(Senate - March 20, 2013)

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[Pages S1990-S2019]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate 
now proceed to the consideration of Calendar No. 28, S. Con. Res. 8.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report the concurrent resolution by title.
  The bill clerk read as follows:

       A concurrent resolution (S. Con. Res. 8) setting forth the 
     congressional budget for the United States Government for 
     fiscal year 2014.

  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that any time 
spent in quorum calls during consideration of S. Con. Res. 8 be equally 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that no 
amendments be in order for the remainder of today's consideration of S. 
Con. Res. 8.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the use of 
calculators be permitted on the floor during consideration of the 
budget resolution.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that staff be 
permitted to make technical and conforming changes to the resolution, 
if necessary, consistent with amendments adopted during Senate 
consideration, including calculating the associated change in the net 
interest function under section 104, and incorporating the effect of 
such adopted amendments on the budgetary aggregates under section 101 
for Federal revenues, the amount by which Federal revenues should be 
changed, new budget authority, budget outlays, deficits, public debt, 
and debt held by the public.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Finally, Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the 
period of debate for economic goals and policy under section 305(b) of 
the Congressional Budget Act occur on Thursday, March 21, at a time to 
be determined by the two managers.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, we are now on the floor of the Senate 
with the budget, and I wish to start by thanking my counterpart, 
Senator Sessions, for all his work and his staff's work--and all our 
staff--to get us to this point this evening that we are debating this 
bill and this amendment. Senator Sessions has been very gracious in 
working with us. We have gotten to this. We obviously have differences 
of opinion, but I wish to commend him for the tremendous amount of work 
he has put into this. It is going to be great to be working with him on 
the floor.
  When I go back home to Washington State, my constituents tell me they 
are sick and tired of the gridlock and dysfunction in Washington, DC. 
They can see that our economy is slowly getting back on its feet and 
businesses are beginning to hire more workers, but my constituents--and 
people across the country--are very frustrated that the constant 
political crises are holding our recovery back right when we need to be 
doing everything possible to support it.
  After 2 years of debate about fiscal and economic policy and an 
election in which voters spoke loudly and clearly, the American people 
want their elected representatives to stop arguing and reach some 
solutions. I come to the floor to discuss a budget plan that meets this 
  The Senate budget that passed through the Budget Committee last week, 
with the strong support of all 10 Democrats and 2 Independents, is a 
responsible and balanced plan that puts the economy first and tackles 
our deficit and debt responsibly and credibly. I am hopeful that after 
it passes the Senate, the House of Representatives stands ready to 
compromise as well, and we can come together around a balanced and 
bipartisan deal that the American people expect and deserve.
  The budget debate is too often discussed in terms of abstract numbers 
and political winners and losers. But the truth is that budgets are 
about far more than that. They are about our values and our priorities. 
They are about our visions for how government should be serving its 
citizens today and for generations to come, and, most of all, they are 
about the people across the country whose lives are impacted by the 
decisions we make.
  The budget we will be debating on the floor this week puts those 
people first. It reflects the progrowth, pro-middle-class agenda that 
the American people went to the polls in support of last election. I 
believe it is a strong and responsible vision for building a foundation 
for growth and restoring the promise of American opportunity.
  Our budget is built on three principles. No. 1, we need to protect 
our fragile economic recovery. We need to create jobs and invest in 
long-term growth. No. 2, we need to tackle our deficit and our debt 
fairly and responsibly. No. 3, we need to keep the promises we have 
made as a nation to our seniors and our families and our communities.
  The highest priority of our budget is to create the conditions for 
job creation, economic growth, and prosperity built from the middle 
out, not the top down. We believe that with the unemployment rate that 
remains stubbornly high and a middle class that has seen their wages 
stagnate for far too long, we simply cannot afford any threats to our 
fragile recovery. So this budget fully replaces the cuts from 
sequestration that threatens 750,000 jobs this year alone and economic 
growth for years to come, as well as our national security, and the 
programs families and communities depend on. It replaces those 
automatic cuts in a fair and responsible way following the precedent 
that was set in the year-end deal.
  Half of the new deficit reduction to replace sequestration comes from 
responsible spending cuts across the Federal budget and half comes from 
new savings found through closing loopholes and cutting wasteful 
spending in the Tax Code that benefits the wealthiest Americans and 
biggest corporations.
  In addition to replacing sequestration with deficit reduction that is 
far more responsible, our budget follows the advice of experts and 
economists across the political spectrum who say it makes sense to 
invest in job creation in the short term while putting ourselves on a 
strong path to responsible and sustainable deficit and debt reduction 
over the medium and long term.
  We believe that in order to truly tackle our economic and fiscal 
challenges in the real world and not just make them disappear on paper, 
we need a strong foundation for growth built from the middle out. So 
this budget invests in a $100 billion economic recovery protection plan 
to put workers back on the job repairing our Nation's highest priority 
deteriorating infrastructure and fixing our crumbling schools and 
installing critical educational technology such as broadband that our 
students need to succeed.
  This plan creates an infrastructure bank to leverage public funds 
with private investment. It invests in our workers by making sure they 
have the skills and training they need to move into the 3.6 million 
jobs businesses across the country are trying to fill, and it is fully 
paid for by closing loopholes and cutting unfair spending in the Tax 
Code that mainly benefit the well-off and well-connected.
  Our budget also makes sure we are not reducing our fiscal deficit 
while increasing our deficits in education and skills and 
infrastructure and innovation. While cutting spending responsibly 
overall, it protects our investments in national, middle-class, and 
economic priorities, such as our

[[Page S1991]]

schools and our roads and bridges and our clean energy and 
manufacturing industries.
  This budget puts jobs first and our economy first and foremost, but 
it also builds on the work we have done over the last 2 years to tackle 
our deficit and debt responsibly.
  In 2010, President Obama established the National Commission on 
Fiscal Responsibility and Reform--commonly referred to as Simpson-
Bowles. That bipartisan group came back with a report recommending 
approximately $4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years from a 
balanced combination of spending cuts and new revenue. The report 
pointed out that this level of deficit reduction is more than any 
effort in our Nation's history. Other bipartisan groups, including 
Domenici-Rivlin and the Senate's Gang of 6, as well as economists 
across the political spectrum, agreed that $4 trillion over 10 years 
was a reasonable and responsible goal. Since that time, Congress and 
the administration have worked together to reduce the deficit by $2.4 
trillion--$1.8 trillion coming from spending cuts, $600 billion from 
allowing tax rates to rise on the wealthiest Americans in the year-end 

  The Senate budget takes us the rest of the way to the $4 trillion 
goal and beyond. It builds on that $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction 
already done with an additional $1.85 trillion in new deficit 
reduction, for a total of $4.25 trillion in deficit reduction since the 
Simpson-Bowles report. It reduces the deficit to below 3 percent of GDP 
by 2015 and keeps it well below that level for the rest of the 10-year 
window in a responsible way and it pushes our debt as a percentage of 
the economy down, moving it in the right direction.
  Our budget tackles this issue the way the American people have 
consistently said they want it done--with an equal mix of responsible 
spending cuts made across the Federal budget and new revenue raised by 
closing loopholes and cutting wasteful breaks that primarily benefit 
the rich.
  This budget cuts spending responsibly by $975 billion, and we make 
some tough choices to get there. We think every program--including the 
ones we know are important--need to be wringing out waste, trimming 
fat, and reducing costs to taxpayers. So $500 billion of our deficit 
reduction comes from responsible savings on the domestic spending side, 
including $275 billion in health care savings made in a way that 
doesn't harm our seniors or our families. We believe everything should 
be put on the table, but we do it in a responsible way that preserves, 
protects, and strengthens programs such as Medicare and Medicaid that 
the American people strongly support.
  This budget saves $240 billion by carefully and responsibly reducing 
defense spending while giving the Pentagon enough time to plan and 
align those savings. We all know this involves some tough decisions, 
but it is a responsible path that is nothing like the across-the-board 
cuts from sequestration which would be devastating to defense programs 
and jobs if they weren't replaced.
  This budget takes a balanced approach to deficit reduction, and it 
matches the responsible cuts with $975 billion in new revenue which is 
raised by closing loopholes and cutting wasteful spending in the Tax 
Code for those who need it the least, while locking in tax cuts for the 
middle class and low-income working families and protecting them from 
paying a penny more.
  This shouldn't be controversial. There is bipartisan support for 
making the Tax Code more fair and more efficient. We just think that 
instead of that savings going toward more tax cuts for the rich, that 
savings ought to be used to reduce the deficit and invest in our middle 
  If this budget were to be enacted, the total deficit reduction since 
the Simpson-Bowles report would consist of 64 percent spending cuts, 14 
percent tax rate increases on the rich, and 22 percent new revenue 
raised by closing loopholes and cutting wasteful spending in the Tax 
Code for the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations. That is a 
responsible approach. It is a balanced and fair approach. It is the one 
that is endorsed by bipartisan groups and experts, and it is the one 
supported by the vast majority of the American people.
  In addition to investing in jobs and economic growth and tackling our 
deficit and debt responsibly, this budget also keeps the promises we 
have made to our seniors, to our families, to our veterans, and to our 
communities. We think Medicare should be protected and preserved for 
our children and our grandchildren, and we absolutely reject calls to 
dismantle or privatize Medicare by voucherizing it.
  The House Republican budget being considered this week could also 
repeal the health care law and increase the cost of care to our 
seniors, throw students off their parents' plans, cause tens of 
millions more Americans to be uninsured, and put the insurance 
companies back in charge of patients' care. Our budget rejects that 
approach, and it builds on the health care law to continue reducing 
costs responsibly, increasing efficiencies, and improving care.
  Our budget also maintains the key principle that every other 
bipartisan group has maintained but that has been rejected by the House 
Republicans. We don't think the burden of deficit reduction should be 
unfairly borne by the most vulnerable children and families who have 
already sacrificed so much. Everyone in America needs to be a part of 
this solution, but the House Republican approach would shred the safety 
net that has offered a hand up to millions of families across America, 
including my own when we needed it, and we reject that approach.
  The budget we are considering this week also makes the investments we 
need to keep our military strong, to protect our communities and 
environment, and uphold the sacred commitment we have made to our 
veterans. I believe our budget reflects the values and priorities of 
the vast majority of families across our country. It is a responsible 
and credible approach, and it offers a clear path to a balanced and 
bipartisan deal.
  House Republicans are debating a very different approach this week. 
The proposal that passed through their Budget Committee would be 
devastating for our economic recovery and threaten millions of jobs. It 
would make extreme cuts to the investments in infrastructure and 
education and innovation that we need right now to lay down a strong 
foundation for broad-based economic growth. It would dismantle Medicare 
and would cut off programs that support the middle class and the most 
vulnerable families. It would do all that while refusing to ask the 
wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to even contribute their 
fair share.
  The American people are going to have an opportunity to examine these 
budgets side by side over the coming weeks. They are going to be able 
to decide which approach is best for our economy, best for jobs, and 
best for the middle class. They are also going to have a chance to 
weigh in.
  After the Senate passes our budget and the House passes theirs, I am 
hopeful we can work together, listen to the American people, and come 
to the balanced and bipartisan deal this country desperately needs.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Blumenthal). The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I thank Chairman Murray for her good 
work. It has been 4 years since we have had a budget in the Senate. 
This is her first year as chair of the committee, and we have gotten a 
budget moved forward to the Senate floor. I congratulate her on that.
  I note Senator Conrad, her predecessor, would have loved to have 
moved a budget forward, but the leadership somehow decided that was not 
the right thing to do. Indeed, they said it would be foolish to have a 
budget. So this is progress, and although we would have liked to have 
had more time in committee, Chairman Murray set up this system in a way 
that she was clear about, and gave us full time all day Thursday of 
last week to debate and make the points we believed were important, and 
so did our Democratic colleagues. They got to speak out. I thank her 
for having an open hearing and being respectful of those of us who had 
different views and were anxious to share them.
  My colleague uses the phrase ``responsible and balanced.'' But what 
you have to know, I say to colleagues and

