WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) spoke this afternoon in support of the Democratic Budget Resolution, which passed the House today. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Mr. Speaker, let me first thank the Chairman of the Budget Committee, John Spratt of South Carolina, for all of his hard work, patience and intelligence in producing this Democratic Budget Resolution – which is nothing less than a blueprint of our values and priorities.
“Let me also thank my colleagues in the Congressional Black Caucus and Progressive Caucus for offering their important budget alternatives – alternatives that reflect our shared commitment to the American people and a stronger America.
“Now, before I discuss what I believe to be the vastly superior and realistic Democratic budget, let me briefly address the Republican budget substitute that we are now debating.
“I both like and respect the gentleman from Wisconsin, the Ranking Member on the Budget Committee, Mr. Ryan. He is a thoughtful, diligent young Member.
“And, I believe that were it up to him, he might actually try to implement the provisions in the Republican budget substitute.
“But the problem, of course, is that he would be fighting a lonely, losing, untenable battle.
“This we know: Many, many Republicans would not support the deep, draconian cuts to domestic programs called for in their own budget.
“The fact is, this Republican budget only reaches balance in 2012 by slashing funding for mandatory programs by $412 billion.
“This Republican budget would –
• cut Medicare and safety-net programs,
• cut Medicaid, thereby jeopardizing health care for more than 50 million children, parents, seniors and disabled Americans,
• cut – and possibly eliminate – the recently enacted increase in Pell Grants, and
• cut funding for military retirement and health care.
“Furthermore, the Republican budget implies very deep cuts in discretionary programs, devastating public health, education, safety net and infrastructure programs.
“Mr. Speaker, this Republican budget fails to reflect the values and priorities of the American people.
“In contrast, the Democratic budget continues to move our nation in a new direction and to clean up the fiscal train wreck caused by failed Republican economic policies over the last seven years.
“Remember, in just 86 months, Republicans have turned projected budget surpluses into record deficits – including a projected $386 billion this year and another $340 billion next year – and added more than $3 trillion to the national debt, which today stands at $9 trillion.
“Our Democratic budget restores fiscal responsibility, adhering to pay-as-you-go budget rules and bringing the federal budget back to balance by 2012.
“It rejects the drastic funding cuts in the Republican substitute and the President’s budget – which includes cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, state and local law enforcement programs, and environmental protection.
“It strengthens our economy, providing crucial funding for our innovation agenda, efficient and renewable energy programs, education, and infrastructure.
“It provides tax relief for hard working Americans, including a reconciliation instruction that provides offsets for a new one-year patch of the Alternative Minimum Tax.
“And, our Democratic budget makes America safer, providing for a robust defense, boosting homeland security funding, and rejecting the President’s cuts to first responder programs.
“This is a budget that we can be proud of. And, it stands in stark contrast to the extraordinarily irresponsible fiscal policies of the current Administration and former Republican majorities in Congress.
“I urge all of my colleagues: Vote for fiscal responsibility, and a bright future for our children. Vote for the budget that reflects our values – and meets the needs of the American people. Vote for this Democratic budget.”