WASHINGTON – House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (MD) issued the following statement regarding the President’s Fiscal Year 2009 Budget that was released today:
“President Bush’s final budget is simply a continuation of failed policies that have created dangerous deficits and debt, while at the same time decreasing critical investments in our nation’s future. In seven years, President Bush turned a $5.6 trillion projected surplus into a $2.4 trillion deficit, added $3.5 trillion to the national debt, and oversaw a decline in our government’s capabilities as evidenced by the response to Hurricane Katrina and the treatment of our veterans at Walter Reed.
“Democrats will put forward a fiscally responsible budget that will be a blueprint for investing in America and tackling the Bush deficits and debt. It will focus on the American people’s priorities, like reinvigorating the economy and increasing access to affordable and quality health care. An economic downturn is not the time for drastically reducing investment in health care, education and job training, as the President proposes.
“We will also continue to reject the President’s reckless fiscal policies that are hindering our ability to meet the challenges of today, including the sluggish economy. The President’s proposals for ferreting out wasteful spending are dwarfed by the more than $700 billion that would be added to the deficit over the next five years from extending his tax cuts that largely benefit the wealthiest Americans.
“In addition, President Bush’s budget does not reach balance, as he claims. He fails to acknowledge the true cost of continuing to referee the civil war in Iraq – a war that is diverting needed resources from our economy and people here at home. He also does not honestly deal with the Alternative Minimum Tax, effectively implementing a stealth tax increase on the middle-class to achieve balance by 2012.
“Despite my deep concerns with the President’s budget, I am hopeful that we can build on our success with a bipartisan economic stimulus and find areas of agreement. Democrats will continue to reach out to the President and Republicans in Congress for effective ways to invest in America’s future and reduce our nation’s debt.”