Whitehouse, Portman, Durbin, Wyden, Enzi

Conference Report to Accompany the Budget Resolution (S. Con. Res. 11)

Senator Whitehouse: (2:16 PM)

  • Spoke on the budget.
    • "The good news about that is that the budget is merely political theater. The penalty for violating this budget is a 60-vote point of order. Nowadays it takes 60 votes to pass an appropriations bill. So, in effect, the penalty is a nullity. So there's really nothing to violating the budget. The real budget will be sent to us through the Appropriations Committee, and the real numbers will be negotiated upwards, and the Republicans will be relieved of the human responsibility for what would happen if this budget were actually to guide our appropriations. That's the good news. The bad news is that it is a missed opportunity to try to work in any kind of a bipartisan fashion. It is a missed opportunity to address issues that Americans agree on, like maintaining our bridges and highways."

 

Senator Portman: (2:33 PM)

  • Spoke on the budget.
    • "It not only balances in ten years, it does so without raising taxes, it does it in a way that strengthens Medicare, protects Social Security, supports a healthier and stronger economy we need in this country. We just had the economic growth numbers come occupant for the first quarter and boy, they're disappointing, .2%. We just had weak numbers in terms of the jobs numbers last month. We've got to do better. And we can and should do better. Part of it comes from better policies here in Washington, D.C. Policies that encourage people to get out there, work hard, take a risk, let people know if they do play by the rules and work hard, they can get made and there's so much more than we can do with tax reform and regulatory relief and coming up with smart ways to deal with health care and that's what this budget does, by the way. It also improves the efficiency, accountability of government."
  • Spoke on Iran.
    • "The U.S. Congress put these sanctions in place, encouraging the administration, if we give the Iranian regime sanctions relief on day one before they've kept their word on any deal when will be contributing a cash windfall to Iran's ongoing efforts to further destabilize an ever-growing list of countries. Think about it. Syria, Yemen and Lebanon and so on. Whether it's sanctions relief, or releasing frozen oil revenues from banks all over the world, if that becomes something that Iranians can use, that kind of financial relief, it would be a step to fuel war, not peace. So these are the right areas to focus on when it comes to Iran, not just for Israel's sake, of course, but for the sake of peace and stability in the region, and for our sake, our national security. And the world's sake. I'm hopeful we can pass the Iran nuclear agreement review act and safeguard congress' role."

 

Senator Durbin: (2:48 PM)

  • Spoke on the budget.
    • "I think the future of this country includes a tax code that's fair to working families. I think it rewards American companies that create jobs here in the United States. I don't think it gives 4,000 people a year, who happen to be the wealthiest people in America, a winning power ball ticket with this budget proposal we have before us. I think we want to expand the reach of health insurance, not reduce it. We want to give families a chance to be able to send their kids to college and kids not be so burdened with debt that they can't really chart their own futures. That is an optimistic positive view of a growing America. This budget resolution is not. I urge my colleagues to vote against this, or on the motion to proceed, vote against this motion to proceed on this budget resolution and say to the Budget Committee we can do better. Let's, if we're going to pick winners and losers, let's pick working families right here in America as the winners."

 

Senator Wyden: (3:02 PM)

  • Spoke on the budget.
    • "But now today, as we debate this legislation, we don't hear anything about tax relief for middle-class families. As I look at the budget, it sure looks to me like given some of the other priorities, that there's a real prospect that taxes could go up for our middle-class families, as if they're not getting hammered hard enough. So today we could be working on a budget proposal that creates new opportunity for middle-class people, a proposal that includes something like what was voted on here in the Senate that got more than 70 votes. Not there. A second example deals with rural America. Again in a lot of our rural communities there is enormous hurt, and many of them feel that the policies of the federal government would pretty much turn them into some kind of economic sacrifice zone. So in the budget committee, I said I think we've got an opportunity to bring together programs like the secure rural schools program, the payment in lieu of taxes program and the land and water conservation fund, and we could adopt a smarter approach to fighting wildfires. And the fact is that too was bipartisan."

 

Senator Enzi: (3:12 PM)

  • Spoke on the budget.
    • "On Medicare itself, all we in Senate did was go the same Medicare cuts the president suggested in his budget. We made one small change in that. We said those Medicare cuts that money that will be saved in Medicare has to stay with Medicare. That's a difference we've got with the president. When we did Obamacare there was $714 billion worth of Medicare spent on the other part of the program. We could have done the doc fix back then real easily but that was spent on other places. One of the promises we made is if there are some changes in Medicare and there ought to be changes made in Medicare - actually government ought to look at everything it does on a regular basis and do it better. Or, if it's not working, do without it."