Floor Statement of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley
Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Setting a budget for the country is one of the most basic responsibilities and fundamental functions of the Congress. The Budget Act requires Congress to adopt a budget by April 15th.
It’s a requirement that this Senate Majority has ignored time and again.
In fact, the Senate hasn’t adopted a budget since April 29, 2009. More than three years have passed since the Senate last adopted a budget.
During that time, more than $4 trillion has been added to our nation’s debt. In President Obama’s presidency, we’ve added $5 trillion to the national debt.
We’re in the midst of the fourth consecutive year of trillion-dollar deficits.
All the while, the Senate Democratic Majority has failed to propose a budget blueprint that would lay out their priorities for deficit reduction, economic growth or a path to balance.
It’s no wonder our nation is driving toward a fiscal cliff of deficits and debt. There is no one in the Democratic leadership willing to take hold of the wheel.
In February, President Obama released his budget.
The President’s 2013 budget would expand the scope of government by spending more money, increase taxes on job creators, and continue on the path of enormous deficits and record debt.
While President Obama claims that his budget will create an America built to last, the only thing his budget builds are higher deficits and debt, a bigger, more intrusive government, and economic decline for future generations.
During the past 60 years, spending has averaged about 21 percent of GDP. Over the ten-year window of President Obama’s budget, spending never gets below 22 percent.
In dollar terms, spending goes up from $3.8 trillion this year to $5.8 trillion in 2022.
It’s clear: President Obama is built to spend.
President Obama’s budget is also harmful to our fragile economy because it would impose a $1.9 trillion tax increase.
Maybe the President’s purpose in imposing this huge tax increase is an effort to reduce the nation’s debt.
Unfortunately, that’s not what he has planned. He wants to spend every dollar.
His budget runs deficits totaling $6.4 trillion over the next ten years.
Debt held by the public increases from 74.2 percent of our economy today to 76.3 percent in 2022.
Remember, the historical average since World War II is just 43 percent.
If people believe that President Obama is putting us on a path to fiscal sustainability, I’d suggest they look at the annual deficits over the next ten years.
They never drop below $575 billion, and actually go up toward the end of his budget, rising to $704 billion in 2022.
President Obama’s budget puts America on a course of deficits and debt as far as the eye can see.
The President also took a pass on proposing any real changes to our entitlement programs, which are the real driver of future deficits and debt.
Again, he’s absent from the discussion. He has offered no solution. He has chosen not to lead.
But, where is the leadership from the Senate Democrats? Where is their budget?
Why have they not proposed a budget in more than three years?
The Budget Chairman has said repeatedly that we already have a budget in place for this year and next.
The Chairman and the Majority Leader feel that the Budget Control Act was a budget resolution.
The Budget Control Act is not a budget. President Obama clearly agreed when he proposed his budget.
House Republicans and Democrats alike agreed when they voted on seven budget resolutions authored by both Republicans and Democrats.
The Democratic Leadership in the Senate stands alone in their belief that the Budget Control Act was a budget resolution.
Is it because they have no ideas on how to balance the budget, contain out of control spending, grow the economy or create jobs?
If the Democratic Majority can’t muster the will to present their own budget, why don’t they offer President Obama’s budget?
I’m sure we’ll hear the argument that the resolution our side is offering is not a fair depiction of President Obama’s budget. That’s the rhetoric we’re likely to hear so that they can vote against it.
The fact is they’re going to vote against it for one reason – because it’s President Obama’s budget.
They don’t want to be on record voting for any budget.
That will be the most remarkable outcome of today’s exercise.
We’re going to vote on five different budget proposals. Three are being offered by Senate Republicans, one is House Budget Chairman Ryan’s budget, and the final resolution is President Obama’s budget.
Not only have Senate Democrats failed to even propose a budget, they’ll likely vote in lockstep against each of the five budget proposals.
We’re likely to see Senate Democrats come to the floor and vote one-by-one and cast roughly 265 votes against the consideration of a budget.
Is that leadership? Is that conviction?
They’re in the majority. But when it comes to proposing and supporting a budget, they’re the party of “no” and obstruction.
Democrats are the party filibustering consideration of a budget blueprint.
The Budget Chairman was quoted recently as saying,
“This is the wrong time to vote in committee; this is the wrong time to vote on the floor. I don’t think we will be prepared to vote before the election.”
How many more trillions do we need to add to the national debt before it’s time to vote on a budget resolution?
If now is not the time to lead, propose bold solutions and take action, when is?
The American people are going to pay a heavy price for the unwillingness and inability of the Senate Democratic leadership to lead and offer solutions.
Once again, the Senate Democratic leadership and President Obama are content with being absent from the discussion.
There are no solutions. There is no leadership. There is only failure and punting until after the next election.
We have a moral obligation to offer serious solutions for today and for future generations.
© 2008, Senator Grassley