Hoyer: Bush Budget Lacks Credibility

“When It Comes to Masquerading as a Fiscal Conservative, President Bush Deserves an Academy Award”

For Immediate Release:

February 2, 2004

Contact:Stacey Farnen
202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding President Bush’s Fiscal Year 2005 Budget:

“It should now be clear to the American people that the originator of the term ‘fuzzy math’ – George W. Bush – has become its foremost practitioner.  When President Bush took office, he inherited a projected 10-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion and four consecutive years of surpluses – the first time that had happened in 70 years.  Now, in the course of three years, the Bush Administration has turned our fiscal ship of state in a dangerous direction that threatens to plunge us into an economic abyss for years to come and force our children to pay our bills for decades.

“The Administration projects a record deficit of $521 billion in Fiscal Year 2004, eclipsing last year’s record deficit by $147 billion.  And it projects a deficit of $364 billion in Fiscal Year 2005.  But what is perhaps most disturbing is that President Bush is only pretending to have a realistic plan to dig our nation out of the fiscal mess that his policies have created.

“The President’s budget, in my judgment, will be dead on arrival on Capitol Hill.  As this document makes clear, when it comes to masquerading as a fiscal conservative, President Bush deserves an Academy Award.

“The President’s budget fails to include the costs of additional military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  It fails to provide a comprehensive solution to the Middle-Class Tax Time-Bomb – the Alternative Minimum Tax.  And it fails to include the costs of initiatives such as the Administration’s ill-conceived Social Security privatization plan.

“Indeed, the President would actually worsen our nation’s fiscal condition by demanding that tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 be made permanent – at a cost of $1 trillion – without any explanation of how he intends to pay for them.  In sharp contrast, Democrats believe it is imperative that we focus this year on real tax reform that makes our system more fair, simple and sensible.

“Meanwhile, the President’s budget takes a meat cleaver to vital domestic programs, cutting funding for environmental, agriculture, transportation and justice programs, among others.  The Administration is simply not being forthright with the American people when it suggests that reining in spending is a solution to the looming fiscal crisis.  The fact is if we cut out every dollar of discretionary spending – which accounts for only 17 percent of all federal spending – we would still not balance the budget.”      

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