(202) 225 - 3130
WASHINGTON - House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD) released the following Floor statement on the Fiscal Year 2007 budget, which is being debated in the House tonight (as prepared for delivery):
"Mr. Speaker, the overwhelming majority of Americans now believes that our great nation is headed in the wrong direction.
"It is not difficult to understand why.
"The Republican Party's incompetence over the past five and one-half years is undeniable - from the miscalculations in Iraq, to the inept response to hurricane Katrina, to the failure to secure our ports and borders, to the historic turnaround in our fiscal health.
"5.4 million more Americans live in poverty. 6 million more are uninsured. Real median household incomes have dropped nearly $1,700.
"Thus today, it is stunning that our Republican colleagues have brought a budget resolution to this floor that so badly betrays our values and fails to meet our nation's priorities.
"This shamefully shortsighted budget resolution cuts crucial investments in our nation and our people.
"Over the next five years, it slashes education by $45 billion, veterans' health care by $6 billion, public health by $18 billion, and environmental protection by $25 billion.
"Even worse, this budget resolution is a continuation of the most reckless fiscal policies in the history of our nation - policies that have squandered a $5.6 trillion budget surplus, added more than $3 trillion to the national debt, and weakened our ability to respond to national and international crises.
"Listen to the warning of the non-partisan Comptroller General David Walker, who stated in February:
'Continuing on this unsustainable fiscal path will gradually erode, if not suddenly damage, our economy, our standard of living, and ultimately our national security.'
"Yet, that is precisely what this Republican budget does.
"It not only fails to rein in the record Republican deficits of the last five years, it makes them worse - calling for deficits totaling $1.1 trillion.
"It not only fails to arrest our exploding national debt, it calls for a debt limit increase of $653 billion - the fifth increase in five and one-half years, totaling $3.7 trillion in debt increases under President Bush.
"Last year, during our debate on the budget resolution, the Chairman of the Budget Committee confidently proclaimed:
'We will be able to give, I believe, our kids and grandkids the opportunity of a debt-free world if we begin with a small step again this year.'
"The Chairman's assertion then has been eviscerated by the facts now.
"The reality is, this budget resolution - and the Republican Party's policies - have instigated a dangerous spiral of deficits and debt that constitute nothing less than fiscal child abuse, because they will immorally force our children and grandchildren to pay our bills.
"In sharp contrast, the Democratic Alternative is reasonable and responsible. It would balance the budget by 2012; reinstate the pay-as-you-go budget rules that were instrumental in creating four consecutive budget surpluses in the 1990s; and invest in our nation and our people.
"Our Democratic Alternative provides matching resources for defense, and more resources for education, veterans' health care and other health priorities, and the environment.
"I urge my colleagues: vote for fiscal sanity. Vote for the budget that puts America back on the right track. Vote for the Democratic substitute."