Statement ● Fiscal Responsibility
For Immediate Release: 
June 24, 2004
Contact Info: 
Stacey Farnen

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) delivered the following statement on the House Floor today in opposition to the phony Republican budget “enforcement” bill, which does not apply “pay-as-you-go” provisions to spending and taxes.  The Democratic alternative would return to the same “pay-as-you-go” rules that turned deficits into surpluses in the 1990s.   

“Mr. Speaker, for the first time since 1974, it appears that Congress will not adopt a budget when the same political party controls the House, the Senate and the White House.

“And why can’t they fulfill one of the most basic tests of effective government – adopting a budget?  Because they cling to the fiction that we can rein in record deficits and runaway debt by applying pay-as-you-go budget rules to mandatory spending only.  And they do this as they preside over record budget deficits and just this week trying to hide a $690 billion increase in the debt ceiling in the rule on the Defense Appropriations Bill.

“As the New York Times stated this morning: Applying PAYGO rules to spending but not taxes is (and I quote) ‘like swearing off demon rum while continuing to binge on vodka martinis. Even some Republicans reject this delusion.  There are four in the United States Senate.

“And earlier this year, my friend, the chairman of the Appropriations Committee (Mr. Young) pointed out the folly of focusing solely on the spending side of the ledger while ignoring the revenue side.  Mr. Young said (and I quote): ‘No one should expect significant deficit reduction as a result of austere non-defense discretionary spending limits.  The numbers simply do not add up.’

“The fact is, we could eliminate all non-defense discretionary spending and we would still be running a deficit of more than $100 billion.  Perhaps the height of irony is that just seven years ago, in 1997, one hundred and ninety-three Republicans voted for PAYGO budget rules that applied to both spending and taxes.  That includes Speaker Hastert, Majority Leader DeLay, Conference Chairwoman Pryce, Budget Chairman Nussle and Ways and Means Chairman Thomas.

“And the Bush Administration itself endorsed PAYGO rules for both spending and taxes not once, not twice, but three years in a row – fiscal 2002, 2003 and 2004.  In fact, let me quote from the president’s budget for fiscal 2002.  It states (and I quote):  ‘The president also proposes to extend the PAYGO requirement for entitlement spending and tax legislation.’

“I urge my colleagues: reject the sham budget enforcement bill offered by Mr. Nussle.  Instead, vote for the Democratic substitute, which would restore the original PAYGO rules that apply to mandatory spending and taxes as they were originally established – on a bipartisan basis – under the 1990 Budget Enforcement Act and extended in 1997.  Don’t let them get away with this charade.  Don’t let them preen as deficit hawks after running up the largest budget deficits and debt in American history that our children and grandchildren will be forced to pay back.”