired with reforms.  One out of every four of these votes occurred when control of Congress was divided between the two parties.

Below are examples, courtesy of the Speaker’s office, of spending cuts and reforms included in debt limit agreements signed by previous presidents include:

March 1996 Debt Limit Agreement (Signed by President Bill Clinton)

o   Raised debt limit from $4.9 trillion to $5.5 trillion

o   Included:

  • Congressional Review Act (CRA) for Regulations
  • Senior Citizens' Right to Work Act of 1996 - Amends title II (Old-Age, Survivors and Disability Insurance) (OASDI) of the Social Security Act (SSA) to provide, through adjustments in the monthly exempt amount, for increases in the amounts of allowable earnings under the social security earnings limit for individuals who have attained retirement age.
  • A Series of Small Business Regulatory Relief Proposals


November 1990 Debt Limit Agreement (Signed by President George H.W. Bush)

o   Raised the debt limit from $3.123 trillion to $4.145 trillion

o   Included:

  • Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Deal, including major changes in 13 areas:

-       Title I. Agriculture and related programs.

-       Title II. Banking, housing, and related programs.

-       Title III. Student loans and labor provisions.

-       Title IV. Medicare, Medicaid, and other health-related programs.

-       Title V. Income security, human resources, and related programs.

-       Title VI. Energy and environmental programs.

-       Title VII. Civil service and postal service programs.

-       Title VIII. Veterans' programs.

-       Title IX. Transportation.

-       Title X. Miscellaneous user fees and other provisions.

-       Title XI. Revenue provisions.

-       Title XII. Pensions.

-       Title XIII. Budget enforcement.

  • Discretionary Caps


November 1989 Debt Limit Agreement (Signed by President George H.W. Bush)

o   Raised the debt limit from $2.8 trillion to $3.123 trillion

o   Included:

  • A repeal of non-discrimination requirement for group health insurance enacted in 1986


September 1987 Debt Limit Agreement (Signed by President Ronald Reagan)

o   Raised the debt limit from $2.111 trillion to $2.8 trillion

o   Included:

  • The Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Reaffirmation Act of 1987, which
  • Revised the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Deficit Reduction Procedures
  • Made Other Budget Process Reforms


December 1985 Debt Limit Agreement (Signed by President Ronald Reagan)

o   Raised the debt limit from $1.824 trillion to $2.079 trillion

o   Included:

  • The Gramm-Rudman-Hollings Budget Reforms including deficit targets and sequestration
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Honoring Our Fallen Military Members
Posted by on May 27, 2013

Each Memorial Day, our nation gathers to remember our fallen service men and women and to give thanks for their heroic, selfless acts for our nation.  From wars fought on our own soil, to the wars fought around the world, through their bravery and commitment the United States has prevailed and we remain united.

May God bless our service men and women – past and present – and their families for the many sacrifices they have made to protect the freedoms and liberties that we as Americans hold so dear. 

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Pray for Boston
Posted by on April 16, 2013
I was shocked and saddened to hear the news of yesterday's horrific act of violence in Boston. The whole House of Representatives yesterday offered a moment of silence, and we continue to offer our thoughts and prayers to the victims and their loved ones. I’d like to extend my gratitude to the first responders, public safety officers, and members of our law enforcement who selflessly and bravely answered the call for help during this time of need.  Amidst this sad time, our country stands together, showing our unwavering spirit and devotion to this great nation and its people.

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Tax Day
Posted by on April 15, 2013

Tax day is a stark reminder to hardworking Americans of the burden of our current tax code and will spend on average 13 hours to prepare to pay for their taxes.  Our tax code is almost four million words long.  It is too complicated, too time-consuming, and too costly.

While the President continues to push for higher taxes, Republicans are committed to comprehensive tax reform. With the economy still struggling to grow, we need to work towards a fairer, simpler tax code that will help create a stronger economy, create jobs, and put more of Americans’ hard-earned cash back in their pockets.


