Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2014by Representative Todd Rokita
Posted on 2013-03-19
ROKITA. I thank Chairman Ryan for his distinguished leadership in
bringing this budget to the floor. I rise in high support of it. I also
am very proud. It's one of the highest honors I have had in my short
time here to serve on this committee, not because of chairman Ryan
only, but because of the members. By members, I mean Republican members
and Democrat members. I note for the Record that Mr. Levin is not a
member of the Budget Committee. But there are great people who are.
That's why it's perhaps because of some of that pride that I'm
disappointed to hear the ranking member characterize the
accomplishment--because that's what it is--the accomplishment of
balancing within 10 years as some sort of political goal.
Families who are trying to put food on the table, neighborhood associations, nonprofits, and for-profit businesses, for that matter, that have to make a budget balance every day, every month, ever year, I think should be offended by that characterization. It's not a political goal.
You know what's political, Mr. Chair? It's never balancing. You know what's political is the immoral idea that we are going to put more on our plate now, add up deficit after deficit, create a bigger and bigger debt, and then make people who don't even exist yet pay for it. Why is that political? Because, Mr. Chair, the people in the here and now can vote. Generations in the future, our grandkids who don't yet [[Page H1603]] exist, can't vote. And that's what makes the other approaches we've heard about immoral, wrong, political. We balance. We balance within 10 years.
Now let's contrast that a bit--our responsible approach--to what the Senate Democrats have done, for example. Next year alone, the Senate Democrats' budget increases spending by $162 billion above what we're spending today. Over 10 years it increases our debt by $7.3 trillion from today's levels, despite a massive tax hike that they have. And that tax hike adds $1.5 trillion in new taxes. So even after that, they still add to the debt--our kids' debt, our grandkids' debt--by $7.3 trillion.
Again, Mr. Chair, it never balances. After 4 years and $6 trillion in debt since a budget was even last passed, the Senate Democrats' vague proposal leaves America with even more debt and government that never stops growing. Amazingly, after 4 years, the Democrats were unable to identify any real reforms--no tax reform and no entitlement reform. It's simply not a serious proposal.
I stand, again, in support of the House budget because it's responsible, it's real, it balances in 10 years, and it's the last thing from political.
Mr. VAN HOLLEN. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Do you know what's wrong, Mr. Chairman? What's wrong is to pretend to the American people that you can have it all ways. What's wrong is to pretend that you've got a budget that's in balance in 10 years and pretend that you're getting rid of all of the Affordable Care Act, all of ObamaCare. What's wrong is going around the country demagoguing $715 billion in Medicare savings, which we achieve by ending overpayments to private insurance companies and Medicare, and then using it to balance your budget and then saying, We didn't use it to balance our budget. That's what people don't like, is people trying to have it all ways.
We have taken an approach to steadily and rapidly reduce our deficits in a way that doesn't interfere and hurt economic and job growth right now. And we do it in a balanced way. And what I find astounding is to hear our Republican colleagues talk about the deficit and debt in one breath and then talk about all those tax breaks and expenditures that disproportionately benefit very wealthy people in the other breath and then say they won't close one single tax loophole for wealthy people for the purpose of reducing the deficit--not one dime in their budget for that purpose. And yet they're willing to hit Medicaid to the tune of $110 billion. They're willing to hit the food and nutrition program by over $100 billion. They're ready to hit transportation funding by over 15 percent in this budget window. And yet they're not willing to close one of those more than $4 trillion in tax loopholes to reduce the deficit. I think that's wrong.
I yield 2 minutes to the gentlelady from Pennsylvania, a member of the Budget Committee (Ms. Schwartz).
Ms. SCHWARTZ. The Federal budget is a statement of our priorities and our values as a Nation. The budget should be fiscally responsible and reduce the deficit, it should make investments to grow our economy, and it should meet our obligations to our seniors, to our families, and to our future. And the Republican budget fails all three. The Republican budget threatens our Nation by undermining our economic growth and by shifting the financial burden for the deficit and for deficit reduction to our seniors and the middle class.
Republicans have made their choices clear: end Medicare as we know it, adding costs to seniors today and ending the Medicare guarantee tomorrow; slash investments for economic competitiveness; and give millionaires an average of $400,000 in tax breaks. The Republican budget eliminates protections for millions of our sickest, frailest seniors who depend on nursing home and home health services. And the Republican budget will increase taxes for average middle class families by $3,000. Their choices will cost 2 million jobs next year alone and decrease economic growth by 1.7 percent.
In contrast, the Democratic alternative preserves the Medicare guarantee; makes key investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure necessary for job creation and economic growth; and protects the middle class from large tax increases. The Democratic alternative reduces the deficit in a fiscally responsible and balanced way, without causing harm today and without threatening our economic competitiveness for the future. It reduces the deficit while meeting our commitments to our seniors, our frailest elderly, and our children.
I urge my colleagues to reject the Republican budget that threatens our seniors, our middle class, and our economic growth, and to vote for the Democratic alternative that builds on our great strengths as a Nation--an innovative, entrepreneurial business sector with a skilled, hardworking middle class. Vote for the Democratic alternative that builds on hope, opportunity, and security for all Americans.