(202) 225 - 3130
"Mr. Speaker, today, the Members of this House can proudly vote for a Budget Conference Report that addressees our nation's critical needs on national security, education, health care, the environment and many other areas, while also making a 180-degree turn away from the most reckless fiscal policies in the history of our nation.
"I urge every Member of this House - on both sides of the aisle - to vote for this responsible Democratic Budget Conference Report.
"First and foremost, this Democratic budget provides robust defense funding levels - because our national security is our highest priority.
"This budget provides more homeland security funding than the Bush Administration requested. It funds the 9/11 Commission recommendations. And, it increases funding for veterans' health care and services by $6.7 billion.
"Furthermore, after six years of unadulterated fiscal irresponsibility by this Administration and the former Republican majorities in the House and Senate, Democrats propose a budget that will bring our budget back to balance by 2012.
"Now, the great falsehood, the great deceit, the great misrepresentation perpetrated by many of our friends on the other side of the aisle is that this budget somehow raises taxes.
"That is simply - and absolutely - untrue!
"It is somewhat humorous that our Republican friends are claiming that this budget raises taxes by failing to extend tax cuts that the Republicans themselves designed to expire in 2010.
"And, by their logic, last year, when the Republicans still controlled both chambers of this Congress and chose not to extend the very same tax cuts, they subjected the American people to the greatest tax increase in the history of our nation.
"That is ridiculous - just as their claim is today.
"Don't take it from me. Just listen to the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution, which yesterday stated: 'The budget [conference report] would not raise taxes . . . if anything, the budget resolution assumes that Congress will cut taxes.'
"This is true. In fact, Mr. Speaker, this budget accommodates the extension of middle-income tax cuts and provides immediate relief for middle-income taxpayers affected by the Alternative Minimum Tax.
"In addition, this budget increases funding for Head Start and LIHEAP, accommodates a $50 billion increase to cover millions of uninsured children, and rejects the Administration's harmful cuts to environmental programs.
"Finally, Mr. Speaker, for our friends on the other side to complain that this budget provides for an increase in the debt ceiling strains credulity.
"In just six years, this Administration and Republicans in Congress turned a projected budget surplus of $5.6 trillion into more than $3 trillion of additional debt - and they raised the debt ceiling four times in the process!
"The new Democratic majorities in this Congress have inherited a fiscal debacle that today - through this conference report - we can begin to address and right.
"This is a budget that we can be proud of. And, it stands in stark contrast to the extraordinarily irresponsible policies of the last six years.
"I urge all of my colleagues: Vote for fiscal responsibility and a brighter future for our children. Vote for this Democratic budget."