[[Page S1992]]

friends and Americans, is that this budget is anything but balanced. It 
never comes close to balancing. It never balances over the entire 
lifetime. It does not put us on a trajectory that would ever balance. 
It is not a budget that in any sense balances the amount of money 
coming in with the amount of money going out. It just does not. And we 
need to talk about that.
  I think the American people want a balanced budget. I believe they 
asked for that. I think they expect that of us, and will be 
disappointed to find out that the leadership in the Senate, unlike the 
leadership in the House, does not produce a budget that is balanced.
  Today we begin debate on the budget resolution. This is the first 
budget resolution on the Senate floor in 4 years, crafted by our 
Democratic majority. We are required to produce a budget, but over the 
last 4 years, in violation of plain statutory law in the United States 
Code that requires the passage of a budget by April 15--by April 1 it 
should be produced in committee, we have not acted. It has been 
disappointing. I have had many of my constituents say: How can they not 
produce a budget when the law says you should have one?
  Senator Reid said it would be foolish to have a budget. That was his 
excuse or reason for not bringing up one--foolish to have a budget when 
we have the largest deficit this Nation has ever seen, and we face the 
greatest systemic debt threat we have ever seen.
  I do not think we can have a greater symbol of an arrogance of power 
than the refusal to produce a budget resolution over the last 4 years. 
It was a decision to place--as I have said before, and I have been 
clear on this--political ideas and values over the American interests.
  Our friends in the majority speak of their deep concern for 
struggling Americans. Yet year after year there has been no plan 
produced that will actually help them. America has never been in a more 
perilous fiscal condition, never needed a sound budget plan more than 
today. So what has changed? Why are we moving forward? The answer is a 
simple one. The House of Representatives passed legislation. It said: 
No budget, no pay. So now we have a budget. Hopefully, we would have 
had one anyway, but I am glad that one is moving. Our colleagues 
probably like to get paid.
  Today we know the Senate majority resisted offering a plan for these 
years. The budget before us today is a bankrupt vision that will 
bankrupt the country. It is a jaded tax-and-spend budget that surges 
the Nation's debt and achieves no reduction in our annual deficits. It 
is a budget that never balances--never.
  I think this quote sums it up well:

       In short, this document gives the voters no reason to 
     believe that the Democrats have a viable plan for or even a 
     responsible public assessment of the country's long-term 
     fiscal predicament.

  That is not my analysis but I agree with it. That comes from an 
editorial of the Washington Post after this budget was produced.
  Senate Democrats have made no attempt to make the government leaner 
or more productive. Their proposal goes to extraordinary lengths to 
shield failing government programs from reform. Just add more money. It 
grows the government at the expense of growing the economy. It enriches 
the bureaucracy at the expense of the people. It has no plan to help 
discouraged workers move from dependency on the government to 
independence. Its surging debt and taxes will crush American workers, 
close American factories, and depress American wages.
  I ask the American people to answer this question: Do you believe the 
government is wasteful; that it needs to do a better job of saving your 
money? If your answer to that question is yes, then consider this: The 
Democratic budget does not achieve a single penny in net savings. After 
4 years they have failed to identify any way to save money through real 
reform of government spending, not a solitary cent.
  So any Senator who votes for this budget apparently believes the 
budget is perfect and needs no reform. Any Senator who votes for this 
budget is saying to the American people: Washington is not the problem, 
you are the problem. They are saying: We have managed your money well, 
we have done it all right, we did nothing wrong. The problem, see, is 
you. You have not sent us enough money. In fact, this budget says: 
Send us another $1.5 trillion in more taxes. Send more money.

  They also say: But don't worry, you will not have to pay those taxes. 
We are just closing loopholes. But closing loopholes does not come 
close to getting this many taxpayer dollars--it just does not. When 
they talk about the closing of loopholes, what that really means is it 
is slashing popular deductions to pay for more Washington spending--
charitable deductions, home mortgage, or other exemptions. That is 
where the money is in the deductions. You will not raise much money 
with loopholes.
  Let's take a moment to look at the numbers in this budget and what it 
claims to do. First, I would like to examine the claim that this budget 
reduces the deficit by $1.85 trillion. That is a significant sum of 
money. It is not nearly enough to balance our budget, but it is a 
significant sum of money--over 10 years, the claim is. When many 
Americans hear this they might think it means the budget authors are 
proposing to reduce America's debt by $1.85 trillion. Not so.
  According to their own budget tables our Nation's debt will climb 
another $7.3 trillion over 10 years, passing the $24 trillion in total 
Federal gross debt that our Nation has accumulated. It does not reduce 
the debt, not even close. The Nation's debt grows by $7.3 trillion.
  Their promotional materials, however, claim $1.85 trillion in deficit 
reduction--they claim that. This claim refers to an alleged reduction 
in the size of the projected debt increase. So the debt is going to 
increase, but we are going to reduce the increased rate of the debt--
that is what we are going to do--by almost $2 trillion. But even that 
$1.85 trillion claim is totally false. It just is. It is a fabrication. 
It is not so. Several accounting tricks are used to create this number.
  The biggest of these tricks is that their budget completely 
eliminates the savings that have been placed in law by the sequester, 
but it fails to count the elimination of the reduction in spending in 
the sequester as a spending increase. We voted 20 months ago--Congress 
did, August 2011--to reduce the growth of spending $2.1 trillion in 
order to obtain a raising of the debt limit by $2.1 trillion over 10 
years. That is what it would be. And 60 percent of that $2.1 trillion--
$1.2 trillion--is the sequester. They would eliminate the sequester but 
not count the fact that they have increased spending of the current law 
that is in place, and it is not going to be changed except to be 
modified so it is more rational in where the cuts fall. But they would 
wipe it out and not count that as increasing spending.
  This is how the country goes broke. This is how America confuses what 
it is doing--I would say deliberately--to try to convince the American 
people they are acting responsibly when we are acting irresponsibly.
  I asked Chairman Murray's fine staff about this at the hearing. They 
didn't want to talk about it, I have to say. But when pressed, like 
good staff people do, and the question was put to them plainly, they 
gave an answer--the correct answer, I think.

       Sessions: Relative to current law, under your plan if it is 
     enacted, how much deficit reduction will occur?

  The staff answer:

       Again, if you want to go straight to CBO baseline that we 
     started when I was talking to Mr. Johnson it would be about 
     $1.75 trillion. If you want to make the adjustments and take 
     out the sequester--

  And of course we should--and the disaster, yes, obviously it's much 
less. I think the total deficit reduction is about $700 billion in the 
  Mr. President, $1.85 trillion claimed in reduction. If you count the 
sequester you are at $700 billion. $1.2 from $1.9 leaves $700 billion. 
But there are more gimmicks than that which take us down to zero 
deficit reduction, really.
  So I asked this question again to the staff of the majority in the 

       Can you honestly say that under this budget you can achieve 
     $1.85 trillion in deficit reduction and eliminate the 
     sequester with only $975 billion [you claim] in new taxes?

  And the answer was, ``No.''
  Of course you cannot, but that is basically what they were saying. 
That is what they said in their promotion of this budget, that it 
achieves $1.85 trillion in deficit reduction. Any American

[[Page S1993]]

who heard that would assume it means we are going to reduce the amount 
of deficit being added by $1.85 trillion, relative to current law.
  Once again, we have this obsession, it seems, in Congress. We are 
trying to maneuver numbers around so we can spend more money while 
claiming we are not. They claim they are reducing the growth in our 
debt by almost $2 trillion, but it is not so. It does not happen under 
this budget. If anyone wishes to know more details, we will share those 
as time goes by.

  There are other gimmicks in this budget too. The budget fails to 
account for the cost of continuing the stimulus tax credits and fails 
to offset the doc fix, as well as the physician payment fix, which we 
have to do just like we do every year. It should be scored. We know we 
are going to have to make that expenditure.
  Chairman Murray's budget, which the committee voted on and passed, 
only includes $75 billion to fund the war on terror for 10 years. How 
much did President Obama say the War on Terror, when he submitted his 
last budget, would cost over 10 years? He said it would cost $494 
billion. So they just waltz in and say: We will spend $75 billion in 
the first 2 years and zero on the War on Terror over the next 10 years.
  The Ambassador was in my office this week. He negotiated an agreement 
for a reduction of forces in Afghanistan. We are planning to be there 
for years. We have drone attacks going on. We have special forces 
around the world fighting al-Qaida, with whom we are at war, and that 
is what has been funding that--this account--and they assume it is 
going to end. It is not going to end. But if we assume it is going to 
end, we save, according to the President's projection, some $400 
billion. They can claim to save $400 billion by assuming we are not 
going to spend money that we are going to spend.
  So if we add up all of these items--not scoring the sequester, the 
doc fix, the new stimulus money, the manipulation of the war costs--
then there is zero deficit reduction. We raise $1.5 trillion in new 
taxes, and there is a zero-deficit reduction because spending has 
increased. So this budget also means there is a net spending increase 
above the projected growth of spending. We are on track to increase 
spending every year even with the Budget Control Act and the 
sequester--that is going up every year--but they want to spend even 
more than that. They want to increase the unsustainable debt course we 
are on now more than the current law calls for.
  This budget breaks the spending limits we just signed into law with 
the Budget Control Act. We told the American people, who were reluctant 
to raise the debt ceiling--and a lot of Members of Congress were 
reluctant to raise the debt ceiling--because we were so irresponsible 
around this place. But an agreement was reached recognizing that it 
would be disruptive, to a significant degree, to raise the debt ceiling 
$2.1 trillion, that we would reduce spending over 10 years by $2.1 
  We have already run up another $2.1 trillion in debt. We already hit 
that. In his budget last January, the President--less than 6 months 
after he signed the Budget Control Act and eliminated a little bit of 
the growth in spending--is proposing to eliminate the sequester part of 
it, which is $1.2 trillion, or 60 percent.
  Here are some other figures the American people should know about 
this budget. It has a 60-percent spending increase over 10 years, which 
would increase spending by over 60 percent. It has over a $162 billion 
increase in spending next year--another stimulus bill. There will be 
$7.3 trillion in new Federal debt that will be added under this budget 
over the next 10 years; a $1.5 trillion tax increase; an 80-percent 
increase in Federal welfare and means-tested poverty spending. All the 
poverty programs--means-tested programs--would increase 80 percent. 
There is no reform for those programs, but a big increase.
  So the question of whether to balance the budget is one of the 
central features of this debate that we are having now. If the American 
people take nothing else away from this debate, it should be that the 
party running the Senate--the Democratic Party--is spending taxpayers' 
dollars and refusing to ever balance the Federal budget.
  By contrast, the Republican-led House, with Senator Paul Ryan and his 
team, has a plan that they will vote on today which will balance the 
budget. They have passed a budget every year. Our colleagues in the 
Senate, while refusing to pass a budget, have delighted in complaining 
about the leadership and the responsible action of the House by blaming 
everything they can think of, and more, on unkind Paul Ryan who wants 
to push the old folks off the cliff, and that is not true. He has good 
plans; he has growth plans. What I would say to everyone is: This 
Senate has done nothing by being critical of everyone else. We have had 
several budgets come up, and I voted for several of them. My Democratic 
colleagues have voted for not one. They voted against the Ryan budget, 
they voted against the President's budget, they voted against the 
Toomey budget, and they voted against the Rand Paul budget. They voted 
against them all. Yet, they don't seem to be the least bit hesitant to 
attack everybody else.
  I think we have a moral duty to balance the budget. It is not right 
to continue to spend and enjoy borrowed money today that someone else 
will have to repay tomorrow. We also have an economic duty to balance 
the budget, and I wish to talk about that. We need to balance the 
budget to prevent a future financial crisis, as Erskine Bowles and Alan 
Simpson told the Budget Committee a couple of years ago. We are facing 
the most predictable financial crisis in our Nation's history if we 
don't get off this debt path. We need to act now to deal with the 
present danger that is occurring to our economy.
  Our massive public gross debt is hurting growth today. Our economy 
today is being damaged by it. It is destroying jobs today. Massive 
Federal debt is creating poverty and joblessness right now. The debt is 
pulling down economic growth right now--not tomorrow, now. People are 
not getting jobs today because of this debt. People are not getting 
promotions, bonuses, and wage increases as a result of this debt that 
is hanging over the country.
  Well, some might say: How do you prove that? The famed economists 
Rogoff and Reinhart testified before the Budget Committee a year or two 
ago. They released a paper last April that concludes when gross debt--
not public debt, which is somewhat less--the $16-plus trillion that we 
see on the debt clock in public--reaches 90 percent of GDP, then the 
economy slows between 1 percent and 2 percent. The economy begins to 
slow. Our gross debt is now 103 percent of GDP. Some may not be aware--
and my colleagues need to know this--that the International Monetary 
Fund, the Bank for International Settlements, and the European Central 
Bank have all independently done studies of this kind and reached very 
similar conclusions.
  The other studies with different approaches all find that our current 
debt load in the United States--which is now almost $17 trillion--is 
causing a drag on our economy. A 1-percent decline in growth costs 1 
million jobs, according to Christina Romer, who worked in the Obama 
White House as a top economic adviser.

