WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) made the following remarks today on the House floor in opposition to the Republicans’ misguided budget bill:
“Mr. Speaker, last night, the President of the United States addressed the American people from this House chamber, and he demanded that we make his tax cuts permanent. Of course, he also urged new federal spending on energy, on education, and on the prevention and treatment for HIV/AIDS – all worthy endeavors of our great nation.
“But President Bush and this Republican Congress – which have had complete control of our federal government for five years – continue to refuse to answer the most basic, most obvious and most necessary question: How do we pay for these policies?
The plain truth is, they don’t.
“The plain truth is, the President and this Republican Congress have pursued the most irresponsible fiscal policies in the history of our nation, turning a projected $5.6 trillion surplus into a $4 trillion deficit in just 60 months! And now, President Bush and this Republican Congress want to enact tax cuts that will add more than $3 trillion in deficits over the next ten years . . .Even as we face record budget deficits and debt instigated by their policies. . . Even as they prepare to ask for a $780 billion increase in the debt limit – the fourth such increase in five years!”
“Today’s budget bill is part and parcel of the Republican Party’s free-lunch philosophy. Our Republican friends claim that they’re going to cut $40 billion to ‘restore fiscal discipline. But the reality is, they plan on cutting an additional $70 billion in taxes, thereby driving our nation $30 billion deeper into the fiscal ditch. The hypocrisy, though, doesn’t end there.
“No, while the President called for increased funding for education last night, this Republican Majority today intends to cut funding for student loans by nearly $12 billion. While the President recognized the need to make health insurance more affordable, this Republican Majority today intends to cut funding for Medicaid by nearly $7 billion.
“Meanwhile, we now know that as the Republican budget ax fell on the poor and students, powerful special interests were cutting special deals in the conference committee – from which Democrats were barred. I urge my colleagues: Vote against this deficit-increasing, misguided legislation – which is contrary to the interests of the American people.”