Hoyer, Blue Dogs Tackle Ballooning Bush Debt

Inflate Giant Red Balloon, Denounce GOP “Hot Air” on PAYGO Budget Mechanism

For Immediate Release:

March 18, 2004

Contact:Stacey Farnen
202-225-3130

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and the Blue Dog Coalition inflated a giant red balloon today as a symbol of the ballooning Bush Debt.  The Democrats also denounced the Republican leadership’s and Administration’s “hot air” on their ineffective “pay-as-you-go” (PAYGO) budget mechanism that only applies to spending and not to tax cuts. 

Hoyer and the Blue Dogs called on the House Republicans to truly tackle the nation’s deficits by following the example set by a bipartisan majority in the Senate, which supported PAYGO that applies to both spending and tax cuts.

“President Bush’s policies, including extending the tax cuts, fixing the middle class tax time bomb known as the AMT, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will add $5.2 trillion to the deficit over the next ten years.  The price of these deficits is staggering.  Our nation will spend more than $150 billion this year on interest payments on our debt, and that figure will grow to nearly $374 billion by 2014,” said Hoyer.

“These deficits will cost us the ability to deal with the retirement of the baby boomers, and will threaten Social Security and Medicare.  These deficits will eat away the resources we need to invest adequately in education and health care for our people.  It is time for House Republicans to deal honestly with the consequences of their failed policies and apply PAYGO to both sides of the ledger,” continued Hoyer.

“Dealing with our nation’s financial problems will require bipartisan cooperation and sacrifices by all,” Rep. Charlie Stenholm, Blue Dog Co-Chair for Policy, stated.  “We must be willing to put everything on the table.  We will have to forgo items that may sound appealing but are not affordable.”

"Congress missed a major opportunity to start addressing our record deficits when the Budget Committee voted down two pay-go amendments I offered yesterday by party line votes,” Rep. Mike Thompson (CA), Blue Dog and member of the Budget Committee said. “Instead of embracing fiscal reform, Congressional leaders have endorsed the President's plan for ballooning deficits.”

The House Republican FY05 budget contains the largest deficit in U.S. history.  The public debt has soared since President Bush took office — increasing from $5.7 trillion at the close of February 2001 to $7.1 trillion at the end of February this year — with trillions more expected to be added under current administration policies in the coming years.

###