  We know that for the past 3 years, growth in America has fallen well 
below what our experts, the Congressional Budget Office, have 
predicted. These studies show our debt is hurting the economy now and 
that increased spending and more debt must end now. It cannot be 
contended any longer that it is good for America to borrow more and 
spend more. We cannot borrow more to spend more. Somebody compared that 
to taking a bucket in the deep end of the swimming pool, filling it up, 
and going to the shallow end and pouring it in. If truth be known, when 
you borrow to spend, you drop some along the way. We must grow the 
economy, not keep growing the government, and certainly not keep 
growing the debt.
  I believe we all know this. I think the American people know it, and 
we in Congress have a responsibility to honestly confront this 
challenge and put our country on the right path. As we learned, we 
actually don't have to cut spending. All we really need to do is allow 
the spending to increase, but allow it to increase each year at 3.4 
percent and not 5.4 percent. If we increase it at 3.4 percent, as 
Congressman Ryan has done in his budget, the

[[Page S1994]]

budget balances in 10 years. We don't have to slash spending. We can 
even allow spending to increase, but we have to manage the growth of 
it. We can do this.
  The recovery we are seeing from the 2007 recession is the slowest 
since the end of World War II and slow growth is expected to continue. 
The Commerce Department reported last month that the economy barely 
grew in the fourth quarter of 2012. We had virtually zero growth in the 
fourth quarter. That was a surprise. CBO expects the U.S. economy to 
limp along in 2013 at about 1.4 percent after inflation is taken out. 
That is a muddled, slow-growth, economy well below what they were 
predicting 2 years ago, which was a growth of about 4.6 percent, as I 
recall, for 2013. So no one disputes that this is the slowest recovery 
since 1945.
  Why is it so slow? It certainly is not because the government has 
spent too little of the taxpayers' money. It is certainly not because 
we borrowed too little and spent too little. Total Federal spending has 
gone up 30 percent since 2007, and our annual deficit today is 7 times 
greater than the annual deficit was just 5 years ago. So as a 
consequence of huge annual deficits, our debt has grown by 73 percent 
since the beginning of the recession, over which time we added $6.6 
trillion in new debt.
  It seems quite clear that a substantial reason our recovery is slow 
is because of the depressing effect of high debt, big spending, a 
burdensome tax code, and regulations that are unnecessary. But every 
time Republicans have tried to reform the government, they meet the 
same response from our Democratic leaders--from the President to 
Senator Reid to Chairman Murray--attack the reformers.
  Majority Leader Reid said of one Republican reform effort that it was 
``a mean-spirited bill that would cut the heart out of the recovery we 
have in America today . . . it goes after little children, poor little 
boys and girls.''
  I think that is an unkind thing to say. I don't think anybody 
proposed any legislation that would have that effect or ability or 
intent to do anything like that.
  Chairman Murray said:

       I will not agree to a deal that throws middle-class 
     families under the bus . . .

  Well, we are not throwing middle-class families under the bus. We 
want economic growth. We want prosperity. The real truth is that the 
debt increases borrowing, and spending has not worked. The debt is 
already so high and we have irresponsibly run up so much that it is 
pulling down the economy because it is over 100 percent of GDP. We 
don't need to be attacking people who disagree over solutions in harsh 
personal terms, but we do need people to focus honestly on the 
disagreements and the challenges we face.

  The real victims we are seeing here today are the millions of people 
trapped in poverty by failed government programs. The real victims are 
Americans who are being denied help by those who would defend the 
Washington establishment at all costs and won't reform. The real 
victims of the left's rhetorical assaults are the communities out there 
that are thirsting for growth and opportunity but denied any policies 
that would create more jobs and actually create better and rising 
wages. The real victims are the millions who lost or can't get jobs, 
and they are out there--we have fewer working today than we had in 
2000--or those who didn't get a pay raise because the debt has pulled 
down economic growth.
  So I think this budget shows no really effective concern for 
Americans living in poverty, struggling to work, trapped in a stale 
bureaucratic welfare state. There is no reform that will actually work 
to help them. That is what I am concerned about.
  Look at a city such as Detroit, governed by liberal policies for 
decades--a city once rich with business and commerce and opportunity. 
More than half of all Detroit children now live in poverty. Look at our 
Nation's Capital, another major city locally governed for decades by 
very liberal policies, a city filled with finance and deep-pocketed 
businesses. Washington, DC, is flowing with Federal funds. No city gets 
more from the Federal Government than Washington. Yet, despite this 
cash, one in three youths in our Nation's Capital lives in poverty. Two 
in three live in single-parent homes--two in three.
  So this budget perpetuates the misguided policies that are causing 
social and economic harm in every State, in every region, in every part 
of this country. That is my view. Others may disagree, but I am 
prepared to defend it, and I think that empirical data and observations 
show it is correct. Compassion, if we care about people who are 
hurting, demands that we change, does it not?
  We need to grow the economy, not the government, and do it for all 
Americans in every State and city.
  We need to create rising wages and better jobs without just borrowing 
money and handing it out through some government check. That is not 
working. It is over. We need to understand that. We need an economic 
policy that provides our children with more jobs, not more debt. We 
need jobs. We don't need to be burdening our children for the rest of 
their lives with an unconscionable debt so we can live high today.
  We need to reform and improve ineffective government programs so they 
help more Americans actually achieve their financial goals. How can we 
do this without running up the debt? Is there something we can do? 
Don't we have to have government investments? Don't we have to borrow 
more money? We don't have any. Any new money we spend is all borrowed. 
We are in debt. Aren't there some things we can do? Absolutely there 
is, and they are things that do not cost money. How about this: create 
a new tax reform system that creates growth, revenue-neutral but 
simpler, more pro growth-oriented and fairer. Can we do that? Yes.
  What about more domestic American energy production? Produce more 
energy here instead of sending our money abroad, creating jobs here, 
creating tax revenue for our States, cities, and counties.
  Let's make the welfare office--which gets from the Federal Government 
today hundreds of billions of dollars in spending--a place that 
restarts lives, that helps people rejoin the workforce, not trapping 
them in government benefit programs year after year.
  Let's defend American workers from unfair foreign trade practices--
and there are a lot of them. It is time we stood up to it.
  Let's make government leaner and more productive. A leaner 
government, a more productive government is good for America. I don't 
see any reform effort there.
  Let's eliminate every burdensome Federal regulation that isn't 
needed. Those are job-killers. If a regulation promotes safety and is 
economically viable, that is OK, but if it is not--and many are not--
let's eliminate it. It is a drag on growth and prosperity.
  Let's enforce Federal immigration laws, and let's protect American 
workers and legal immigrants from those who care only about importing 
more and more cheap labor.
  Let's balance the Federal budget. As I said, balancing the budget and 
reducing the debt of America over time will get our debt down so it 
won't be a drag on the economy.
  The American people have heard a lot of rhetoric from their elected 
officials and a lot of buzzwords about financial discipline this week. 
Rhetoric will be matched against reality. Every Senator will have to 
stand and be counted. I encourage the American people to tune in to C-
SPAN and see where their Senator stands on the great issues of our 
time: Do we balance the Federal budget? Do we reform the bureaucracy or 
just keep spending more money? Do we keep sending even more money to 
Washington through more taxes? Do we embrace our great constitutional 
inheritance of freedom or do we let it slip away? These are questions 
of our time.
  The budgets reflect where we stand on these issues. I would say the 
Democratic budget represents more government and less commitment to 
efficiency--not the kind of change and progress we need. We need to 
have a budget that balances, that is oriented toward growth and 
  I look forward to the debate today. It will be an interesting 
challenge throughout the next couple of days. I have been very 
passionate here today, very frank here today, but I know we have great 
colleagues on both sides of the aisle.
  In our debate in the Budget Committee, we had some great Senators on

[[Page S1995]]

both sides of the aisle who have different views and expressed them 
ably. Chairman Murray is so articulate and wonderful to work with, but 
we do disagree.
  It is time for change in this country. It is time to understand that 
our goal must be to promote prosperity and job creation and higher 
wages, not more government. That is what the debate is about. I urge my 
colleagues to be engaged in it, and let's begin to change the direction 
of our country and put it on the road to prosperity.
  I thank the Chair and yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Mississippi.
  Mr. WICKER. Mr. President, I thank Senator Sessions for his 
  I come here today as a new member of the Budget Committee, fresh from 
the committee process with some observations and some disappointments, 
but principally today I come to the floor to talk about the urgent need 
for budget reform and a lasting budget that will put us on a path to 
fiscal responsibility.
  I suppose we should be delighted at least to be on the floor with a 
budget. After 4 years of trillion-dollar deficits and after 4 years 
without a budget, at least we have an opportunity as representatives of 
the American people to debate the financial future of this country and 
an opportunity to discuss putting our Nation on a trajectory away from 
constant debt and uncertainty and on a path toward security and 
prosperity, on a path that is designed to create better job 
opportunities for the people we represent.
  Unfortunately, the budget our friends on the other side of the aisle 
unveiled last week ignores the spending problem that continues to drive 
the Federal debt skyward. Don't take the word of one Senator from 
Mississippi on that. Let's listen to the words of the Washington Post 
editorial board. Not exactly what one would call a center-right entity, 
they observed on March 14--and I quote the Washington Post:

