Madam President, I also want to acknowledge the new Senator from Illinois and thank him for the time. But I also want to acknowledge the senior Senator from Illinois who is here, who just spent the last few months serving honorably on the debt commission on the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility.
They came out with some recommendations. A number of us in this Chamber, while we may not support every one and disagree with some of them, think that is something we must pursue. As they wrote in their report, ``Every modest sacrifice that we refuse to make today only forces far greater sacrifices of hope and opportunity upon the next generation.''
They are right. The longer we wait, the more wrenching the choices become. And guess who is going to have to make those painful choices. It is our children and our children's children. But you know what else. It is ourselves. As the Senator from California pointed out about an hour ago, 6 percent--6 percent--of our spending is interest on that debt.
So there are some commonsense suggestions in that report. That is what we have to do next year. When you look at this idea, people making over $250,000, the fact that going back to the Clinton levels--the Clinton tax levels--when our country was incredibly prosperous, that that would bring in $700 billion to bring down the debt, that is why the majority of the people in this country, the vast majority of the people in this country, want to see it as one of the options for the long term.
For the short term, we know that our country is still in a fragile state. We know we cannot sock the middle class with a $3,000 tax increase. We know that we have 200 million who are unemployed, through no fault of their own, who are still looking for work. That is why we are passing this bill tonight.
But beyond that, as we go to the next year, we must work together, as you see what is going on today in a bipartisan way, to put a plan in place. Because the markets will respond to that. It will be good for our economy. We will show we mean business, and we will not turn into one of those countries overseas that is experiencing what they are experiencing now because they did not make that long-term commitment.
I yield the floor.