WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke at a press conference today with House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt and members of the Blue Dog Coalition on the fiscally responsible House Democratic Budget. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
"I want to thank my friends in the Blue Dog Coalition for asking me to come here today and to stand with them as our united Democratic Caucus prepares to pass a budget tomorrow that will begin to reverse six years of unmitigated fiscal irresponsibility under a Republican President and Congress.
"No one has spoken more consistently and persistently about the necessity of fiscal responsibility - of paying for what we, as a nation, buy - than the Blue Dogs. In fact, the Blue Dogs were instrumental in leading the Democratic Caucus to reinstate the pay-as-you-go budget rules that helped us achieve record budget surpluses in the 1990s and which Congressional Republicans allowed to lapse in 2002. In fact, restoring paygo was one of our very first acts in January.
"Now, let me say, in 2001 the Republican Party unleashed a fiscal tsunami that, left untended, threatens to drown our nation in debt, stifling our future economic growth and undermining our national security.
"When George W. Bush took office, he inherited a projected 10-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion and, in just 72 months, turned that into a projected deficit of nearly $3 trillion. The Republican Party's free-lunch fiscal policies spawned record deficits and spiraling debt. The amount of foreign-held debt has more than doubled under the Bush Administration -- from about $1 trillion in 2001 to $2.1 trillion today.
"Due to Republican policies, our nation will pay $256 billion in interest on the national debt in 2008 - an amount equal to 20 percent of all income taxes collected and more than we appropriate to any federal department or agency other than defense. That's $256 billion that cannot be used to strengthen our national security further, improve education, promote energy independence or cut taxes - because financing the Republicans' deficits has now become a form of mandatory spending.
"So, I am pleased to stand with the Blue Dogs and Budget Committee Chairman Spratt as we prepare to debate and vote on this New Direction Democratic Budget for fiscal 2008.
"We cannot turn around six years of unmitigated irresponsibility in one single budget. But this Democratic budget will achieve balance in 2012 - and it does so without the gimmickry and tricks that President Bush tries to employ.
"In fact, our budget has a bottom line, over five years, that is $234 billion better than the President's budget. Our budget adheres to the pay-as-you-go principle. It provides for a robust defense, boosting homeland security funding and providing $3.5 billion more for veterans' programs. It also makes critical investments in education, children's health care, transportation infrastructure, and energy research and development, while supporting $20 billion to strengthen the farm economy.
"This is a budget that we can be proud of. And, it stands in stark contrast to the extraordinarily irresponsible fiscal policies of the last six years.
"Again, I want to thank the Blue Dogs for all their hard work on fiscal responsibility.
"It is simply immoral for this government to continue to mortgage our children's futures through policies that lead only to growing deficits and deeper national debt. Tomorrow, we will strike a strong blow for fiscal sanity."