The Citizen's Petition reflects Vermont's spirit of pragmatism and across-the-board cooperation. I applaud the 'Campaign to Fix the Debt' for calling attention to one of the country's most pressing problems, our ballooning national debt, and for urging policymakers to find practical solutions.

— Peter Welch

The most sentimental Peter Welch quotes that are little-known but priceless

Last night, I had a telephone townhall for my constituents back in Vermont, and we had 11,500 people on it. And I had people on Social Security saying if getting fewer benefits will help us on the debt, they're for it. And I had a farmer saying that he's had subsidies for 35 years but we can't afford them anymore.

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America pays its bills. It always has. It always will. The fact that Washington is now debating whether to honor its debts and obligations, then, should come as a surprise. But playing political football with a necessary vote to raise the nation's debt ceiling has become as predictable as a Twitter rant from Charlie Sheen.

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I represent a rural state and live in a small town.

Small merchants make up the majority of Vermont's small businesses and thread our state together. It is the mom-and-pop grocers, farm-supply stores, coffee shops, bookstores and barber shops where Vermonters connect, conduct business and check in on one another.

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If you ask the question of Americans, should we pay our bills? One hundred percent would say yes. There's a significant misunderstanding on the debt ceiling. People think it's authorizing new spending. The debt ceiling doesn't authorize new spending; it allows us to pay obligations already incurred.

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You know, I think when you are unemployed, especially for a long time, it's hard to be inspired or hopeful almost about anything. So it's tough, especially when there has been such gridlock here in D.C. You know, when we are fighting and can't get anything done, whether you are liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, no one wins.

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Homes and buildings, many of which are old and drafty, eat up 40 percent of the energy America uses. Such inefficiencies perpetuate our reliance on foreign oil, imperiling our national security and increasing our contribution to climate change.

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Last year, Congress passed a law that directs the Federal Reserve to set limits on debit card swipe fees that are reasonable and proportional to the cost of processing those transactions. Like most Americans, I had no idea that swipe fees charged to American businesses are the highest in the world.

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If I tried to shout over my older brother, my mother told me keep quiet.

If I tried to shout over my little sister, my father told me to shut up. I found the best way to be heard was to lower my voice and actually speak when I had something to say.

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There's no conscious plan here; my whole life in politics as a state legislator and in Congress has been about strengthening the middle class.

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To the extent that people overpay as a result of the Libor manipulation, they should be able to get their money back. Individuals who have mortgages, pension funds who had pensioner investments - whoever was ripped off is entitled to get their money back.

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In Washington, 'delay' is too often code for 'derail.' Wink, wink.

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Swipe fees have increased steadily since the introduction of debit cards 20 years ago, when there were no swipe fees at all. Merchants can't negotiate or control them. They've tried, but they have no leverage against the big banks and issuers. So they get ignored.

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About Peter Welch

Quotes 23 sayings
Profession U.S. Representative
Birthday May 2, 1947

One of the things I give Nancy Pelosi a lot of credit for is that she's able to get things passed and hold her members together because she shows us that she's doing everything possible to get our views into these bills.

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Home Star is a common sense idea that would create jobs and provide a boost to local economies, while helping families afford their energy bills. By encouraging homeowners to invest in energy efficiency retrofits, Home Star would create 170,000 manufacturing and construction jobs that could not be outsourced to China.

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Democrats can neither control nor predict whether our GOP counterparts are really ready to play chicken with the U.S. economy. But we can assure the American people that our party takes the nation's faith and credit seriously.

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BP has finally acknowledged what the American people have been saying for weeks: It must take responsibility for its reckless conduct, clean up the Gulf and compensate the countless victims of the disaster it caused.

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I favor the extension of the middle-class tax cuts because in a recession they're stimulative and they help with demand.

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For an economic recovery program to be effective, it must not only create a short-term economic boost but also generate lasting value. Home Star would accomplish that by breaking down the key barrier between homeowners and money-saving retrofits: upfront costs.

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The rhetoric on the Hill is getting very heated and it's getting quite dangerous. The gun is at the head of the American economy and Congress is holding it and its got a hair trigger. We've got to pay our bills.

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There's a tendency in politics to attribute bad motivation much too quickly, and the sooner you attribute bad motivation to someone you disagree with, the harder it is to find some common ground to make some progress that would give people confidence that you got it more right than wrong.

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Historically, the minority party in Congress votes against raising the debt limit, forcing the majority party to whip its members into casting politically painful votes in favor.

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The potential for Home Star to create jobs is proven and real.

In Vermont, our statewide energy efficiency utility, Efficiency Vermont, created more than 430 jobs in 2007 and 2008, generating more than $40 million in income.

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