WASHINGTON DC – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD), House Budget Committee Ranking Democrat John Spratt (SC), and Blue Dog Coalition co-chairman and House Agriculture Committee Ranking Democrat Charlie Stenholm (TX) held a press conference today to denounce the sham Republican “pay-as-you-go” or budget “enforcement” bill scheduled for the House floor tomorrow, and also discuss the Democratic alternative.
“When it comes to the federal budget and fiscal policy, our Republican friends are absolutely discombobulated, aren’t they? They just cannot drag themselves to admit that their irresponsible policies have affected our nation’s bottom line.
“As Roll Call reported this morning, the House Republican Leadership is still divided –at the eleventh hour – over whether to bring their so-called “budget enforcement” bill to the floor tomorrow. Why? Because, with a united Democratic Caucus opposing this legislative charade, they’re not quite sure they have enough Republicans who are willing to participate and pass it.
“But then you have to wonder: whose budget would they be pretending to “enforce” anyway? For the first time since 1974, when the modern budget process was put in place, it appears that Congress will not adopt a budget when the House, Senate and White House are all controlled by the same political party.
“There’s a word for that. It’s called mismanagement. Other words you might apply to this budget enforcement act – if it does come to the floor tomorrow – include absurd, ridiculous, phony and irresponsible.
“Our Republican friends, who have presided over an historic reversal in our nation’s finances, still cling to the fiction that we can rein in record deficits and runaway debt by applying “pay-as-you-go” rules to spending only.
“Even some Republicans reject that delusion. There are four in the United States Senate. And earlier this year, my friend, the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee, Bill 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.’
“That’s not Steny Hoyer saying that. It’s Republican appropriations Chairman Bill Young.
“The height of irony is that just seven years ago, in 1997, one hundred and ninety-three Republicans voted for “pay-as-you-go” 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, I wouldn’t want to forget President Bush, who endorsed “pay-as-you-go” rules for both spending and taxes in his fiscal year 2002, 2003 and 2004 budgets.
“My message to you today is simple. Don’t let them get away with this charade. Don’t let them preen as deficit hawks after running up the largest budget deficits in American history. Let the American people know the truth about the mismangement that is draining the nation’s bank account.”