Floor Updates

Conrad, Stabenow, Sessions

Budget Resolutions

May 16 2012

11:23 AM

Senator Conrad: (10:50 AM)
  • Spoke on the Budget Resolutions.
    • SUMMARY "I want to go back to the point my colleagues have made. It's fascinating to me, you didn't hear them talk for one moment about the substance of their proposals. Not a moment. Did you notice that? I wonder why that would be. I think I know. Because their proposals would take us right back to the failed policies that brought this country to the brink of economic collapse. That's what happened the last time they were in charge. They controlled both bodies from 2001-2006. The White House to 2008. So none of those policies they put in place when they controlled both chambers could be changed. And where were we at the end of 2008? Where were we? We were losing 800,000 jobs a month and the economy was shrinking at a rate of 9%. And the proposals that they have, the substantive proposals they are making here today, take us right back to those same failed policies. So it's no wonder you don't hear them saying one word about the budget proposals we're going to be voting on, because they are the same failed policies that put this country in the ditch. Instead, what you hear them say is we on our side have no budget fascinating. Well, let me just put up again what we passed last year, a law called the Budget Control Act. And let me again read from that law. It says "the allocations, aggregates and levels, spending levels, in subsection shall apply in the senate in the same manner as for a concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2012." In the next clause, it makes the exact same statement for 2013. That the Budget Control Act that was passed last year will serve in the same manner as a budget resolution. And earlier this year, pursuant to that law, I gave the appropriators, which I am required to do under the law, what they could spend."

Senator Stabenow: (10:56 AM)
  • Spoke on the Budget Resolutions.
    • SUMMARY "We passed a Budget Control Act by 74 votes in the United States Senate. 74 votes, bipartisan vote. On August 2 of 2011. It put in place the spending caps that the Chairman talked about. It laid out something that frankly in my time since being here starting in 2001 has been done differently and frankly has a stronger basis for it, because instead of just having something passed by the House and the Senate, it actually was signed by the President. It's law. It has the face of law, the force of law, and it is in a situation where it has even more impact than it would normally do. Yes, we didn't do the normal process. What we did was one better than the normal process, which is the Budget Control Act. And it did pass and it did put in place the spending caps, and in fact set up, as we know, a deficit reduction commission, a requirement on cuts that will take place in January, and it's also true that what we don't have is a long-term plan. As the Chairman has talked about over and over again, we have got to come together on a long-term deficit reduction plan. So we agree on that, and there are many people that have talked about that and worked on various proposals. The President has led negotiations. Members in this body have. And certainly the Chairman of the committee has continued to lead those efforts. And we need to get that done. But in terms of what we have on a budget resolution that puts in place limits on caps, that has been done I think this goes to the values represented in these budgets. Do we want to say that retirees, that older people in our country have opportunity to live long lives? Social Security and Medicare are great American success stories. They've literally brought a generation out of poverty to live in dignity Those are good things. Those are good values in America. Not bad values. Those are good values. And all four of these budgets, the Paul budget would end Medicare in 2014. The Lee budget would end it in 2017. The Ryan budget in 2023 and the Toomey budget in 2023. I cannot imagine that Americans want to go back to that system where seniors can't count on the ability to see a doctor, get their medicine and have the dignity of a long and healthy life."

Senator Sessions: (11:08 AM)
  • Spoke on the Budget Resolutions.
    • SUMMARY "We need to lie out a plan for the future of this country. That's what this is all about. My colleague just said just vote no on all of them and keep us going. Don't go back. When I hear that to be said, and no ambiguity about it, let's just keep on the path we're on. This is good enough. Let's be happy. We're in Washington, here's the letter, you know, we're in Washington, we're having fun, I caught a fish, we had a party, send more money. Isn't that what it's all about? Isn't that would were hearing from the other side? Send more money. And we'll take care of things for you. We don't have to cut anything. We don't have to reduce spending. We're not really on an unsustainable path, actually we cut spending over the next ten years from $47 billion to $45 billion, aren't we great? Which is a huge increase over current level of spending, increases spending every year under the Budget Control Act, not nearly enough to change the debt course of the country, but that's okay. And, by the way, do you know what President Obama's budget does? President Obama's budget wipes out the sequester. That's before the ink is dry on the Budget Control Act agreement at the 11th hour to reduce spending over the next decade, $2 trillion, President Obama submits a budget in February, January, proposing to wipe out the sequester. All $1.1 trillion of it. What kind of commitment do we have to control spending? Just send more money. That's the solution. Tax, spend. Tax, spend. I wish it weren't so. I wish I could say differently. Well, let me ask this question: do my colleagues not feel a responsibility to tell the American people what their financial plan for the future of America is? Do they have no responsibility? Do they feel no sense of obligation, no duty? And all they want to do is just attack anybody else's plan who's trying to save this republic from financial disaster, attack them, because they might want to reduce spending somewhere, and somebody might not like it because they didn't get quite as much from the government as they got before. Are there no programs we're not prepared to reduce or eliminate that are wasteful and aren't worthwhile? Is there nothing in this government? The Budget Control Act's not close to what we need to be doing to put our country on a sound path. Not close. And I have to say the President's budget undoes half of that. It adds, actually, when I said the Budget Control Act took spending down from $47 trillion to $45 trillion, President Obama's budget he submitted just a few weeks ago would add $1.6 trillion back, so that would make it go from 45 to 46 trillion in spending over ten years. This is the way they propose to operate this government. That's what their plan is. And why won't they lay it out? Because they know the American people will look at it and say good grief. That's not what we want for this country. You guys got to get your house in order. We expect you to cut some spending there. We know there's waste, fraud, and abuse in this capital. You better get busy. But all we hear from my Democratic colleagues is send more money. And what is particularly troubling is a theme and a suggestion that it's okay. We don't have to make any changes. But we do. We do have to make changes."