       This document gives voters no reason to believe that 
     Democrats have a viable plan for--or even a responsible 
     public assessment of--the country's long-term fiscal 

  Those are the words of the Washington Post in utter disappointment 
about the product we will be debating on the floor for the next several 
  Being a member of the Budget Committee and being part of the budget 
markup process has certainly been revealing to me as a new member of 
the committee. We were given an opportunity before amendments were 
offered to ask technical questions--not really to debate but just to 
ask technical questions of the staff members about exactly what this 
budget does. We learned from these professionals--when we just asked 
them the questions, we learned these facts about the Democratic 
proposal for a budget for the next 10 years: It does not balance at any 
point during the next decade. Never in the next 10 years would this 
document bring the Federal budget into balance. Not only that, in 
propounding further technical questions to the staff, we learned that 
this budget puts our country on a spending path that never comes into 
balance. There is no plan for decades and decades to come, as far as 
the eye can see, for this budget ever to get the Federal Government 
into balance. Yet it was supported by friends of mine on the other side 
of the aisle who have certainly given lipservice to the idea not only 
of a balanced budget but of a balanced budget constitutional amendment.
  I am going to predict that Democratic Members of this body who come 
in here and vote for this document will have coauthored a balanced 
budget constitutional amendment, who have actually voted for or 
cosponsored a balanced budget constitutional amendment. Yet they will 
be voting for a document that not only doesn't balance within 10 years 
but that never, ever comes into balance. Indeed, the document that we 
will be asked to support and that we are trying to amend grows the 
Federal Government at 5 percent each year for the entire decade. It 
raises taxes to the tune of $1.5 trillion over the decade. And this is 
important for us to realize: It doesn't raise taxes on that rich guy 
behind the tree who we think can afford it, it raises taxes on the 
middle class. There is no question about it. We can't get $1.5 trillion 
out of the American economy without raising taxes on the middle class, 
and that is exactly what this budget does. So it never comes into 
balance, but it does raise a ton of taxes right out of the middle-class 
economy of this country.
  Now, we will have an amendment process, and there will be a number of 
amendments, but it will, in essence, give us an opportunity to slow the 
trajectory of growth of Federal spending.
  Members of the Senate will be offered an amendment in this process to 
balance our Federal budget by the year 2023. We will be given an 
opportunity to debate that and to visit on a plan that would get us 
there. How does it get us there? By slashing and burning? By tough 
austerity in the budget? Absolutely not. I think it would surprise many 
people within the sound of my voice in this city and elsewhere to know 
that we can grow the size of Federal spending by 3.4 percent each year 
over the next 10 years and still balance the Federal budget by the year 
2023. Let me repeat that. Federal spending is not going to be actually 
cut under the Republican proposal we will present as an alternative. 
Federal spending will go up each year by an average of 3.4 percent per 
year, and still we will be able to balance the budget by the year 2023. 
So we need not let anyone say that we are having to slash and burn in 
order to balance the budget.
  There will be adequate funds to perform the functions of government 
and still we will be able to balance the budget.
  I say what so many of my colleagues have said and what our 
distinguished ranking member from Alabama has said repeatedly: We are 
not in this business simply to say we balanced the budget. It is not 
some artificial goal like winning a game. We are in this process of 
trying to save our country from a mountain of debt in order to create 
jobs for the American people, in order to grow the economy, rather than 
growing the size of the Federal Government. We have an opportunity to 
avoid the fate that is occurring to our allies in Western Europe, even 
as we speak.
  I have heard it said recently that: Well, we don't have a debt crisis 
yet. There are some people who would dispute that. But there are people 
in this Federal Government, the President included, who say: We don't 
have a debt crisis at this moment in the Federal Government. I ask this 
in response: Must we wait for an absolute crisis before we act? We see 
it coming. We see what has happened to our friends who have overspent 
in Greece, in Spain, in Portugal, what is happening to our allies, our 
NATO allies in France. We can avoid this fate. Must we wait until the 
absolute last moment when people are losing their jobs and we are 
unable to perform the necessary functions of government?
  So I say this: We need to act now. We need to act to avoid that 
crisis which is not that far down the road, and we want to act to grow 
the economy and create jobs.
  I wish to mention three issues briefly, and then I notice there are 
other people who want to speak on this important issue. There is hardly 
a more important issue that we could be talking about, and thank 
goodness, for the first time in 4 years, we are going to get that 
opportunity. Let me mention Social Security, let me mention Medicaid, 
and then Medicare.
  Social Security is a wonderful program. My dad relies on Social 
Security. We are going to keep the commitment that we have made to our 
senior citizens in the form of Social Security. But everyone agrees the 
numbers simply do not add up long term. They agree with that much, as 
President Ronald Reagan and Speaker Tip O'Neill agreed to the very same 
notion back in 1982 and 1983. The numbers were not adding up long term 
for Social Security and something had to be done and some painful 
decisions had to be made in the early 1980s. To this day, we thank God 
for President Ronald Reagan and Speaker Tip O'Neill for having the 
bipartisan courage to do the tough things, to make the tough decisions, 
and adjust an important program so that Social Security has been saved 
for the past three decades.
  We need that kind of statesmanship out of the White House today. 
Frankly, we need that kind of leadership out of the White House. We are 
calling for bipartisan action. I think it is worth noting--and it pains 
me to say this--for

[[Page S1996]]

the first time in 92 years, we are considering a budget without seeing 
a plan from the President of the United States, and he announced just 
last week that he was going to wait in sending us his budget plan. It 
will be 2 months late by the time it arrives, according to the 
President's own timetable. In fact, this is the fourth time in 5 years 
that our President, that my President, has missed this deadline. But we 
need the same leadership out of this White House that we had out of the 
Reagan White House three decades ago. We can save Social Security, but 
it will have to be a little different.
  We can save Medicaid and make it better. We are going to have an 
opportunity, as legislators, as policymakers, to give the States an 
opportunity to design their own Medicaid Program to serve their 
individual States better.
  Let's give one State or let's give five volunteer States the 
opportunity to take a Medicaid block grant and see if they cannot 
provide better health care to their underserved population with a 
Medicaid block grant. Let's give them an opportunity to do that. The 
program does not work very well now.
  Then the statement was made--and correctly--by some of my Democratic 
colleagues in the Budget Committee that Medicare is a promise we have 
made and we ought to keep that promise. I could not agree more. There 
is not a soul in this Senate who does not want to keep the promise we 
have made to American workers and to American retired people with 
regard to Medicare.
  But the fact remains--and every Senator in this body understands 
this--Medicare, as it is currently written, cannot last for many more 
years. The numbers simply do not add up. I am glad the point is being 
made, and it is being picked up by the mainstream media now. An 
American worker pays $1 into Medicare and gets $3 back in benefits. A 
system like that simply cannot be sustained long term. The numbers do 
not add up. The math does not. It is not that flexible.
  So we need to--as Reagan and O'Neill did--as responsible custodians 
of our Federal Government, as responsible trustees of the future of 
this country, make changes to a program that has served us well.
  Americans are calling for leadership and bipartisan action now. There 
are hopeful signs: the National Commission on Social Security Reform, 
the Gang of 6, the Simpson-Bowles Commission, various bipartisan groups 
that are trying to forge an honest long-term deal to deal not only with 
our debt but these three important entitlement programs.
  I do not see that sort of realism in the document the Democratic 
majority has provided to us through the Budget Committee. I hope we can 
amend it. Perhaps we will not in the next few days, but we are going to 
have to in order to be the trustees of the future, to be the 
responsible leaders that our voters demand and that the people who come 
after us would hope we could be.
  I look forward to the process. I look forward, cheerfully and 
realistically, to making the case for our position that we could grow 
the government by just a little less and balance the budget within 10 
years, and in so doing we can make a better life, a better future, a 
better ability for our people to earn a living and support their 
  Thank you very much. I look forward to the debate. At this point I 
yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Texas.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I will be brief because I know we have 
other speakers on the floor.
  This is all we need to know about the budget that was voted out of 
the Budget Committee, along party lines, with Democrats carrying the 
day: It would raise spending by about 60 percent, it would raise taxes 
by $1.5 trillion, it would increase our national debt by $7.3 trillion, 
and--this is the most important part--it would never ever, ever 
  That is the exact opposite of what America needs to get our economy 
moving again and get a handle on our long-term finances. We have 
already reached a point where the Federal spending levels are 
unsustainable. We all know that. We have already reached a point where 
our national debt is exerting a drag on our economy.
  I read the other day the President said there is no risk of an 
immediate debt crisis. We can debate that. But what we cannot debate is 
that our national debt is so big that it is dragging down economic 
growth, crushing job creation, and resulting in a loss of hope and 
certainly a loss of opportunity for 23 million Americans who are out of 
work or who are working part time and who want to get back to work and 
provide for their families.
  We also know, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that an 
unprecedented--or at least in the last 30 years--number of Americans 
have just simply given up looking for work. They have been so 
discouraged that the labor participation rate is at a 32-year low.
  When our colleagues across the aisle say all we need is just a little 
bit more revenue; in other words, more taxes, we have already seen 
taxes go up by more than $1.6 trillion since President Obama became 
  Simply put, we cannot act as if the laws of fiscal gravity do not 
apply to the Congress or the Federal Government. That is why every 
single Senator on this side of the aisle has cosponsored a balanced 
budget amendment to the Constitution, which would require the Federal 
Government to live within its means and require a congressional 
supermajority to raise taxes or raise the debt ceiling.
  I have heard colleagues across the aisle say: We can't pass a 
balanced budget amendment. That would tie Congress's hands.
  That is the point. It would tie Congress's hands in spending money we 
do not have, running up these dangerous debts, and being a wet blanket 
on economic growth and job creation.
  How do we know that government can live within its means? Virtually 
every State has some type of balanced budget requirement. Why should 
the rules in Washington be any different?
  Some across the aisle argue--I think they actually believe this--that 
embracing fiscal discipline will jeopardize the safety net. In fact, 
the opposite is true. If we do not embrace sensible fiscal discipline, 
our safety net programs will eventually collapse because we will not 
have the money to provide for the national security and we will not 
have the money to provide the safety net programs we all agree are 
necessary for the most vulnerable of our citizens.
  As I have said before, if we reform some of these programs 
gradually--as the Senator from Mississippi was referring to, Medicare 
and Social Security--we could minimize the impact and protect our most 
vulnerable citizens. But if we do nothing to reform and preserve Social 
Security and Medicare and we experience a Greek- or Spanish-style debt 
crisis, these programs will be slashed abruptly. The very people our 
colleagues say they want to protect the most will be hurt the most 
because the cuts will be much harsher and they will be 
disproportionately impacted.
  One last point. By reducing the growth of Federal spending--and that 
is all we are talking about doing; we are not talking about cuts in the 
sense that anybody else in America talks about cuts; we are talking 
about just reducing the rate of increase in Federal spending ever so 
slightly--but by reducing the growth of Federal spending, we would 
prevent the need for tax hikes in the future. Indeed, that is what I 
hear from so many people in the private sector. When we ask them: Why 
are you sitting on the sidelines with cash in the bank, and why aren't 
you investing in either new physical structure or jobs, they say: 
Because the debt is so high and Congress has shown a lack of 
willingness to deal with it, all we can do is expect that taxes are 
going to be a whole lot higher and greater burdens placed on job 
creators, and so we think the more prudent thing is to sit on it and 
not invest it in new job creation.
  But new tax hikes would increase long-term economic uncertainty, and 
they would discourage job creation. Conversely, if we work hard to keep 
taxes within reason and certainly not raise them any more than have 
already been raised, this would increase long-term economic certainty 
and encourage job creation. After all, investors and business owners 
and job creators are not stupid. They understand that without real 
spending restraint and real entitlement reform, we are ultimately 
headed for another massive tax increase.

