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WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding the House Republican budget for Fiscal Year 2006, and the Democratic alternative offered by Rep. John Spratt (SC), the Ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee:
“Mr. Speaker, this Republican budget conclusively demonstrates one thing: that when it comes to audacity, our friends on the other side of the aisle have an unlimited supply.
“Yesterday, Republican leaders – including the Majority Leader (Mr. DeLay) and the Chairman of the Rules Committee (Mr. Dreier) – claimed on this Floor that Republican policies reduced last year’s budget deficit by $109 billion.
“That claim is ridiculous.
“This frightening fact is not: On the Republican Party’s watch, the federal government recorded the worst budget deficit in American history – $412 billion – in Fiscal 2004.
“Our Republican friends, it appears, are the only people who believe that a $412 billion deficit is something to brag about.
“For years, they have preened as fiscal conservatives. But in less than 48 months, they have turned a projected ten-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion into a deficit of nearly $4 trillion.
“They have spent every last nickel of the Social Security surplus – $628 billion – and will plunder that surplus every year in the future.
“They have added more than $2.2 trillion to the national debt – now $8.2 trillion – and they are likely to seek another increase in the debt limit this fall.
“And now, Mr. Speaker, they bring this Fiscal 2006 Budget Resolution to the Floor, claiming that they will arrest exploding deficits and debilitating debt; pretending that they have made tough choices; and stating that their budget reflects the values of the American people.
“Based on their record, they have forfeited their credibility when it comes to the budget. We have no reason to believe their claims today.
“Mr. Speaker, this Republican budget is nothing less than irresponsible Trojan Horse for more than $100 billion in additional tax cuts. It would add $2 trillion in debt over just five years. It would require deep cuts in Medicaid and grants for community and regional development. And it would under-fund critical priorities such as veterans’ health care and education.
“In short, this budget betrays our principles and is a failure of leadership.
“In contrast, Democrats believe that it is not only irresponsible but also immoral to force our children and grandchildren to pay our bills.
“That is why we strongly support pay-as-you-go budget rules that apply to both taxes and spending, because as Norman Ornstein wrote yesterday in Roll Call, such rules are “the only proven way to bring budget restraint.”
“He added: ‘Anyone who resists PAYGO is not serious about fiscal discipline.’
“We believe that our paramount responsibility is providing for homeland security and a strong national defense.
“We believe that our tax policies must be fair; that we must close loopholes and eliminate abusive shelters; that we must enact tax reforms that make our system fairer, simpler and more efficient.
“And we believe that we must make appropriate investments in domestic priorities such as education, public health, veterans and community development.
“The Democratic Alternative offered by Mr. Spratt reflects our values and principles. It will strengthen our nation, not weaken it.
“I urge my colleagues: Support the Spratt Alternative.”