Floor Updates

Grassley, Cardin, Crapo, Murray, Boxer

Budget Resolutions

May 16 2012

02:25 PM

Senator Grassley: (1:35 PM)
  • Spoke on the Budget Resolutions.
    • SUMMARY "In February, President Obama released his budget, the President's 2013 budget would expand the scope of government by spending more money, increasing taxes on job creators and continue on the path of enormous debt and record - enormous deficit and record debt. While President Obama claims that his budget will create an America built to last, the only thing his budget builds, it seems like, are higher deficits and debt. A bigger and more intrusive government and economic decline for future generations. During the past 60 years, spending has averaged about 21% of GDP over the ten-year window of President Obama's budget, spending never gets below 22%. In dollar terms, spending goes up from the present $3.8 trillion to $5.8 trillion in the year 2022. So it's very clear President Obama is built to spend. President Obama's budget is also harmful to our fragile economy bus it would impose $1.9 trillion tax increase. Maybe the President's proposing imposing this huge tax increase is an effort to reduce the nation's debt. Unfortunately, that's not what he has planned in his budget. He wants to spend every dollar. His budget runs deficits totaling $6.4 trillion over the next ten years. Debt held by the public increases from 74.2% of our economy today to 76.3% in 2022. And of course you need to remember that the historical average since world war ii has been around 43% of the economy. If people believe that President Obama is putting us on a path to fiscal sustainability, I'd suggest that they look at the annual deficits over the next ten years. They never dropped below $575 billion and actually go up the end of his budget, rising to $704 billion in 2022. President Obama's budget puts America on the course of deficits and debts as far as the eye can see into the future. The President also took a pass on proposing any real changes to our entitlement programs which are a real driver of future deficits and debt. Again, he is absent from the discussion. He has no solution. He has chosen not to lead."

Senator Cardin: (1:43 PM)
  • Spoke on the Budget Resolutions.
    • SUMMARY "The budget document is a very important document. It speaks to the priorities of our nation, and it gives instructions to our committees to report out legislation consistent with that budget resolution. It gives instructions to the Appropriations Committee to pass Appropriation bills and to other committees as it may affect revenues or mandatory spending. We have that budget document for the fiscal year that begins October 1 of this year. That was included in the Budget Control Act which passed this body by 74 votes. It has the force and effect of law. So our Appropriations Committees know the numbers for the appropriation bills for the year that begins October 1, and the other committees know what the requirements will be. The question is whether we should have a longer term commitment on dealing with our budget problems, and we do need a bipartisan, credible program that involves not only the Democrats and Republicans in the Senate but also the Democrats and Republicans in the House and the President of the United States. We need to avoid sequestration and we need the predictability for our economy and for those who act upon our actions to know what the rules will be. We need to have a responsible plan to deal with the long-term deficit that's balanced and fair ... and is bipartisan."

Senator Crapo: (1:50 PM)
  • Spoke on the Budget Resolutions.
    • SUMMARY "Let's look at the budgets that we will be voting on today. First we have the President's budget. At a time when our national debt is more than $15.6 trillion, well more than 100% of our gross domestic product, the President's budget seemingly makes no acknowledgment of the dramatic and predictable fiscal crisis that we face. Instead of embracing the comprehensive work of his own fiscal commission, the Bowles-Simpsons Commission which I served on or any of the key bipartisan proposals that are available like the Ryan or the Domenici-Rivlin plan or coming up with a reform plan of his own, the President's budget regrettably remains within the old discredited framework of trying to tax and spend our way into prosperity. The President's budget would raise taxes by $2 trillion. And this is in addition to the $1.2 trillion of tax increases in the health care law which are just beginning to take effect and will continue to roll out over the next few years. Perhaps even more remarkable, the president's budget actually increases spending by $1.2 trillion more than current law. So another $1.2 trillion in new spending, another $2 to $3 trillion in new taxes, no structural entitlement reform and no discretionary spending reform. Even though it is widely acknowledged that the current path of our entitlement programs is unsustainable, and that they are on track to soon become insolvent, the president's budget has no comprehensive reforms to our entitlement programs. None. The modest amount of health care savings he does propose would not even be enough to offset the extension of the doc fix or the other increases in the health care spending that he proposes. This is a dangerous approach and it should be noted that this budget failed by a vote of zero to 414 in the House. Yet we have no other pending proposal from the other side to consider. Today the Senate will also have an opportunity to reject the President's approach to the federal budget, and I expect that it will do so just as it did last time. And because the Democratic majority here in the Senate has failed to produce their own budget, we will also have the opportunity to vote on some important budget proposals offered by the House budget committee chairman and by our own colleagues here in the Senate, Senators Toomey and Paul and Lee. Each of these proposals would include true comprehensive reforms to our entitlement programs, to prevent the pending insolvency and to protect the programs for current and future generations. And would put us on a sustained pathway to balancing our federal budget. These budgets also call for comprehensive tax reform which take us out of the old paradigm of Congress debating whether to raise or cut taxes and instead these proposals would reach in their own way dramatically streamline the tax code, reduce the tax rates and unleash significant economic growth in our economy. A by-product of this growth would be an increase in revenue to deal with our impending debt crisis."

