WAGGING TONGUES

The Republican Budget Resolution that will be on the House Floor this week would slash funding for crucial domestic priorities in virtually every area – education, veterans’ health care, the environment and research, to name a few – to pay for the President’s $1.4 trillion tax plan.  Furthermore, this GOP Budget Resolution requires nearly every authorizing committee to cut direct spending within its jurisdiction by its pro-rated share of mandatory spending, including funding for Medicare, Medicaid, school lunches, and veterans’ health care.  Cuts to mandatory spending would total $470 billion over the next decade if Republicans enact a $400 billion prescription drug plan.

These funding cuts not only have provoked criticism by many moderate Republicans, but also fly in the face of statements by GOP leaders over the years regarding deficits, the protection of Social Security and Medicare, and the importance of funding for national priorities.

Please find below direct quotations related to this Budget Resolution as well as past comments by Republican leaders.

“Unfortunately, because the resolution reflects a significant imbalance between tax cuts and spending for existing federal mandatory and discretionary programs, we cannot support it in its current form.  We cannot support a budget resolution that reflect [sic] funding levels below the Bush Administration’s request and that fails to meet the needs of our domestic priorities, while reducing taxes by $1.4 trillion.” Letter sent to Speaker Dennis Hastert and Budget Cmte. Chairman Jim Nussle by House GOP moderates [3/14/03]

"We have a $13 trillion unfunded obligation. We have to find a way to begin to address that." Chairman Jim Nussle [CongressDaily, 3/14/03]

“I don’t like what I see so far.  If they’re asking me to cut [federal workers’] pensions, that’s crazy.” Chairman Tom Davis [CQ, 3/15/03]

“Nobody in my district is screaming for tax cuts, they are screaming for a prescription drug benefit.”  Rep. Steven LaTourette [Congress Daily, 3/14/03]

"I think it's very tough work to try to simultaneously pass an economic stimulus plan, head toward a balanced budget and make cuts in Medicare that we would just have to unmake in future dates." Rep. Jim Greenwood [WA Post, 3/17/03]

“I don’t like deficits, I don’t want deficits, and I won’t pretend deficits don’t matter.” Chairman Jim Nussle [Congress Daily, 3/12/03]
 
“The proposal to cut Medicare funding contained in the fiscal year 2004 budget resolution unveiled today by the House Budget Committee would be a disaster for Medicare beneficiaries.  It is unthinkable to propose cuts of this magnitude at a time when hospitals are facing a litany of escalating cost pressures that severely hamper their ability to provide care to senior citizens.” Chip Kahn, President, Federation of American Hospitals,[Press Release, 3/12/03]

“The attack by the House Budget Committee on the anti-hunger programs would be a horrible thing in the best of times, but it is particularly appalling when virtually every food bank in the country is reporting 20, 30 or even 100 percent increases in emergency food requests.” Jim Weill, President, Food Research and Action Center [CongressDaily, 3/14/03]

"We continue to believe that no tax cuts should be passed in light of pressing needs at both the federal and state levels, looming deficits and the possible conflict in Iraq. We will continue to work with like-minded members of Congress in both Houses to oppose any tax cuts.” Chuck Loveless, AFSCME [CongressDaily, 3/14/03]

“Veteran’s pensions and disability compensation are parts of the costs of defending freedom. Our nation cannot, in good conscience, commit men and women to battle, and reduce the meager, yet well-deserved, compensation for those who are wounded.” American Legion National Commander Ronald F. Conley [Press Release, 3/17/03]

“Reducing VA health care funding, even by the seemingly small one percent, will worsen many of VA’s gravest problems. We cannot expect sick and disabled veterans to wait months for earned health care. Equally troubling is that further cuts in funding would cause VA to curb further enrollment, or to remove certain veterans from the health care system altogether. It is imperative that Congress fully fund the VA.” Veterans of Foreign Wars Commander in Chief Ray Sisk [Press Release, 3/17/03]

“ Cutting already under funded veterans’ programs to offset the costs of tax cuts is indefensible and callous. It is unconscionable to cut benefits and services for disabled veterans at a time when we have thousands of our service members in harm’s way fighting terrorism around the world and when we are sending thousands more of our sons and daughters to fight a war against Iraq.” Edward R. Heath Sr., National Commander of the Disabled American Veterans [Press Release, 3/17/03]

