Floor Updates

Sessions, Enzi, Lieberman, Sessions, Lee

Budget Resolutions

May 16 2012

03:13 PM

Senator Sessions: (2:19 PM)
  • Spoke on the Budget Resolutions.
    • SUMMARY "One of my colleagues said the Republicans are running away from the budget control act, and I would suggest that's not accurate. In truth, the budget control act was a cap on spending, and the Republicans have proposed that we spend less than that. As any economist would tell us we need to do, because it wasn't sufficient. And the difficulty arises when you consider what President Obama proposed with regards to the Budget Control Act. It is amazing. The President signed in august a Budget Control Act about $2.1 trillion in exchanges for reducing spending by $1.2 trillion and he signed that and it went into effect and it is the current law today. But when he proposed his budget in January of this year that we'll vote on later today - I suspect it will not get a single vote and it should not - President Obama's budget wiped out half of that savings, $1 trillion. Those savings were wiped out and he replaced it with almost - and he added more spending."

Senator Enzi: (2:21 PM)
  • Spoke on the Budget Resolutions.
    • SUMMARY "For the third year in a row, it looks like the Senate Majority will refuse pass a plan to help fix the fiscal crisis we face. In the three years since the senate majority passed a budget, our country has spent approximately $10.4 trillion. We've accumulated around $4.5 trillion in gross debt, which translates to an additional $15,000 for every man, woman, and child. $15,000 for every man, woman, and child, which brings it up to about $49,000 total for every man, woman, and child. Since we last adopted a budget, we've spent more than $626 billion on net interest payments to service the debt alone. These are unsustainable levels of spending, and yet the Majority continues to ignore the problem and refuses to take these numbers seriously and consider much less pass a budget. The Majority argues that we have a budget in place because of the passage of the Budget Control Act which also governed our spending in fiscal year 25011. If that truly govern what had we're doing, why did the President even submit a budget to us? If that was the budget, he shouldn't have gone to all the effort to put his own budget together. But he felt that he needed to put a budget together. In fiscal year 2011 the government brought in slightly more than $2.3 trillion in revenue. At the same time that we collected $2.3 trillion, we spent $3.6 trillion. In other words, we overspent by $1.3 trillion. That's more than 50% of the revenue that we were expecting. We're on pace for another $1 trillion deficit this year. The Budget Control Act may include some spending limits, but with record trillion-dollar deficits, the Budget Control Act cannot replace an actual budget that puts in place long-term spending cuts and helps get our country back on the path to balance. Again, if that Budget Control Act really took care of everything, the President would not have needed to submit a budget. He did I want to commend my Republican colleagues for making tough choices and putting forth solutions. While they have been doing that, President Obama and the Senate Majority has ignored the problem and refused to acknowledge the need to cut spending. They've demonized republicans and suggested it's our intention to harm seniors, poor people and children without a budget and without a fiscal plan to get our nation's debt and deficit in check. I don't know about you, but it's keeping me up nights. Some of my colleagues have offered plans to make that happen. Those who control the Senate appear content to sit on the sidelines and criticize. While that happens, we continue to add trillions of dollars to our national debt. I'd encourage my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to think about what it means to future generations and join us in finding a plan to fix our fiscal woes. And I know that's what they're thinking about because I've been in meetings off of the hill where they've talked about the same thing. But we've got to solve it. We can't just talk about it. And we can't give it lip service when we're off of the floor and excuse it when we're on the floor."

Senator Lieberman: (2:41 PM)
  • Spoke on the Budget Resolutions.
    • SUMMARY "Look, basically we know what we've got to do to make this happen. To state it bluntly, it's got to be a combination of tax reform and entitlement reform. We've got to raise revenues so they get back up to 18%, 19%, 20%. And we've got to bring spending down, and most of the spending increases are coming from entitlements, about 18% to 19% of GDP so we can be in balance. It's not very mysterious how we're going to do this. But the political will is not there now to make those tough decisions. And so today is a classic moment. We've got these budget resolutions that are before us as a matter of privilege ... We all know that the Bowles-Simpson model is the one that we're going to eventually get to, and the question is how close do we get to the fiscal cliff or is our country going over the cliff falling down and finally we rush in here and in a panic rescue it with something like Simpson-Bowles. The closest Senate proposal that would do what we need to do is the one that my friend from North Dakota has tabled in the budget committee. I wish we could vote on it. I don't know how many votes we would get, but I wish we could at least start the process. I know everybody says we're going to come back after the election and there is going to be a burst of courage, I guess, because the election is over and we're going to do the Simpson-Bowles tax reform, entitlement reform. What I'm sort of hearing in the wind around here is don't count on it. I hope so. Senator Conrad and I, it's going to be our last couple of months on this particular stage, and there is nothing I know he would like more to be part of and i can tell you nothing I would like more to be part of than doing a bipartisan long-term deficit reduction program. But I'm fearful that it's asking an awful lot of this system in a short period of time, and the tendency will be to protect us from falling off the cliff by extending everything that's going to expire at the end of the year. Stopping the sequestering, stopping the end of the bush tax cuts. I hope I'm wrong But our country's future is at stake. The future of the greatest economy in the history of the world. Because of our responsibilities is the only thing I can say, and we have all been part of it. I take blame for part of it. We're not doing what the country needs us to do. So I'm going to vote against the motions to proceed because each of them, the proposals before us doesn't really achieve anything near what we need to do in terms of a balance."

