WASHINGTON - House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following statement tonight regarding the raising of the debt limit for the third time in three years:
"The disastrous consequences of the Republican Party’s irresponsible fiscal policies are on full display tonight, and they can no longer be ignored.
"For they threaten to cripple our future prosperity and haunt future generations.
"When George W. Bush took office in 2001, he proclaimed (and I quote):
'We will pay off $2 trillion of debt over the next decade. Future generations shouldn’t be forced to pay back money that we have borrowed. We owe this kind of responsibility to our children and grandchildren.'
"And no wonder President Bush expressed such optimism then. The Clinton Administration had just paid off $450 billion in publicly held debt between Fiscal 1998 and Fiscal 2001, and it handed off a projected $5.6 trillion budget surplus to the Bush Administration.
"But then, the President and this Republican Congress cast fiscal discipline to the wind, instigating this cycle of deficit and debt by enacting enormous tax cuts at a time of war.
"And that’s why we’re being forced tonight to consider this third increase in the national debt in three years – a cumulative debt increase of more than $2.2 trillion to nearly $8.2 trillion.
"This Republican policy of borrow and spend is not only irresponsible, it is immoral. And it must stop.
"We are literally mortgaging our future. Foreign holdings of U.S. debt grew from 30 percent to 43 percent since President Bush took office.
"And the interest payments on the debt – funds no longer available for homeland security, education and other priorities – are projected to increase from $153 billion in 2003 to $319 billion in 2010.
"I urge my Republican friends: Face fiscal reality. Join us in adopting pay-as-you-go budget rules that apply to both mandatory spending and taxes.
"Until you do, I cannot support the continuation of this irresponsible and immoral borrow-and-spend binge."