 "My grandmother has always told me that actions speak louder than words. Well, Grandma, a lot of politicians have been throwing around a lot of words for a long time about reducing the deficit, but today's the day for action.” Rep. Jim Nussle [Christian Science Monitor, 05/12/92]

"When the budget is brought back into balance, jobs will be created, and families of all income groups will benefit.” Sen. Don Nickles [AP, 10/27/95]
"By the year 2002, we can have a federal government with a balanced budget or we can continue down the present path towards total fiscal catastrophe.” Rep. Tom DeLay [AP, 10/20/95]

"Passing the balanced budget amendment is the single most important thing we can do to ensure the nation's economic security and to protect the American dream for our children and grandchildren.” Sen. Bob Dole [AP, 1996]

"Jack Kemp worships at the altar of tax cuts. Jack has always said that deficits don't matter.  We think that deficits do matter." Rep. Tom DeLay [NY Times, 1997]

"We can set aside Social Security and Medicare surpluses, fund important priorities for America, pay down unprecedented amounts of debt, and give taxpayers immediate, significant tax relief." Chairman Jim Nussle [Press Release, 03/01/01]

"An example of fad economics occurred in 1980, when a small group of economists advised presidential candidate Ronald Reagan that an across-the-board cut in income tax rates would raise revenue." N. Gregory Mankiw, new Chairman of White House Council of Economic Advisors [Textbook, Principles of Economics, 1998]

"Our budget holds spending to a reasonable level while funding important priorities. Because of this budget, we will pay down historic levels of our national debt, strengthen Social Security and Medicare, make critical reforms in our education system, and bolster our national defense." Chairman Jim Nussle [Press Release, 05/02/01]

"Those deficits are troubling. Deficits do matter, especially coming just two years after when we anticipated budget surpluses for as far as the eye can see." Chairman Jim Nussle [AP,  3/12/03]

“The Republican Lockbox legislation locks away the entire Social Security surplus . . . Today we are restoring Americans’ faith and confidence in the Social Security system.  It’s a promise to current and future generations of retirees: Rest assured, your hard-earned money will be saved for you so that you can enjoy your well-deserved retirement.” Rep. Tom DeLay [Cong. Record, 5/23/99]

"Today, many older Americans are forced to choose between putting food on the table and the prescription drugs they need to live healthy lives.  That's just not right.” Chairman Duncan Hunter [Press Release, 6/29/00]

"We promised our senior citizens that their Social Security and Medicare  benefits will always be there for them. With this lockbox, we are keeping our promise to America’s seniors. Today’s burgeoning tax surpluses give us unprecedented opportunities to give Americans a more secure future. We can strengthen Americans’ retirement security by dedicating every penny of Social Security taxes for Social Security, Medicare, and paying down the debt.” Chairman Jim Nussle [Press Release, 2/13/01]

“We are going to wall off Social Security trust funds and Medicare trust funds… And consequently we pay down the public debt when we do that. So we are going to continue to do that. That is in the parameters of our budget and we are not going to dip into that at all.”
 Speaker Dennis Hastert [BNA Tax Reporter, 3/2/01]

"The House GOP majority has already shown its emphatic commitment not to raid Social Security and Medicare. When the final tally for 2003 is made two years hence, the actual results will again show that we have lived up to that commitment. Republicans have successfully made spending Social Security and Medicare surpluses politically indefensible." 
GOP House Budget Committee [Statement, 6/13/01]

“This Congress will protect 100 percent of the Social Security and Medicare Trust Funds.  Period.  No speculation.  No supposition.  No projections.” Chairman Jim Nussle [Press Release, 7/2/01]

"I don't know how many times we have to say it: we are not going to spend the Social Security and Medicare trust funds. Republicans stopped the raid on Social Security and Medicare and we are not going back. Period."  Chairman Jim Nussle [Cong. Record, 7/11/01]

“Seniors deserve prescription drug coverage that is affordable and available to them, regardless of income. All seniors deserve to have access to the drugs they need to improve their lives.” Speaker Dennis Hastert [Website]

"I wouldn't want to say there might not be a lot of ways to save money in Medicare, but you'd better not do it with across-the-board cuts." Chairman Jim Nussle [Des Moines Register, 3/13/03]