Senator Sessions: (2:50 PM)
  • Spoke on the Budget Resolutions.
    • SUMMARY "Our colleagues on the Democratic side have said they want more taxes. They have not told us what taxes, how much and where they would be, but they have told us that. Senator Conrad has said that. He has also been open and bold about the need to cut spending, so he would like more tax increases than I would like and he would like substantial spending cuts. But that's his view. He stated it publicly. But I would just have to say that's not the position on the Democratic Majority in the United States Senate because they have refused to put it on paper. Senator Conrad was going to have a Budget Committee hearing. We were going to mark up a budget, he was going to lay out a plan. I guess it would be somewhat Simpson-Bowles-ish, but it wasn't offered because the leadership and I suppose the members of the Democratic conference agreed that they didn't want to be on record. They would rather do like last year, and what happened last year? They voted against the Toomey budget, they voted against the Ryan budget, they voted against the Rand Paul budget and voted against the President's budget. Wiped their hands. They didn't vote for anything that caused any pain to anybody, and presumably they thought that was better than actually being engaged in leading and telling the American people what they plan to do to change the debt course we're on. That's the deal. I would say a couple of things. Talking to a group of American citizens today, I would say this - don't send one more dime to Washington, DC, until they show you a budget how they're going to spend it. I mean, why should they? We get in trouble, we overspend, we place the nation at risk, and all we want to say is send more money? You can't cut. We're going to throw people into the streets and push older folks off the cliff in a wheelchair. I don't think so. I think the American people need to hold this Congress, this government to account. They need to say we're not sending you any more money until you get your House in order, and we're not paying for hot tubs in Las Vegas. We're not throwing away $500 million on a Solyndra loan project that never had a chance to succeed and was benefiting cronies of the white house. We're not going to pay for the TSA to have warehouses filled with millions of dollars in equipment not being used. You don't have your act together. We want to you get your act together. We want to see some management, we want to see some leadership. And who is the top manager in America? It's not the Chairman of the Budget Committee or the Ranking member of the Budget Committee. It's the Chief Executive. The President is head of the executive branch."

Senator Lee: (3:02 PM)
  • Spoke on the Budget Resolutions.
    • SUMMARY "The Saving the American Dream Plan which I've proposed puts us on a sustainable and affordable path toward economic growth. It reforms our tax code to make paying taxes a simple, transparent and equitable process that regular people can perform on their own. It empowers families to save by making savings tax free which in turn lowers their tax burden in a way that helps them and our economy. It establishes a single tax you rate. It eliminates the payroll tax, helping all Americans, especially those at the lowest income levels, and it abolishes the death tax permanently. Under this plan, Americans will no longer be forced to navigate the complex web of countless loopholes for people who don't need them, contained within a tax code longer than the works of Shakespeare. In addition to placing an enormous burden and imposing immense uncertainty on our people, such a tax system hides the true cost of government. This plan is simple and it provides certainty for individuals and for businesses. Opponents of reform will play petty politics and prey on false fears about the government's ability to help the helpless. They claim that any course correction in entitlement or social service spending will damage the social safety net. The truth is doing nothing will absolutely and completely destroy the safety net. If we do not change course, the collapse of safety net services for our most vulnerable Americans is certain, and it is certain to hurt most those who have the least. This plan saves Social Security by transitioning to a real insurance plan that provides income security for seniors and prevents sudden poverty as a result of unforeseen events. The affluent elderly such as Warren Buffett will see a decrease in benefits. This plan thus allows people like Mr. Buffett to help in a way that is actually good for our economy and for job creators. The saving the american dream plan also ends the government takeover of health care and puts dollars and decisions back into the hands of families and individuals and their doctors. Just like school choice allows parents to make sure their kids don't get stuck in a failing school system, this plan ensures families don't get stuck in a failing health care system. Finally, this plan acknowledges that we have a spending problem and works to reduce the size of government to eliminate waste, lower the future burden on taxpayers, encourage productive economic activity, and enhance individual liberty and choice. It reins in spending by $9.6 trillion over ten years compared to President Obama's budget and by $7.1 trillion as against the CBO base line."