WASHINGTON – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) and leaders of the Blue Dog Coalition expressed deep concern today with the rapidly mounting public debt, which has soared $2 trillion since President Bush took office. Over the next 10 years, President Bush’s policies would add $8 trillion dollars to the nation’s debt. Rep. Hoyer, joined by Rep. Baron Hill (D-IN), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Communications; Rep. Charlie Stenholm (D-TX), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Policy; Rep. Jim Turner, Blue Dog Co-Chair for Administration; and Rep. John Tanner, Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Budget Task Force and member of Ways and Means, called on Republican Congressional leaders to deal honestly with the Bush debt in their mark-ups of the President’s FY05 budget:
The Treasury Department’s Monthly Statement of the Public Debt released this week reveals that debt has soared the past three years—increasing from $5.7 trillion at the close of February 2001 to $7.1 trillion at the end of February this year—with trillions more expected to be added under current Administration policies in the coming years.
“It is now clear that on the issue of debt - like so many others - the President's credibility has been stretched to the breaking point. Our national debt is exploding. Today, it stands at more than $7.1 trillion - and it's increasing by more than $2 billion per day! During the course of this very short press conference alone, the debt will increase by $30 million,” said Rep. Hoyer.
“Lots of Americans might ask, why does the debt matter? Here's why: because our nation will spend more than $150 billion this year on interest payments on the debt, and because that figure will grow to nearly $374 billion by 2014. This is money that could be put to better uses - strengthening homeland security, improving education, expanding access to health care, and shoring up Social Security and Medicare,” continued Rep. Hoyer.
“Why does the debt matter? Because as the President said, we have a responsibility - I would say a moral responsibility - not to drown our children and grandchildren in a sea of red ink.
“As this looming crisis with the national debt demonstrates, the President has failed to step up, failed to make the hard decisions, and absolutely failed to keep his commitment. Talk is cheap, but the burden we are placing on our children is not. Finally, let me say, this Congress should absolutely debate an increase in the debt limit openly and honestly. Last year, we spent more time debating a resolution naming a room here in the capitol for former Majority Leader Dick Armey than we did the act of increasing the debt limit by just under $1 trillion,” said Rep. Hoyer.
“The Congressional Budget office estimates that from the day he took office till the end of the 10 year budget window, the president’s policies will accumulate $8 trillion of debt for America,” stated Rep. Baron Hill (IN), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Communications. “It is beyond being fiscally irresponsible. It’s simply immoral to pass off our debt to our children and grandchildren.”
“Our economic security is being threatened by an economic perfect storm consisting of record deficits largely financed by foreign investors, large and growing trade deficits, and the approaching retirement of the baby boom generation," explained Rep. Charlie Stenholm (TX), Blue Dog Co-Chair for Policy. "Unfortunately, the president's budget fails to prepare our nation to deal with these economic dangers. If we don’t take action to prepare for the perfect storm, the markets will do it for us with painful consequences.”