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WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today following reports that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a letter to Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) that he was “quite concerned about the intermediate to long-term federal budget outlook:”
“Simply stated, I share Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s concern about the federal budget outlook. The dangerous deficits that the Bush Administration and Congressional Republicans have run up over the past five years threaten our economic well-being now and in the future.
“The Republicans’ fiscal mismanagement has had a negative impact on our ability to fund urgent national priorities. Our ports remain unacceptably vulnerable more than five years after 9/11. Our veterans returning from duty in Iraq and Afghanistan require and deserve the finest health benefits available. Our schools desperately need improvements in math and science education to ensure that America remains competitive. And our most vulnerable citizens face skyrocketing health care and prescription drug costs. Sadly, while all these priorities command our national attention, American taxpayers must pay more than $200 billion annually in interest on the national debt alone.
“These deficits did not appear out of thin air. The Republicans’ fiscal fairytale – that their tax cuts would pay for themselves – has proven to be nothing more than fiction. Yet even now, the Bush Administration and Congressional Republicans continue to push for these tax cuts to be made permanent, with no idea how they plan to pay for them.
“In Mr. Bernanke’s letter, he reportedly states that ‘it would be very desirable to take concrete steps to lower the prospective path of the deficit.’ Again, I agree with Mr. Bernanke, and I hope that Republicans will join us in reinstating the bipartisan, common-sense PAYGO rules that led to the record surpluses of the 1990s – and taking a fiscally responsible step toward reining in the deficit.”