[[Page S1997]]

  Indeed, that is what this budget, voted out by our Democratic 
colleagues along party lines, promises: higher taxes and more spending. 
That is exactly what this economy does not need for us to get back on 
track, to create the jobs and to create the opportunities for people to 
provide for their families and live the American dream.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington. State.
  Mrs. MURRAY. The Senator from Michigan is here. I would like to ask 
her how much time she would like me to yield to her.
  Ms. STABENOW. I believe we have other colleagues coming as well. We 
were hoping to have 30 minutes and possibly more.
  Mrs. MURRAY. I will yield to the Senator from Michigan and her 
colleagues 30 minutes. I am happy to yield more.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The Senator from Michigan.
  Ms. STABENOW. I look forward to colleagues who will be joining me to 
express strong support for the budget that has been reported out of the 
Senate Budget Committee. I first want to thank our chair, who has done 
a yeoman's job in putting this together. She has had so many different 
assignments dealing with the budget and efforts to come to responsible 
reform and put our country back on the right track in order to bring 
down the deficit and grow the economy. One more time she has stepped up 
to the job. So I want to thank our chair for all of her efforts.
  Let me start, first of all, by saying this is very simple when we 
look at what we are talking about in this budget. As I said also, I 
want to thank the ranking member for his courtesy throughout the budget 
process. While we have very different views, this was done in a very 
professional and courteous way on all sides. I really appreciate that.
  But this is a very different view, both in what we debate and how we 
view this budget, which is a values document for the country, and the 
budget that is being debated in the House of Representatives. It comes 
down to something very simple. Our budget strengthens the middle class. 
We believe it is critically important that we grow the economy from the 
middle out. That means making sure folks who are struggling to stay in 
the middle class have a fair shot, people trying to get in the middle 
class have a fair shot, and that we grow the economy by understanding 
the economic engine of America comes from having a strong middle class.
  On the other side, the Republican budget just plain simply protects 
the special interests, special interest deals in the Tax Code and other 
special interests in other kinds of policies. It is just very different 
and does not grow or support the middle class.
  I also think it is very important that we not just talk in theory but 
talk about what has happened in the past and what has worked and what 
has not. We should do more of what works and less of what does not 
work. We need to start by looking at what happened as we came into 
  I was fortunate to be a new Member of the House of Representatives in 
1997 when, under President Clinton, we all worked together and balanced 
the budget for the first time in 30 years.
  I came to the Senate in 2001. We were debating the largest budget 
surplus projected in the history of the country. That is where we were. 
The question was, What kind of economic policies, what kinds of 
approaches will be put in place to be able to manage that fact, that we 
had the largest budget surplus projected in the history of the country?
  There were two proposals put forward at that time. When you look at 
the way the debt was going from 2001, it is amazing. If we had only 
taken a different track than what happened. I remember as a new Member, 
a new Democrat, that our leader on our side of the aisle, Senator 
Conrad, came forward with a proposal that I believed was eminently 
reasonable. He said: Why do we not take that budget surplus and divide 
it into thirds: one-third of it for strategic tax cuts to grow the 
economy; one-third of it for strategic investments in education, 
science, R&D, moving the economy; and one-third to prefund the 
liabilities for Social Security for the next 75 years.
  Imagine if we had done that. Instead, what happened was the surplus 
was put into a huge supply side tax cut, benefiting, as we know now, 
the wealthiest in the country, adding to a situation where the wealthy 
have gotten wealthier and wealthier in the last decade, the middle 
class has shrunk and shrunk, and more and more people are struggling 
today. So it was all put into a large tax cut, and then we proceeded to 
go into two wars that were not paid for, a Medicare prescription drug 
plan not paid for, and nothing else paid for for a decade. We ended up 
with the largest deficit in the history of the country. That is what 
this President walked into. That is what we have been faced with.
  Now, when we look at where the debt has come from, and why it is 
important that we focus on the economy, we know the biggest piece of 
where the debt came from was the tax cut geared to the wealthiest 
Americans, which has been famously called trickle down economics. The 
folks in Michigan are still waiting for it to trickle down.
  Then we saw the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We are so appreciative 
of the President leading us out of the war in Iraq. We are closing down 
the war in Afghanistan. So that piece is being addressed. We have 
addressed the tax cuts at the end of the year, to ask those at the top 
to do more of their fair share. So that is being addressed. We go on 
down to the Recovery Act, which was so important to be able to try to 
focus on the middle class and get things going again. We did have some 
success with this. Then the other piece, the 30 percent of what is 
happening right now is the economic downturn.

  So as we go forward today, even though we have addressed the high-end 
tax cuts, the wars ending, we no longer see the rescue-and-recovery 
measures. The economy is still 30 percent of our deficit. Frankly, we 
will never get out of debt with 12 million people out of work, which is 
why we, as Democrats, have made sure we are front and center focused on 
jobs and the economy in this budget.
  We have to create opportunities for jobs for small businesses, for 
manufacturers, for the private sector, for entrepreneurs to be able to 
be successful so we have strong economic growth while we are putting 
forward a balanced budget. That is what we are attempting to do. That 
impacts what we do in this budget.
  In fact, the efforts we put together--we know what happened when the 
President came in: 700,000 jobs a month being lost, the banks and 
financial markets in big trouble. We all know the story of what 
happened and what the President walked into on day one. But we have 
been focused on supporting an economic growth structure that would 
create jobs, create jobs. We are seeing that turnaround from the lost 
decade of jobs. We saw certainly in manufacturing huge job losses from 
2001 on up to 2008. We know what happened with the automobile industry, 
which, by the way, because of our rescue efforts and support for them, 
is roaring back now and creating jobs. By the way, tremendous private 
sector investment is coming into the city of Detroit. The private 
sector is helping us turn that around. We are very proud of that. We 
are also seeing now jobs being created. As fast as we want? No. But we 
understand we have to focus on these numbers, which is creating jobs, 
if we are going to, in fact, get out of the deficit hole.
  We have to reduce the deficit if our country is going to be more 
competitive, and we have to grow more jobs. We have to create 
opportunities for middle-class families. We know we need progrowth 
policies such as the ones in our budget that focus on innovation, 
education, rebuilding America through infrastructure, whether it is our 
courts, whether it is our roads or rails or water and sewer projects or 
what we do on technology. To compete we have to build, and we have to 
focus on what will create jobs.
  We are now at a spot where we know if we focus, as we are in our 
budget, on growing the economy from the middle out rather than the top 
down, based on what was done in the 1990s when we did that, when we 
balanced the budget in the right way by investing in the future, 
investing in education, investing in innovation, and then also making 
smart cuts to balance that out, we balanced the budget. We had 22 
million jobs that were created.

[[Page S1998]]

  That is what this budget does again. It is focused on those policies 
that worked, not just debate back and forth in theory, but policies 
that actually worked in the 1990s to balance the budget, to grow the 
economy. We saw the policies being advocated by our friends on the 
other side. We did that already. We did that 2001 to 2008.
  I do not know about anybody else, but I know people in Michigan do 
not want to relive that. That was not our idea of economic growth. It 
certainly did not balance the budget. It put us in the largest deficit 
in the history of the country.
  So the budget in the House says: Boy, if you liked 2001 to 2008, you 
are going to love this. Two million jobs next year alone are lost in 
the Ryan Republican budget. And similar policies are being advocated by 
colleagues on the other side of the aisle.
  Let me just take a moment; I see my colleague, Senator Reed from 
Rhode Island, is here, who I know wants to be a part of this and is 
such an important voice. But let me just say a couple of things. We 
understand we need to make smart spending reductions in order to 
balance the budget. In fact, we have already started doing that. One of 
the things which is so frustrating to me is to hear colleagues talk 
about spending cuts without acknowledging what we have done for the 
last 2 years. So we already know we have put ourselves on a path for 
$2.4 trillion in deficit reduction. And 70 percent of that has come out 
of services for the middle class, the most vulnerable. It has been cuts 
in spending for things that would actually grow the economy, innovation 
and research.
  I am desperately concerned as chair of the Agriculture Committee 
because we have seen agricultural research decimated around issues of 
food safety and pest and disease management and other critical things, 
on invasive species, that we may not feel right away but are things 
that will affect our future. So we have already seen major cuts.
  At the end of the year a small amount of money, 30 percent of the 
deficit reduction, was done. We have actually been asking those at the 
very top, who have the most benefits from the tax cuts, the most 
benefits from the efforts to rescue Wall Street, the most benefits in 
general, just to do a little bit more--30 percent of what we have 
already done. So what we have said is that going forward, the final 
amount we need to do, between the $2.4 and $4 trillion, we are 
insisting that be done in a balanced way and not one more time to come 
back on the middle class who have already had the brunt of the 
sacrifice, the brunt of the cuts. It is not fair.
  So we have replaced across-the-board cuts. We have had colleagues in 
the last few days complaining about the sequester cuts. Please vote for 
this budget. It stops those across-the-board cuts and puts something in 
that is much more common sense.
  Those across-the-board cuts would cut 750,000 jobs this year alone. 
When you add what the Ryan Republican budget would do in the House, 
that is another 2 million jobs next year. It is a jobs killer.
  What we are saying is replace it with a responsible, balanced 
approach. That is what we need to do, but it does it in a way that sets 
  The House says spending cuts again. This is predominantly education, 
innovation, construction. They also include eliminating Medicare. There 
is no way our majority will support this policy.
  There is a whole range of things that hit the middle class, seniors, 
veterans, and vulnerable citizens. We say our cuts will be different. 
We are willing to make priorities and smart cuts on the direct spending 
side, but there is a whole range of things we can do in the special 
interest deals and Tax Code for the other half.
  I totally reject the idea which has been put forward here so far 
today that our budget somehow raises taxes on the middle class. That is 
absolutely false. We have report after report after report which 
indicate by closing loopholes which are sending jobs overseas, cutting 
subsidies that aren't needed anymore, such as the top five wealthiest 
companies in the world, the top five oil companies--there are trillions 
of dollars in savings. Do this by cutting things that aren't necessary 
and are special deals in the Tax Code. We say half of the amount 
needed, yes, should come from there.
  On the other side of the building, what we see is a very different 
picture. The Ryan Republican budget, when they look at their tax cuts, 
55 percent of what we are doing in tax cuts goes to the top 1 percent. 
I feel this is Groundhog Day over and over. It is the same thing we 
have heard over and over. Give it to the top, it will trickle down. We 
did that. It did not trickle down. At least it didn't hit Michigan.
  This budget does it over and over. Two-thirds of what they do in the 
House goes to the top 5 percent of taxpayers. What is left for middle-
class families? We say something very different to grow the economy. We 
say we need in a global economy to outeducate, outinnovate, and 
outbuild. The President has said that over and over and our budget 
invests in those things that allow us to compete, grow the middle 
class, and create jobs while doing what we need to do to make smart, 
commonsense decisions on spending in the Federal Government.
  Here is what I am worried about. Right now, when we look at U.S. 
investing in research and development, compared to what is happening 
around the world, the greatest country in the world, the United States 
of America, is down. We are losing ground on investments while 
everybody else races to be like America--everybody else. China wants to 
be like us and have a middle class. They are investing in innovation. 
We see proposal after proposal after proposal to cut our ability to 
compete for the future. This is why the Senate budget prioritizes 
research and development by replacing the devastating across-the-board 
cuts with a balanced and responsible approach which preserves $10 
billion in R&D funding every year and for the future.
  We continue support for medical research, one of the areas where we 
are the leader. We strengthen the National Institutes of Health. We 
have increased investments in renewable energy technology. There are so 
many opportunities for us. I am very proud today Michigan is No. 1 in 
new clean energy patents, and new ideas are coming. It is part of the 
economic engine which is bringing jobs back to Michigan.
  Investing in our 21st century manufacturing sector is also here. 
Senator Baldwin put forward a proposal on manufacturing hubs which I 
strongly support. Other colleagues, Senator Coons and others, have 
supported the manufacturing extension partnership to help small 
manufacturers as well.
  We are also investing in exports and opening markets abroad. We know 
when American companies are able to increase their exports by $1 
billion, they create 5,000 new jobs.
  In infrastructure, we need roads and bridges. The chair of our 
committee is a strong advocate for ports as well in the global economy, 
being able to export and import. That investment in rebuilding America 
is in this budget. The American Society of Civil Engineers just 
released their report card, and they gave America a D-plus. We are not 
going to outcompete the world with a D-plus on infrastructure.
  This budget makes historic investments in our workforce. We know from 
hearing from CEOs that workforce development education is absolutely 
key to our future.
  Before asking my colleague from Rhode Island to join in this 
discussion as well on jobs--I speak as the chair of the Agriculture 
Committee--I thank the chair for including in our efforts creating a 5-
year farm bill, which not only participates in deficit reduction of $23 
billion but is twice what we would be required to do under 
  The farm bill is a jobs bill. I don't know of any other bill that has 
an impact on 16 million jobs in this country. The farm bill does. It 
supports agriculture and rural America. The farm bill is a part of this 
  My colleague from Rhode Island is deeply involved in efforts to 
create jobs, balance the budget, and reduce the deficit. I ask 
unanimous consent I be permitted to join in a colloquy with Senator 
Reed at this point. He has been a champion in job creation, and I am 
very grateful he came tonight to join us.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. REED. I want to thank the Senator from Michigan for allowing me 
to participate in this colloquy. I also