Senator Murray: (2:02 PM)
  • Spoke on the Budget Resolutions.
    • SUMMARY "At the end of last week, republicans in the House of Representatives passed legislation that continues their mad dash away from the bipartisan Budget Control Act and really reflects the up upside-down priorities that are guiding their party and stands absolutely no chance of passage here in the Senate. I think it would be very helpful at this point to remind my colleagues of the recent history that has brought us to this point. In August of last year, Democrats and Republicans same together and we agreed to the Budget Control Act to cut spending and put in place a process for additional deficit reduction. The purpose of that bipartisan agreement was to move towards serious deficit reduction and to give some consistency to the federal budget so the American people would not be threatened with a government shutdown every few months. That bipartisan deal sets the levels for next year's discretionary spending which allows us in congress to do our jobs and work to allocate federal resources towards investments in jobs and infrastructure and innovation and maintaining our commitment to our service members and their families and protecting and supporting middle-class families and so much more. That was the agreement we came to. Senator Boehner shook on it. Minority leader McConnell shook on it. Majority leader Reid signed it. And joined many of my colleagues in voting for it. And then President Obama signed it into law. It became the law of the land. A law that I would add is binding, that replaces and carries more weight than a budget resolution and that makes the budget resolutions we are debating today nothing more than political theater. Senate Democrats fully intend to honor our word and stick to the bipartisan budget levels for next year. And Senate Republicans in our Appropriations Committee, including the Minority leader, recently voted to stick to those levels as well. But I was really disappointed that less than nine months after we shook hands on that deal, House Republicans turned right around and broke it. They put appeasing their extreme base ahead of the word they gave to us and the American people and they demonstrated clearly that a deal with them isn't worth the paper it's printed on. But despite House Republicans' reneging on the deal, the Budget Control Act is the law, it is signed and we have so many challenges ahead of us as a nation, we cannot afford to relitigate bipartisan deals every time members of the extreme end of the Republican Party make some noise at a meeting."

Senator Boxer: (2:10 PM)
  • Spoke on the Budget Resolutions.
    • SUMMARY "I rise to say that it is stunning to see the Republican Party running away from a bill that they supported, from the deal that they cut, a deficit-reduction deal that was led by Senator Conrad, the Budget Control Act, which is the law of the land. And instead they're offering up a series of budgets that I believe will destroy this country. Why do I say that? Because they destroy the middle class and they give to the millionaires and the billionaires. That is a recipe for a third world nation. The haves and the have notes. And I hope the American people wake up and pay attention, because a budget really is a statement of who we are as a people Some of them don't even make any sense. But I have to tell you, this is serious business because one of them did pass the House, and they not only passed the House but then they passed another law - we call it reconciliation - which is dangerous in what they did. So let me tell you what they did and let me be clear, because it is not difficult to explain. What they did is stand up with all their heart, with all their soul, with all their power and their fervor to fight for the 1%. They are fighting for the millionaires, the multimillionaires, the billionaires, the trillionaires. You name it, that's who they're fighting for. They're giving them back an average of $150,000 a year. And over the ten-year period, that average millionaire can write a big kiss to the Republicans if this ever became law because they would get back $1.5 million over the ten-year period. And how do they pay for this largess? How do they pay for this warm, fuzzy hug to the people that have everything? They cut the heart out of the middle class."