April 14, 2011 - Issue: Vol. 157, No. 55 — Daily Edition112th Congress (2011 - 2012) - 1st Session
CONTINUING RESOLUTION; Congressional Record Vol. 157, No. 55
(Senate - April 14, 2011)
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[Pages S2470-S2471] From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] CONTINUING RESOLUTION Mrs. HUTCHISON. Madam President, we are today making a small downpayment toward getting runaway Federal spending under control. The spending bill we will vote on today represents a $78 billion spending cut from that proposed by President Obama for this year. It will be $38 billion from what the Federal Government spent last year. We must address the spending binge our country has been on for the last 2, 4, 6 years. Spending cuts have been actually ignored. We have increased spending in the name of stimulus. The problem is, that kind of spending didn't stimulate the economy in the private sector where the jobs are permanent. At the beginning of this year, the President proposed a budget that would spend $3.7 trillion next year, with a $1.6 trillion deficit. The national debt is now $14.29 trillion. Under President Obama's budget plan, the national debt would double since he took office and triple by 2020. We then embarked on a vigorous negotiation on this year's budget. Republicans insisted on cuts beginning now, which is the middle of a fiscal year, which makes it very difficult because the spending levels are already in place for half a year. But we said: No, we need to start right now, even if it is hard, even if it is in the middle of the fiscal year. There was a hard negotiation. We know that because we had a series of 1-, 2-, and 3-week continuing resolutions that allowed the government to go forward but did not make the final decisions on finishing the fiscal year, September 30, with cuts that were necessary. Part of the negotiation was to avoid a government shutdown. I did not want a government shutdown. In the end, that costs more. It costs more to do all the changes that are necessary to shut down the government and then to make the changes necessary to come back and put it back online. We did the right thing by making those cuts, by taking that first step, and by not shutting down government so that so many people would have been left in the lurch: Federal employees--most certainly we were going to take care of our military, but they should not have had to worry about it--all of the people who had vacations planned, who had bought airline tickets and who wanted to go to national museums and parks. All people would have experienced some kind of disruption. It wasn't necessary if we did the amount of cutting, and we did. We cannot rest because the real battle is going to be for cutting trillions, not billions. It is the trillions that are going to start getting the deficits down and bring our debt back into line. To do as the President suggested earlier this year and freeze spending at this year's levels would have been like someone who was on a diet saying: I am just going to eat what I eat now and no more. But that doesn't mean that person would lose weight. We all know that. Today the Federal Government is spending $4 billion every day that we don't act. We add $4 billion every day that we don't have, that is debt borrowed from somewhere else. We are borrowing 42 cents on every dollar we spend. Much of that is from the Chinese. And what are we doing? We are giving a bill to our children that is unsupportable. That is not just a problem for our grandchildren in the future; it is a problem for today. This year our interest payments on this mountain of debt have already cost us $190 billion. By 2020, if we go at this rate, annual interest payments on the national debt will more than double to approximately $778 billion a year. Now we are going to $\3/4\ trillion just for interest payments. We cannot allow that to happen. The President made a speech yesterday. It was a call for action. Unfortunately, I believe the President called for the wrong action. The President said we have to have taxes go up and we have to have spending that goes down together. He proposed raising $1 trillion in tax increases. That is $1 trillion in higher taxes for small business, $1 trillion in higher taxes for family farmers. That is not going to help the economy come out of the doldrums. Who is going to be able to hire people if they are going to have a tax burden and a regulatory burden that is going to keep them from being able to expand their operations? Washington has a spending problem, not a taxing problem. We wasted $1 trillion in failed stimulus spending in the first 2 years of the Obama Presidency. Now he is raising taxes by $1 trillion in the second half of his Presidency to pay for a stimulus package that didn't work? That does not make sense. The President also believes that a stronger Federal Government, a more powerful Federal Government is the answer to our problems. He proposed yesterday to address Medicare and Medicaid costs by expanding upon the health care reform bill that was pushed through on a completely partisan vote and that already is going to increase government. It is going to increase costs, and cuts to Medicare are going to pay for part of that increase. The President would give more power to the unelected bureaucrats on his new independent payment advisory board that is there to cut Medicare payments and reimbursements to doctors. We do not need a bigger, more powerful Federal Government to address the issues of this mounting debt. We are going to have a vigorous debate on what is the right answer: more powerful Federal Government and more taxes versus a smaller, more restrained Federal Government that promotes growth in the private sector to make our economy go. We are approaching the limit on the Federal debt ceiling. That is where we must take a stand. That is where we have to draw the line in the sand and say: No more. We cannot raise the limit on the Federal debt without reforms taking place that will show that over the next 10 years we have a plan, and the plan is to cut back on the deficit every year. I think a total of around $6 trillion in cuts over a 10-year period is a responsible approach. We will debate some of the things in the proposals that have been put forward: what are the priorities in spending, what will promote growth, what will promote jobs. But we must have a plan before we raise the debt ceiling. Republicans and Democrats can agree on one thing: We do need a combination of spending cuts with revenue increases to get to the trillions that are needed to cut this debt. But the way we define revenue is the answer. The Democrats say revenue means tax increases. The tax increases are on people who would do the hiring to grow the jobs. So we are putting a damper on the ability to reinvigorate the economy. Republicans are going to argue that the revenue comes from creating jobs, from having more people employed, so they can help with our economy and try to help bring revenue in by being employed in the private sector. Republicans believe the way to create revenue is by building a vigorous [[Page S2471]] economy, to have people working so they are contributing to the economy, not having people who are forced to take benefits because they cannot find a job in this stagnant economy that we all have acknowledged is here. Today, I hope all of us will agree to take the first steps on the responsible spending cuts that will get us through the end of this fiscal year. I hope we will come together on next year's budget. The 2012 budget is what we are having hearings on. I had a hearing this morning with the Secretary of Commerce--the FBI Director earlier this week--to assure that we are spending for 2012 in a limited, responsible way and covering the needs of our country and also making the investments that will spur growth in our economy. But the big debate we are going to have is on increasing the debt limit. At $14.29 trillion, we must do it with reforms that show the world that is buying our debt that we are going to have a responsible way to pay them back. I do not want the Chinese to raise the interest rates because they are worried about whether we have the political will to pay them back. We will have the political will to do it if we cut spending, if we increase revenue through job growth, not taxes. We will show the world the debt is good and that interest rates should stay low and that we should work to have good trade agreements so we can build up our jobs and buy things from outside, and those economies will flourish so they can buy our products. That is what would be a win for everyone, and that is what we will be promoting in the next few months in Washington. I yield the floor. The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Montana. ____________________