Executive Sessionby Senator Thomas R. Carper
Posted on 2013-02-14
CARPER. Madam President, while the Senator from Texas is still on
the floor, he knows I have a lot of respect and affection for him, and
I am delighted to serve with him here and also to serve with him on the
Finance Committee. I appreciate Senator Shaheen for letting me jump in
for just a minute.
We agree on so much. We actually do. And not just the Senator and I but our colleagues here. And I think we fully recognize that although the deficit comes down from $1.5 trillion to about $850 billion or so, it is way too much. I think we also agree that one of the best ways to reduce the deficit is to strengthen and grow the economy.
I believe--and I think I heard the President say this the other night--there are three things we need to make sure we address.
One, we need to address--and the President said this--we need to address entitlement programs, not to savage old people or to savage poor people but to figure out how to get better health care results for less money to be able to preserve those programs for the long haul.
I think we will have an interesting proposal from Senator Durbin later this year with respect to Social Security and putting it in a structured way, maybe a path forward on Social Security that makes it clear we are not trying to balance the budget on Social Security but actually do reforms that we [[Page S729]] know are needed and I know are needed so we will have that program for the long haul.
I commend my side of the aisle, and I commend your side of the aisle. We acknowledge that we need some revenues, whether it is on the tax expenditure side, the deductions and loopholes and so forth, or finding other ways to raise revenue.
Third, we just came from a press conference this morning with Congressman Issa, Congressman Cummings, Senator Coburn, and myself to focus on the GAO and their high-risk list, high-risk ways for wasting money. That comes out today. Every 2 years they give us this high-risk list for how to find ways to save money and spend our tax dollars more efficiently.
We have all that working together, those three things: entitlement reform, some additional revenues, and actually looking in every nook and cranny to see how we can get a better result for less money. Those we can do together. My colleague and I have worked on some things together, and I want to work on those with the Senator, and I look forward to that. I think that if we do, a lot of our colleagues will join us.