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The True Price of Obamacare
Posted by on March 08, 2013

A joint, bicameral report released this week by Congressional Republicans outlines estimated increases in health care premiums for some Americans, specifically young adults and the middle class, when major provisions of President Obama’s health care law go into effect next year. Analysis from the report projects an increase in Ohio health care premiums between 55 to 106 percent.

The report points to several provisions within the Obamacare that will place upward pressure on premiums, including the $165 billion in new taxes and fees on health plans, drug manufacturers, and device makers. Along with Ohio, 12 other states could see premiums double in the individual market. We need common-sense health care solutions, not a one-size fits all government mandate.

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Producing a Budget
Posted by on February 06, 2013

For the fourth time in five years the president has missed the legal deadline to submit his budget request for the upcoming fiscal year. The Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 requires the president to submit his budget request to Congress for the upcoming fiscal year no later than the first Monday of February. In addition to the president missing the deadline to submit a budget, it has been almost four years since the Senate has passed a budget. Hardworking taxpayers across Ohio and the nation have budgets and Congress should have one too. 

The House has put forth solutions and passed two legislative measures this year: H.R. 325, the No Budget, No Pay Act and H.R. 444, the Require a Plan Act. 

 Photo courtesy of the House Republican Conference.

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Imperial Presidency
Posted by on January 18, 2013

In nearly four years, President Obama has circumvented Congress by issuing 147 executive orders, and according to a recent report from the American Action Forum, his administration has issued nearly $500 billion in regulations during his first term.

Under the Obama administration hardworking taxpayers, farmers, and other job creators have endured an excessive onslaught of government regulations, implemented by unelected bureaucrats, and that do not receive full consideration of basic industry concerns such as compliance costs and feasibility. A report from the Small Business Administration estimated that total regulatory costs amount to $1.75 trillion annually.

The Office of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor produced a report titled, The Imperial Presidency, to highlight the Obama administration’s unprecedented regulatory overreach. The report outlines over 40 examples of how the administration has skirted the legislative process to advance its own agenda.

We must continue to work towards commonsense, pro-growth policies that rein in the massive federal overregulation and out-of-control spending, as well as lowers taxes to fuel job growth and strengthen our economy.

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Spending is the Problem
Posted by on December 21, 2012

This chart, courtesy of the House Budget Committee, clearly shows that even with the president's proposed tax hike, these increased taxes alone won’t address our crippling national debt. We can no longer ignore this serious problem facing our nation – we need real spending reforms to promote job creation and restore economic prosperity.

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Honoring Our Veterans
Posted by on November 12, 2012

As America honors our veterans today, I would like to extend my gratitude and appreciation to all veterans who have answered the call of service to our great country and fought to defend the values, liberties, and freedoms that we as Americans hold so dear.  They are true heroes for the sacrifices they and their families have made, and on this day of national observance, let us all take a moment to thank a veteran for his or her service and remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving our country.  

George Washington who once said, "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive the Veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by their nation."

That is why I believe it is so imperative that we preserve the stories of the brave men and women who served our country so that our future generations can better understand the risks and sacrifices that were made to protect our freedoms and liberties.  This Veterans Day, I’d encourage you to check out the Veterans History Project, sponsored by the Library of Congress. Through this nationwide project, personal stories from America’s war veterans and those American civilians who served in support of them are collected and preserved.  More about the project can be found here:

As always, if there is anything I can do for the veterans of the Fifth Congressional District, do not hesitate to contact me. You may reach my Washington, D.C. office by phone at (202) 225-6405, or my District office at (800) 541-6446 for constituent services.

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Information on Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief
Posted by on November 08, 2012
Our fellow Americans in New York, New Jersey, and throughout the region continue to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. For information on how to help those who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy, you can contact the Red Cross online at or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).  Thank you to our first responders, public safety and law enforcement officers, nurses, doctors, and volunteers who are working tirelessly to assist those affected by the hurricane. 
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