  
"Our nation has taken great pride in honoring its commitment to provide the best in medical care, compensation, and services to those who have fought to preserve freedom throughout the world. At a time when American servicemen have taken up humanitarian causes half-way around the globe, it is essential that Congress continues to send a strong signal that our nation will make  good on its promises to all veterans.” Chairman Bill Young [Cong. Record, 3/8/00]

"Our military families and veterans are facing all types of difficulties. From out-of-pocket housing expenses to insufficient health care benefits,  it's time we did more for those who protect our country." Chairman Duncan Hunter [Press Release, 3/30/00]

"Our veterans were there for us when we needed them. It is because of their service that we must provide these men and women with all the benefits for which they are entitled." Chairman Duncan Hunter [Press Release, 6/22/00]

"Keeping our promises to our military retirees is one of the most important obligations we have."  Chairman Duncan Hunter [Press Release, 10/6/00]

"We owe it not just to those who have already served, but also to the men and women who today are on the front lines in Korea, Bosnia, Guantanomo Bay and on bases and ships around the world, ready to risk their lives in defense of freedom. They must know with absolute certainty that promises made, will be promises kept." Chairman Chris Smith [Press Release, 3/31/01]

"When we send men and women into combat, we incur a sacred obligation to care for them upon their return to civilian life." Chairman Chris Smith [Press Release, 1/10/02]

“The goal of education  is not just to grant knowledge to our students, it is also to give them hope… We have the best teachers in the world and the brightest young minds, if only we can create a climate where teachers and students can do what they do best, teach and learn. I believe we can do that and I know we should.” Rep. Tom DeLay [Cong. Record, 6/5/97]

“I believe we have an historic opportunity as we begin this new century. There is a growing consensus about what works in education, and there is a willingness to come together to do what is right for all our children. We want to be partners with you, to help the most disadvantaged and to open the door to success for all students.” Chairman John Boehner [Committee Testimony, 2/20/01]

“In order to carry out the reforms outlined in that law, we must make sure we have the funding in place to do so… We owe it to the schools, and these special children, to provide some help with these rising costs.” Speaker Dennis Hastert [Press Release, 3/13/02]

“As one of the authors of the bipartisan education bill signed by the President in January, I’m proud to support this budget. It’s a clear statement that this Congress and this President will not turn its back on our children and their future, even in a time of war. Chairman John Boehner [Press Release, 3/20/02]

“Beginning this summer, unprecedented new resources will begin flowing to states and local school districts as a result of No Child Left Behind… Every child -- rich, poor, black, white, urban, suburban -- must be given the chance to learn.” Chairman John Boehner [Press Release, 7/1/02]

“Let me tell you what we are doing here tonight. You are ordering beefsteak, and you have already ordered it. And you have eaten it, and you have given them your credit card. And then you found out that you are over your credit limit. But because you do not have a constitutional amendment that says you have got to live within your credit limit, you are just going to raise it arbitrarily so that you can continue your spending habits.” Rep. Tom DeLay [Cong. Record [4/1/93]

"A principal goal of the President and his budget is dramatic reduction of the national debt.” Mitch Daniels [AP, 2/28/01]

"Republicans believe repaying debt is the right thing to do. It is wrong for this generation to saddle future generations with debts." GOP House Budget
Committee [Statement, 3/13/01]

“Today's report, just like last week's review, simply tells us that we will not be able to pay off as much debt as soon as we originally had wanted - nothing more, nothing less. Even so, nearly $150 billion can go to paying off the national debt this year alone because we have the second largest budget surplus in American history.” Speaker Dennis Hastert [Press Release, 8/27/01]

“When I arrived in this institution thirteen years ago, the idea of passing a budget that would actually pay down over 130 billion dollars worth of debt would have been laughable. Even five years ago, the thought of debt reduction was just that – a thought. But now it is a reality.” Speaker Dennis Hastert [Cong. Record, 11/9/99]

"We have a solid financial foundation to build on to get us back to balance. In the meantime, we are still paying down the debt and working our way back to surpluses." Chairman Jim Nussle [Press Release, 10/30/01]

"The final numbers are in and they show we are still on track, paying down historic amounts of the public debt. I'm proud of the fact that we paid off $90 billion dollars of the public debt last year. That's the second largest debt pay off in history.” Chairman Jim Nussle [Press Release, 10/30/01]

 

 

 

 

 

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