[[Page S1999]]

commend her for a thoughtful, insightful, and extremely compelling 
argument about creating jobs as a way not only to give people a chance 
to rise in the middle class but also to accomplish our other objective, 
which is ultimately to reduce the deficit.
  As the Senator pointed out, when I was here with her in the late 
1990s, we reached the point where we had a projected surplus of perhaps 
$5 trillion over 10 years. She has catalogued the way in which that 
surplus has been eroded. What we need to do is focus, as she suggests, 
on the urgent need to create jobs and ensure our Nation's budget makes 
investments in growing and strengthening the middle class. We are all 
here as beneficiaries of the programs and policies of the 1950s, 1960s, 
and 1970s, which consciously built the middle class and invested in us. 
Our parents invested in us. We need to do the same thing. She is 
absolutely correct, the investments we are proposing in this Democratic 
budget will be critical not only to individual success but to our 
success as an economy, and as a global competitor. I thank her for her 
  I am here to join her to address this pressing need to create jobs, 
to strengthen the economic recovery, and to underscore the vast 
differences between the proposal we are making, and the budget proposed 
by the House of Representatives, by our Republican colleagues.
  Let me state what is a very disturbing figure. There are 12 million 
unemployed Americans, with 4.8 million of these individuals unemployed 
for more than 6 months. We are seeing unprecedented levels of long-term 
unemployment. Americans are struggling to stay in their homes, put 
their children through school and put food on their table.

  In my State we are unfortunately among the top States in a category 
no one wants to be leading, and that is unemployment. The harsh reality 
of what we are facing in Rhode Island was brought home with a stunning 
article in last Sunday's Washington Post. It noted some 180,000 Rhode 
Islanders, over 15 percent of our population, receive SNAP benefits, 
supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits. Some are receiving 
SNAP because they don't have jobs, although they have looked from month 
to month to month. Some have jobs, but the pay is so little they 
qualify under the income limits of the SNAP program.
  I want to particularly thank the Senator from Michigan for her 
valiant efforts to increase SNAP funding. Literally we are talking 
about putting food on people's tables. Fifteen percent of my State of 
Rhode Island depends on food support to have a healthy diet for them 
and particularly for their children.
  When we talk about what we want to do with the budget, it is about 
getting people back to work. That is what they want. They don't want a 
SNAP benefit. They want good jobs. They want the same opportunities, 
from which we benefited, which helped build a strong middle class. What 
is their greatest fear? Not just falling out of the middle class, but 
that their children won't even have a remote chance of middle-class 
income or a middle-class lifestyle, those opportunities which we in our 
day took almost for granted. We must turn things around.
  As the Senator pointed out, the Republican policy is focused on 
cutting taxes for the very wealthy. This policy has been demonstrated 
over the last decade to not produce good-paying jobs for middle-income 
Americans. However, it does produce very substantial benefits for the 
wealthiest of Americans.

       That is not the way to grow a country. That is not what 
     many people today and through our history have sacrificed 
     their lives for. They are not out there serving in 
     Afghanistan and other places so those who have much could 
     have more. It is so those who have very little would have a 
     chance, at least a chance. This is what we are talking about 
     behind all the numbers. We are talking about investing in 
     America. We need to make that investment.

  The other side of the aisle indulges in what I believe is a fallacy: 
The only way of fixing the economy is cutting the deficit. But, instead 
of focusing exclusively on deficit reduction in the near term, we need 
to pass legislation which will put people back to work, give them a 
job, give them hope, and give them an opportunity, give them a sense 
they can make their lives and their children's lives much better.
  The Democrats have proposed a series of initiatives over the last 
several years to do just that, such as tax incentives for small 
business to hire people, repairing schools, roads, bridges, or tax 
breaks for low- and middle-income Americans so they may have a little 
bit more in their paychecks. We have tried to pass these measures but 
have been frustrated consistently, even though we have the majority, 
because of filibusters and procedural delays. The American people 
understand that we need to create jobs. They want us to act. They want 
us to act to their benefit, not for the very few but for the majority 
of Americans.
  The other approach Republicans espouse is hand-in-hand with this 
notion of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans is that austerity 
through spending cuts can grow the economy. That you can cut programs, 
cut everything, and that will grow the economy.
  That is not reality. What we see and what history suggests, when you 
are cutting during an economic recovery, you are basically 
counteracting the recovery. You are contracting economic expansion. You 
are not adding to the momentum of growth, you are subtracting from the 
  If you want a current example, look across the ocean to Europe and 
Great Britain. They embarked upon an austerity program several years 
ago. Most commentators suggest they are in worse shape today than they 
were 3 or 4 years ago when they started this austerity program. This is 
the result of cutting, cutting, cutting. If we proceed down that 
pathway, we will be in worse shape several years from now than we are 
today. We can be in better shape by investing in our future and by 
creating jobs.
  Another aspect of this too is it is not only the question of 
filibustering our proposals to create jobs--but that we know in August 
2011 there was a real threat to undermine the full faith and credit of 
the United States, to refuse for the first time in modern history to 
increase the debt ceiling, to pay the debts which we owed. And the 
majority of those debts, at least the much of the recent ones, resulted 
from the previous administration. And so the debt ceiling crisis 
triggered the whole process which has led us today to sequestration. 
Now Americans will have to suffer through sequestration. The 
Congressional Budget Office has already said if we don't reverse 
sequestration, we will lose 750,000 jobs. Those are the jobs middle-
income Americans are expecting and hoping for. We are losing about .6 
percent of growth. We will be headed where our friends across the ocean 
are headed, not expanding but contracting; not increasing employment 
but decreasing employment. We are worse off because of these austere 
policies, not better off.
  What the Democratic budget does--and my colleague from Michigan has 
outlined it very well and with great articulation, that the way you 
should deal with these issues is through a balanced approach--a balance 
of revenue and spending cuts which will not harm our economy. That is 
what we did in 1993 and 1994 when I was a Member of the House of 
Representatives. President Clinton came to us and said: Here it is, we 
are going to cut spending and we are going to raise revenue. And we 
passed it by one vote in the House, one vote in the Senate--not one 
Republican vote, but still by one vote here and one vote in the House 
of Representatives. That set the stage for the later efforts that 
finally led not only to a balanced budget but to a surplus, and that is 
the approach we have to adopt today. It's an approach that works.

  The Republican budget calls for a total of $4.6 trillion in cuts and 
would leave the sequester in place. So it would compound the damage of 
the sequester. The Republican budget has also been estimated to provide 
millionaires an average tax cut of $400,000. Once again, the big 
winners in this proposal are the wealthiest Americans, not those who 
are struggling to put food on the table, to get a job, to see their 
children have a better future. And, again, the Republican budget 
refuses to responsibly address the $1 trillion sequester. They provide 
nearly $6 trillion in tax cuts that, again, overwhelmingly benefit the 
wealthiest Americans, but don't address the $1 trillion sequester. So 
essentially their

[[Page S2000]]

