Hoyer: Short-Sighted Republican Spending Bill Doesn’t Seriously Address the Deficit

For Immediate Release:

February 16, 2011

Contact:

Katie Grant, 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC - Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke on the House Floor today in opposition to the Republican Spending Bill. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:

"If our country continues on a course of fiscal irresponsibility, and continues to pile debt on our children, we will all feel the consequences, no matter our party. It is vital that our two parties work together to put our fiscal house in order. So when I tell the House how disappointed I am in Republicans’ spending bill for the rest of the fiscal year, I’m coming from a perspective of real worry about our debt—a defining challenge that must be met seriously and thoughtfully. Sadly, that’s not the seriousness we see in Republicans’ spending bill for the rest of this fiscal year.

"Republicans began the new Congress by passing a rules package that paves the way to add nearly $5 trillion to the deficit. So even though the bill Republicans have brought to the floor cuts discretionary spending, we have to look at it in context: in context of the $5 trillion they have authorized themselves to borrow from our children; and in context of the Republican record of fiscal irresponsibility. Time and again, they have used the rhetoric of spending cuts as cover for massive borrowing: for a record surplus turned into record deficits under President Bush, and for budgets that, year after year, did far more fiscal damage than they promised.

"This time is no different. But let’s look at the actual cuts proposed in this spending bill. They are short-sighted and indiscriminate: even as they fail to change our long-term fiscal picture for the better, these cuts recklessly damage programs essential to America’s competitive edge.

"I agree that reducing spending is part of the fiscal solution. But let’s reduce spending wisely, instead of doing it in such a way that costs America jobs. When we talk about cutting investments in education, in innovation, and in infrastructure, we are talking about cutting tomorrow’s jobs. Because those are exactly the investments that will build the technologies and industries of the future, and help American workers stay competitive in a global economy.

"This spending bill would make it harder for deserving students to afford college—meaning a less-educated, less-competitive workforce. It would cut 20,000 researchers supported by the National Science Foundation and $2.5 billion in cancer and other disease research at the National Institutes of Health—meaning an America in danger of losing its place as the world’s innovation leader. It would lead to the loss of 25,000 construction jobs and leave our air traffic control system stuck in the last century—meaning an America with an infrastructure falling further and further behind our competitors. We need spending discipline, but not at the cost of our future and our jobs.

"I can’t sum up the central issue any better than OMB Director Jack Lew: 'We must take care to avoid indiscriminate cuts in areas critical to long-term growth like education, innovation and infrastructure—cuts that would stifle the economy just as it begins to recover. That, in turn, would deprive us of one of the most powerful drivers of deficit reduction, a growing economy.'

"The president’s bipartisan fiscal commission agrees. It found that indiscriminate cuts to investments in growth would 'interfere with the ongoing economic recovery.'

"I urge my Republican colleagues: listen to the economic and business leaders who understand the value of public investment—not as a replacement for the private sector, but in partnership with the private sector. That’s the partnership that Democrats are striving for with our Make It In America agenda, a set of bills that helps create an environment for American companies to create jobs here, and manufacture more goods here in America, so that more middle-class families will be able to Make It In America.

"Let’s cut needless spending, but preserve our investments in growth. And let’s work together to build the bipartisan support that is essential to the hard choices our long-term fiscal problems demand: reforming the tax code to grow our economy and reduce the deficit; eliminating wasteful defense spending that doesn’t keep us safer; and keeping our entitlement programs solvent for generations to come."

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