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WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today after the Senate passed legislation increasing the statutory debt limit by $781 billion – the fourth debt limit increase in five years under President Bush and the Republican-controlled Congress. The House of Representatives did not have to pass a stand-alone debt limit increase. This latest debt limit increase was deemed to have been passed by the House as part of the Fiscal Year 2006 Budget Resolution:
“Over the last five years, President Bush and Congressional Republicans have turned an unprecedented fiscal opportunity into a fiscal disaster that requires immediate, bipartisan action. Even Ben Bernanke, the new chairman of the Federal Reserve and the former chairman of the President Bush’s Council of Economic Advisors, said recently that he is ‘quite concerned’ about record budget deficits that threaten our future well-being. His concern ought to concern all of us.
“However, to this day, the Washington Republicans continue to cling to the fiscal fiction that their tax policies are unrelated to the exploding budget deficits and debt. The facts simply show otherwise.
“When President Bush took office, he inherited a projected 10-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion. He promised that, ‘We will pay off $2 trillion of debt over the next decade.’ But today, due to the deficits instigated by Republican economic policies, that projected surplus has been turned into a projected deficit of some $4 trillion and more than $3 trillion has been added to the national debt since 2001.
“What is perhaps most disconcerting to me is that the Republican Party is practicing ostrich economics. They believe they can put their heads in the sand and ignore this fiscal debacle and everything will be fine.
“I believe that is a very dangerous and untenable position. And, that is why I urge my Republican colleagues to join Democrats in re-instating the common-sense pay-as-you-go budget rules that require offsets for both tax cuts and spending increases. Those budget rules, which were adopted on a bipartisan basis but allowed to expire by this Republican Congress, helped us restore fiscal order, run four consecutive budget surpluses, and actually pay down the national debt under the Clinton Administration.
“It’s well past time to face fiscal reality and to restore fiscal responsibility. It is simply immoral for this generation to force our children and grandchildren to pay our bills.”