budget is compounding the difficulties we have in growing this economy 
and creating jobs.
  Ms. STABENOW. I wonder if my colleague would allow me to ask a 
  Mr. REED. I will be happy to yield.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Ms. STABENOW. Did I hear correctly that the Republican budget would 
give an average of $400,000 in additional tax cuts?
  Mr. REED. Those are the estimates I have received, and I believe they 
are reliable. Many commentators have looked at the budget and concluded 
that this represents a remarkable reduction in taxes for the wealthiest 
  And once again, it shouldn't come as a surprise because, as we 
recall--and I was here in 2001, when I voted against the Bush tax 
cuts--the mantra back then was that they are the job creators; just cut 
those taxes and those jobs will grow. But we saw during the Bush 
administration one of the poorest private job creation records of any 
President since World War II. And here Republicans are repeating the 
same line, as they say, deja vu all over again: Cut the taxes, and 
magically the jobs will grow. But, you grow jobs by having a balanced 
approach and through investment in human capital and physical capital, 
such as roads and bridges, and also by having the revenue to be 
responsible so you pay your way.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan.
  Ms. STABENOW. I thank my colleague, the distinguished Senator from 
Rhode Island. When I think of him, I think of his advocacy for our men 
and women who make up our troops--and I know our budget chair as well--
and his strong leadership on veterans issues.
  I think about $400,000 being an average tax cut for a 
multimillionaire under this budget versus what will happen to our 
veterans or folks coming home from the war and now trying to get a job, 
trying to do what they need to do to get back into the community and 
society and so on, and I wonder--the Senator has been such a leader on 
this and, of course, has experience with his own distinguished career 
in the military--if he might speak about those issues, his own 
experience with people coming home. Are they getting the $400,000 tax 
  Mr. REED. Well, no. In fact, there was a front page story today, I 
believe, in one of the major newspapers declaring the fact that they 
are home from the battlefront and are now in the unemployment line. So 
we are seeing a remarkable number of veterans who are unemployed. And 
these are men and women in their twenties. They certainly want to work. 
They worked very hard defending this country, yet now they are coming 
home and have significant levels of unemployment.
  That is one of the real problems, as well as our need and our 
obligation to support veterans health care, particularly mental health 
care, to support the Veterans' Administration.
  The irony, of course, is that we are seeing even higher levels of 
unemployment, in some cases, among young veterans than we are in the 
population at large. That is particularly bitter and ironic for those 
people who have served and sacrificed and are continuing to serve and 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Michigan should be aware that 
her time has expired.
  Ms. STABENOW. Might I ask through the Chair if we could have a few 
more moments.
  Mrs. MURRAY. I am happy to yield more time, and I really appreciate 
both Senators talking about one of the really important aspects of our 
budget; that is, how critical it is to invest in jobs and the economy, 
which the American public knows and understands are the biggest 
challenges facing all of us today. And you don't do that with the 
promise of just tax cuts for the wealthy.
  We know trickle-down doesn't work. We all saw what happened from 2001 
to 2008 when we gave away the tax cuts. Here we are today, now having 
to deal with the deficit. We all remember what happened during the 
Clinton administration when we had a balanced package that had both 
investments and responsible revenue and what happened in that decade 
when our economy rebounded and we got to a surplus and people felt 
strong again.
  So that is what our budget is based upon, and I would be happy to 
yield additional time to both Senators to talk about this critical 
aspect of our budget.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senators from Michigan and Rhode Island 
are recognized.
  Mr. REED. Senator.
  Ms. STABENOW. I would simply, first of all, again thank our chair, 
who understands and gets this, not only about how to grow the economy 
and the middle class and in a commonsense way to balance the budget, 
but she has been such a leader on veterans issues and reminds us every 
day about those coming home and what they need, as does Senator Reed as 
well, with his own service as well as his efforts with regard to our 
  I would be happy to defer to Senator Reed, if he has additional 
comments. I didn't mean to interrupt him before. If he has additional 
comments to make, I would certainly allow for that, and then I would be 
happy to wrap up at some point.
  Mr. REED. I would like to reemphasize the point the Senator from 
Michigan has made and Senator Murray has made, which is that we have 
been down this road before. We can't simply cut taxes for the 
wealthiest Americans to magically create jobs. What it produced in 
reality was a huge deficit, along with two unfunded wars. But that 
seems to be the message again from the other side--let's just cut taxes 
and then, of course, cut spending too. That is not the balanced 
approach we need in the Nation. That is not the balanced approach that 
in the 1990s, as my colleague pointed out, got us to a surplus, got us 
to a sense that we were really moving forward and that the middle class 
had a chance, that their children would have a better life. And that is 
what we have to do again.

  When I look at my State of Rhode Island, I can cite a myriad of 
examples of the harm that would be caused by the Republican budget. The 
budget they are proposing, which leaves the sequester in place would 
result in about a $4.5 million cut in Federal support for our public 
schools. I can tell you that every city and town in Rhode Island is 
struggling just to keep the lights on. If they lose $4.5 million of 
Federal aid, that is going to make it even harder. And do you know what 
happens? Well, guess what happens to property taxes. They go up. And 
not just Rhode Island, all across the country because one of the 
ironies here is that every mayor understands that ultimately they have 
to balance their budgets, and so they will raise taxes and they will 
cut spending. But they will do it, hopefully, in a balanced way, 
similar to what we are espousing in our approach to the budget.
  Now, we also have a situation where, if we look at the Republican 
budget, there are all sorts of abstract cuts--nondiscretionary domestic 
spending, et cetera--that translates into real harm, and that affects 
real lives. For example, there is an estimated $3.3 trillion in cuts to 
programs that benefit low- and middle-income Americans. Of that $3.3 
trillion, $2.6 trillion are cuts to Medicaid and subsidies that help 
modest-income American families across the country to get health 
insurance. As I mentioned before, there is a projection--and the 
Senator is an authorizer for this program--of $135 billion being taken 
out of the SNAP program.
  Again, let me go back to last Sunday's Washington Post story. Fifteen 
percent of the people in Rhode Island depend on this to help them get 
just adequate nutrition including children--and we are going to cut 
$135 billion out of this? And on the other side of the spectrum, we are 
giving a $400,000 tax cut or more to the wealthiest Americans? That is 
not fair, and it is not good economics. We can't have a generation of 
children who have been deprived of good nutrition, who have been 
deprived of good housing; if we do, we are not going to have the 
productive workers who will lead this Nation forward in this century 
and beyond. These spending cuts and tax breaks for the wealthiest 
Americans just do not make any sense. It doesn't balance the books, and 
it doesn't keep our obligation to the majority of Americans to give 
them a fighting chance.
  Our budget, in contrast, has $100 billion in projects to put 
Americans to work and repair the worst of our crumbling bridges and 
roads. There is not

[[Page S2001]]

one of our colleagues who can't find some 20 or even more bridges in 
their State that require repair right away, and that would put hundreds 
of people to work productively and would increase the economic 
efficiency of our Nation.
  Let me give an example. We had a major portion of I-95, the north-
south road in Rhode Island--north-south right past Providence-
Pawtucket, RI. for several years being rebuilt. The good news is that 
it is being rebuilt, but before we could rebuild, we had to divert 
truck traffic, which meant they couldn't efficiently deliver their 
loads. We had to station State police 24 hours a day to prevent the 
trucks from going there. So we had to engage all those individual law 
enforcement officers because the bridge couldn't support basic travel. 
We are now close to completing the whole project so we should no longer 
have to have State troopers out there 24 hours a day, and truckers no 
longer have to take a 20-mile detour to deliver their loads. When we 
talk about infrastructure, we are talking about economic efficiency as 
well as putting people to work. The Democratic budget does this.
  I think we have also made very difficult choices--tough choices--in 
making sure that we are paying our way, that we are paying down the 
deficit and doing it in a way that doesn't cost us the recovery and 
creating the jobs we need right away.
  I commend Chairman Murray because she has done a remarkable job of 
shepherding this bill through, of balancing so many complicated issues 
and making sure we have kept faith with the Americans who sent us here. 
They just want a chance. They just want to be able to think that their 
child is going to have a better life than they have had. I think this 
budget goes much further than our colleagues' to give them that chance, 
to give them that hope, and to give them that opportunity.
  With that, I yield back to the Senator from Michigan.
  Ms. STABENOW. I thank the Senator from Rhode Island again for his 
comments, his leadership, his advocacy for our military men and women 
and our veterans, and for the economy, for people who need help. As he 
said, there are a lot of people on the edge right now trying to just 
hold on, to stay in the middle class, or trying to get in the middle 
class, and our budget is for them. It is about growing the economy from 
the middle out.
  What makes us different from other countries around the world is that 
we don't have just a few very rich people and a lot of poor people. We 
have had a robust middle class. People in Michigan feel that eroding 
every day, so we need to be laser-focused on making sure we keep that 
strong middle class that not only grows the economy but creates 
opportunity for young people to grow up and go to college, to dream big 
dreams and know that in America they can succeed and be whatever they 
want to be, that they have a shot. That is the American dream, and that 
is what we are fighting for.
  Our budget, bottom line, strengthens the middle class. It creates 
opportunities for people to work hard no matter where they live, what 
their background is, so they have a shot at making it. We believe that 
to our core.
  The Republican budget is represented by the House budget, and the 
proposals here on the floor on the Republican side are geared to the 
wealthy and the well-connected, the special interests of this country, 
to keep their special deals going. Let's try trickle-down economics one 
more time. It didn't work from 2001 to 2008. We lost 5 million 
manufacturing jobs. But, hey, why not try it again? Well, we say no, 
let's use something that has worked.
  So let me in conclusion say again that the Republican tax cuts 
represented by the Ryan budget--55 percent of the benefit goes to the 
top 1 percent. As my friend the Senator from Rhode Island indicated, 
those at the very, very top are getting $400,000 in a tax cut, and 
$400,000 is more than the vast majority of Americans and certainly the 
vast majority of people in Michigan make in a year. Can we afford to do 
that? Is that the right priority?
  I find it so interesting that we had a colleague speaking 
passionately for the past couple of days now about his concern about 
closing airports in rural areas. I have those concerns about closing 
rural airports. Well, our budget doesn't do that. Our budget invests in 
infrastructure and keeps those open, as opposed to the across-the-board 
cuts that have been objected to by the Senators trying to make changes 
in the budget this year and the Ryan Republican budget in the House.
  We believe strongly that we should build a budget in the future on 
what has worked in America, and what has worked is strengthening 
America with investments so we can out-educate, out-innovate and out-
build to win in a global economy. That is what this is about.
  Our businesses tell us they are concerned about getting the right 
workers for the right jobs. It is a major issue right now. That is 
something we have a responsibility to be a part of.

  The Democratic budget invests in education, invests in innovation, 
and invests in building for the future. I worry every day about this 
kind of a chart that shows that the United States of America--not a 
third world country--is investing less in research and development than 
competitors around the world. It makes no sense. The innovations are 
here. The smart scientists are here. The cutting-edge technology is 
here. And we need to keep it here. Our budget places a huge value on 
  Then, finally, it is all about jobs and making sure when we figure 
out and when we look at how to balance a budget, that we understand we 
will never balance a budget with more than 12 million people out of 
work. We have to focus on jobs and growing the economy. We have to.
  Thirty percent of our deficit right now as we look at this going 
forward is in the slow economic recovery. We know it was bad prior to 
2009 when President Obama was elected. It has gotten better, but it is 
not where it needs to be. And it won't be where it needs to be unless 
we invest in innovation, in education, and rebuilding America's 
infrastructure. That is what we do. This budget makes sense. This 
budget is for middle-class families all across America.
  I urge my colleagues to support it.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Heinrich). The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I appreciate the opportunity to be with 
our colleague, Senator Stabenow, who serves on the Budget Committee.
  Just briefly, and then I would yield to Senator Roberts, President 
Obama, on March 13 of this year, said:

       And so--you know, my goal is not to chase a balanced budget 
     for the sake of balance.

