03.13.08

S. Con. Res. 70, The Budget Resolution

Mr. President, I will support the Senate Budget Resolution brought to the Senate by the Budget Committee and Chairman Conrad.  This budget continues the long process that the new Congress started last year to restore fiscal responsibility and order to our federal budget.  I commend Chairman Conrad and his colleagues on the Budget Committee for producing a responsible Budget Resolution that strives to meet the real needs of the American people and to optimize our Nation’s most pressing challenges and opportunities.

As we debate the budget, it is important to recall how we got to this point.  When he took office in January of 2001, President Bush inherited a record federal budget surplus.  Instead of steering the country on a prudent course that would have helped prepare for the retirement of the baby boomers, supported the aspirations of working families, met the pressing needs of those who are struggling, and paid down our large national debt, the President immediately pushed through more than $1 trillion in tax cuts aimed at the wealthiest Americans and corporations. 

Since then, the Bush Administration has pursued fiscal policies of recklessness and squander that have short-circuited the priorities of hard-working families, children and seniors.  For the Bush Administration, investments in health care, education, housing, the anti-crime and anti-drug work of our law enforcement community, our first responders, and the rising home heating costs of those who can least afford them have taken a back seat to a costly, misguided and mismanaged war in Iraq and to the Administration’s disastrous fiscal policies here at home. 

Now that a worsening housing slump, high gas prices and dampened consumer confidence have caused jitters throughout our Nation’s financial markets – leading to continued job losses and weaker-than-expected retail sales – the President’s continued fiscal mismanagement has hamstrung the government’s ability to provide needed investments in programs that will help hard-working American families weather the financial storm.

We cannot continue on the path of fiscal irresponsibility the current administration has set, by holding to a course that will cost more than $3 trillion in Iraq and ignoring the needs of our most important domestic programs.  As far as the White House is concerned, anything goes when it comes to spending in Iraq, while the real priorities of the American people have been forced farther and farther back in the line.

 

With the budget plans of the past two years, the new Congress has ended the days of rubber-stamping the President’s budget, and the process has begun of shifting our country in a new direction that will be better for hard-working Americans everywhere.  By strengthening our economy, creating jobs, investing in our infrastructure, increasing our energy independence and supporting our military veterans and first responders, the Senate’s budget plan puts the concerns of the working Americans front and center.  Moreover, by carefully targeting and reallocating resources, the Budget Resolution would return us to federal budget surpluses in 2012 and 2013 and accomplish this without raising new taxes.  

 

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