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Ranking Member Waters Testifies in Front of Rules Committee Calling Out Real Threat to U.S. Democracy, Economy: House Republicans

Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), the top Democrat on the House Committee on Financial Services, delivered the following testimony in front of the Rules Committee on the resolution entitled, “Denouncing the Horrors of Socialism.”

Thank you. Chairman Cole, Ranking Member McGovern and Members of the Committee, the American public is going to wonder why Republicans are wasting our time today with this divisive resolution instead of focusing on the real threats to our economy and democracy. I think that no one in this room would ever say glowing things about the atrocities committed by leaders like Pol Pot in Cambodia, Stalin in Russia, Mao Zedong in China, and Hitler across Europe. These dictators and their crimes against humanity have been well documented. 

Why don’t the Republicans focus on a real global threat—the rise of authoritarianism across the world. Vladimir Putin has illegally invaded Ukraine, pushing the world closer to nuclear war than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Kim Jong Un in North Korea continues to threaten his neighbors and us with nuclear bombs while impoverishing his own people. And Xi Jingping in China who recently consolidated power to remain leader for life, is pursuing policies that threaten to create a second cold war. 

These are real threats, Mr. Chairman, but this resolution does not condemn these threats. And notably, the leader of the Republican party, your leader, Donald Trump has actually praised all of these authoritarians. 

This resolution is instead as divisive as it is insulting to the American public. It is trying to suggest that Social Security, Medicare, even fire departments are anti-American. Guess what Mr. Chairman, the American public disagrees—70% of Americans want to protect Social Security and Medicare. 

None of this is surprising to me, nor is this blatant attempt by Republicans to try to scare Americans. But since Republicans won’t prioritize it, I’m going to talk about the biggest threat to our way of life, to our democracy and our economy.

Many of us in this room personally witnessed the biggest threat to our democracy. On January 6th after lying to the country that the election was stolen, President Trump called upon his supporters to violently overthrow the United States government. I was here with many of you when we saw an attempted insurrection take place just outside these doors. And the lies continue to be spread about what happened, including by some members of the House Republican caucus.

And the threat to our economy is not from policies like Social Security or Medicare, but from House Republicans who would seek to default on our debt rather than pay our seniors what is owed to them. In as few as 120 days from today, our country could face economic catastrophe, recession, and spiking interest rates because Republicans are basically seeking to cut Social Security, Medicare and other critical programs or force the government to default on its debt. In just four months, our nation’s seniors could stop receiving retirement payments, our nation’s servicemembers on the front lines could stop being paid, public health funding, including funds to stop pandemics, would evaporate, and our financial markets could grind to a halt. Mr. Chairman, all of these events would be solely the result of House Republicans forcing our government to default on its debt. 

Since 1960, Congress authorized the Treasury to pay the debt 78 times, 49 times under Republican Presidents and 29 times under Democratic Presidents. When Republican’s last controlled the House, they raised the debt by $7.8 trillion and increased the debt ceiling three times without blushing. The only difference now is that House Republicans are captured by a minority that want to burn it all down and our way of life with it.

Mr. Chairman, if House Republican leadership were really concerned about the economy, they would remove this resolution and instead they would simply ask a no vote and allow amendments instead of a closed rule. 

I yield back.


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