  Now, my colleagues--and we have been counting--so far have used the 
word ``balanced'' at least 14, maybe 15 times already. They use the 
word ``balance,'' but their budget comes nowhere close to balancing. It 
never balances. It has no potential to balance. It is focused on 
spending and more taxes, not balancing the budget.
  Senator Reid said: We want to pay down the debt. There is no plan 
whatsoever to get our deficit to zero so we can begin to pay down debt.
  I believe Senator Stabenow used the phrase, ``a commonsense way to 
balance a budget.'' There is no plan to balance the budget. Let's be 
honest. Those words can be said repeatedly, over and over, but I really 
can't hear them. What I hear is the budget document itself, and it 
says: I am not balanced, I will never balance, and that is a fact.
  It is great to have Senator Roberts of Kansas here, and I yield to 
Senator Roberts.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Kansas.
  Mr. ROBERTS. Mr. President, I thank my distinguished colleague, the 
ranking member of the Budget Committee, the fully declared champion of 
fiscal responsibility, defender of hard-pressed taxpayers all across 
the country, doing a splendid job here as a Senator who actually asked 
to be on the Budget Committee to try to meet these challenges, and I 
credit him for his leadership and example.
  I rise today to speak on my Democratic colleagues' proposed budget 
resolution upon which they have just been waxing poetic before the 
Senate. I have mixed feelings about this budget. I have mixed feelings 
even being here on the Senate floor in that I am bereft of charts. What 
on Earth am I going to do making comments about this budget

[[Page S2002]]

without the appropriate charts? Everybody has charts. Look at these 
stands around here.
  My colleagues across the aisle--who have now left the Chamber since I 
began speaking--have displayed charts. I wonder if the Parliamentarian 
could inform this speaker if we could turn off the lights and I have a 
PowerPoint and a laser pointer?
  I will not ask that.
  But I don't have a chart. I just have some remarks that I would like 
to put together about the challenge we all face. I am pleased, 
everybody is pleased, finally, that the Senate has again, finally, 
taken up its constitutional responsibility to consider a budget in 
regular order--or at least some framework of regular order. However, I 
have the temerity to suggest that after 4 years, this budget resolution 
does not cut the spending muster and, from a constitutional 
responsibility, I fear it has indeed been very irresponsible.
  At the same time, I look at this budget and I ask: Is this all we 
waited for these past 4 years? In the words of the famous song, ``Is 
That All There Is?'' Or better put, is this more than all there is? And 
it certainly is more.
  There is an old saying that if you want to be remembered by your 
children, leave a lot of debt. Well, if this budget is passed and it 
sticks, then there are going to be a whole lot of people who vote yes 
who will certainly be remembered.
  The solution was, indeed, to return to regular order, return to the 
regular process: Examine the President's budget, pass a budget 
resolution, and provide clear directives to the authorizing and 
appropriations committees to develop legislation to reflect the tough 
decisions made in the budget. A lot of words. None of it is very easy, 
but that is called regular order. That is what we should have been 
doing the last 4 years. We have not been doing that. We haven't been 
doing that at all.
  Everybody knows the process around here. What happens is we have a 
major bill to do, we have our obligations to do, we have our 
constitutional responsibilities to do. We try that. We ask for 
amendments; we don't get amendments. We file cloture, they don't get 60 
votes, and the bill fails. Or we have a continuing resolution, some 
giant body of legislation that is the worst way to do business--or a 
sequester, the same kind of thing. And people back home scratch their 
heads. People on that side of the aisle perhaps have an issue--not a 
bill, but they might have an issue. Then the blame game starts. I think 
the American people are tired of it.
  None of it is easy. I understand that. But it works much better, much 
better than lurching from crisis to crisis as we have done and 
experienced in the last 4 years.
  So I am pleased that we are slowly returning to some aspects of 
regular order, but I remain deeply concerned about the daunting fiscal 
challenges we face and the fact that we are not answering 
these challenges. The Federal balance sheet is now truly frightening.

  Today, almost 1,500 days since we last considered a budget resolution 
on this Senate floor, we are fast approaching $17 trillion in debt--and 
beyond. It is climbing. Our per-person share of that debt is now more 
than $53,000. This is why I am so frustrated, and many of our 
colleagues are frustrated and disappointed by the budget resolution we 
are about to consider.
  Yes, again, we have brought this resolution through regular order. I 
appreciate that. But the recommendations fail. They fail to begin to 
meaningfully address the key fiscal issues that we are all generally 
agreed are sustainable.
  I don't have a chart, but I think people can understand this. The 
numbers are startling.
  Since 2009 we have added nearly $6 trillion to the national debt. 
Under the proposed budget resolution, despite a massive new tax hike 
proposal, new debt will rise--since I don't have a chart, just sort of 
imagine it here--$7 trillion over 10 years. I hasten to add, that is on 
a projection by the Congressional Budget Office, and I think it is 
probably low.
  Spending will increase another $645 billion above the projected 
growth over 10 years, including $162 billion in the next year alone.
  The deficit will increase in the next fiscal year by $95 billion 
above current forecasts.
  I could have a chart with a big zero on it. It is not a soft drink. 
This is something pretty serious. Zero. That is right, zero--zero real 
deficit reduction through spending reductions. It would never and 
doesn't pretend to try to balance the budget--precisely what the 
Senator from Alabama has been pointing out. In my view, this resolution 
would further damage our fiscal condition over the long haul, exactly 
what we don't want to do.
  We do not want to kick the can down the road any further. We can't do 
it. We have reached that point of no return. And here is the kicker for 
me. The budget resolution includes a proposed $1.5 trillion in new 
taxes. That is on top of the $600 billion tax hike that was just 
enacted in January. This would include a $923 billion reconciliation 
instruction to the Finance Committee. I am a member of that very 
prestigious committee. I look forward to trying to achieve tax reform, 
but I worry about a $923 billion reconciliation despite the negative 
impact this would have on critically needed progrowth tax reform.
  The budget also includes about $500 billion in unspecified loophole 
closers to increase spending on infrastructure and to replace the 
current sequester.
  Loopholes. Loophole closures. Boy, is that in the eyes of the 
beholder. I am concerned about it. No doubt the Gatling gun kind of 
criticisms we heard in the past campaign, singling out tax reform 
targets--and I always want to add, you always want to worry about what 
lurks under the banner of reform of whatever banner someone is waving.
  Time after time I heard the President talk about fat cat corporate 
jets. Boy, am I tired of hearing about that. That is business aviation. 
That is 1 million jobs. That is a great number of aircraft that is 
adding to our exports. The President has said: Let's double our 
exports, and still we hear this pejorative of fat cat corporate jets. 
Also, oil and gas subsidies, two major industries of Kansas, even those 
are critical, successful industries with all the hallmarks we should 
want in an industry--good, high-tech paying jobs.
  Sure I am for tax reform, and sure I want to reach the specified 
numbers that we could all agree on--if we could all agree on a 
specified number. But policy counts, and you don't want to do anything 
terribly counterproductive. The call for a gigantic tax hike to pay for 
more spending is misguided and will harm our chances for tax reform. It 
will do little to place our budget on any sustainable path. Not only 
that, this budget is a job killer.
  The Tax Foundation analysis I just read today indicates the 
legislation in its current form will result in the loss of 800,000 jobs 
over 10 years. It is a job killer.
  Why on Earth would we be considering a budget resolution that will 
result in the loss of 800,000 jobs? In Kansas, that hit would be about 
10,000 jobs. That is low. I have no doubt this number understates that 
  We all know the time is long past for us to reform our overly 
complex, costly, anticompetitive tax system. That is a given. We know 
that. I might add that the Finance Committee, under the chairmanship of 
Max Baucus and the ranking member's leadership, Orrin Hatch--all of us 
on the Finance Committee have been meeting as Republicans and Democrats 
together. We can do this job. Give us 6 months to do it right. Give us 
a flashing light at the end of the room saying ``Do No Harm,'' and we 
can get this done.
  The current system is a drain on individual and business resources. 
It is one of the main causes of our sluggish economic growth.
  We need to put in place a Tax Code for the 21st century, one that 
recognizes the nature of the international trade system in which we 
compete--and there is competition--and one that recognizes the changes 
to our domestic business environment. We also need to lower corporate 
rates so the United States no longer has the highest rate in the 
developed world.
  It is critical that Congress encourage economic growth and private 
sector job creation by putting in place a tax system that is simpler 
and fairer to all taxpayers, a tax system that doesn't change every 
year or two, one that provides certainty. We need to provide certainty 
by establishing a permanent

[[Page S2003]]

Tax Code that will allow families to plan for their future and give 
businesses the confidence to expand and create jobs.
  Adopting a fair and simple tax system that lowers marginal rates, 
encourages economic growth, promotes our competitiveness, and eases 
compliance--read regulatory reform, read a Katrina of regulations that 
now affects virtually every business endeavor in the country, read all 
that--that is the most powerful step we can take to improve our 
  While I support considering a budget through regular order--thank 
goodness we are finally achieving that--we are presented with a 
profoundly disappointing document, a budget that includes a massive 
job-killing tax increase, increases spending, raises the deficit and 
debt, and all but kills prospects for tax reform--just what the doctor 
did not order.
  After 4 years of deliberate inaction, my colleagues and I had hoped 
for better.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I thank the Senator from Kansas. He is an excellent 
member of the Finance Committee and he is experienced on these issues. 
I appreciate his insight. I would like to ask him a question.
  He has noted this budget never ever balances. It doesn't come close 
to balancing. It has no intention of balancing. But we have been 
counting, I say to Senator Roberts, and our Democratic colleagues who 
have been promoting this budget have, I said earlier, about 14 times 
used the word ``balanced.'' Actually, already tonight they have used 
the word ``balanced'' 23 times in reference to a budget that never 
balances and never intends to balance.
  I wonder if you thought that might reflect a guilty conscience on the 
part of those promoting this budget?
  I am glad you will not be arrested for that device on the floor.
  But I think it is pretty sad that we have such a use of that word.
  Mr. ROBERTS. Let me say, if I might, and I appreciate the question 
and I have talked to the Parliamentarian, when people inadvertently 
leave their cell phones on, but the call is from their wife, that is 
all right.
  At any rate, balance? If I heard it once, I heard it at least 10 or 
15 times since I have been here and the distinguished Senator from 
Alabama has been here. Balance--it never balances in regard to the goal 
of actually balance the budget. We are talking about balance. But we 
are actually talking about redistribution. We are talking about 
balance, but what we are actually talking about is a certain kind of 
class warfare. When we are talking about balance, we are talking about 
means testing. We are talking about somebody in Washington on this 
floor defining who is rich or who is not or who is just a little better 
off--maybe $250,000, maybe $200,000. Guess what. These taxes are going 
to hit the middle class, and they do not think it is balanced. I don't 
think it is balanced, and I think it is out of whack.
  If you are going to get something in balance, you ought to take a 
look to see can we get the budget of the United States headed toward 
balance and not use ``balance'' as a synonym for the proposed goals of 
social reform or whatever it is that you would like to accomplish under 
the banner of tax reform.
  We should use tax reform for taxes, not for any political purpose or 
favoring one particular segment of the industry over another or, for 
that matter, Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, food stamps, et 
cetera. Everything has to be considered, but everything has to be 
considered under the auspices of when are we going to live within our 
means? When are we going to achieve spending reductions, quit 
overtaxing people, try to spur job growth? That budget resolution they 
are talking about on that side of the aisle--and I know they are very 
sincere, apparently, in their belief--doesn't feed the bulldog. It 
doesn't answer the problem.
  I got a little excited about that, but I think I am due that in 
regard to all the rhetoric we have heard from the other side. I 
appreciate the Senator's question.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I thank the Senator. I note again the President said to 
George Stephanopoulos, live, on March 13, ``And, so--you know, my goal 
is not to chase--a balanced budget just for the sake of balance.''
  I am also pleased the distinguished ranking member of the Finance 
Committee, senior, actually, member of the Budget Committee on the 
Republican side, Senator Chuck Grassley, who has been involved in these 
issues for many years and been a leader for many years, is with us.
  I yield to Senator Grassley of Iowa.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Iowa.
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, I say to Senator Sessions, the 
distinguished ranking member, I am going to try to show him and other 
Members of the Senate that the numbers that they think they can raise 
revenue from, to $1 trillion, are not going to work. We can take 
different taxes and add them up and up and it will come out to $1 
trillion. But I am going to show him, based upon votes that have been 
taken on the other side of the aisle, that it is not politically 
possible for them to do it unless they are willing to vote differently 
than they have ever voted before because they have to take on some of 
the most popular tax credits that are in the Tax Code. That is what I 
am going to do in the few minutes the Senator has devoted to me.
  MR. SESSIONS. I thank the Senator and ask him to take as much time as 
he chooses. But I note, as ranking member on the Finance Committee and 
having been on it and having dealt with these issues for many years, 
the Senator knows what the political situation is and he has the staff 
to help him ascertain the correct numbers. I think this will be an 
important bit of information to share with us, and I look forward to 
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Mr. President, over the 10 years that I was chairman or 
ranking member of the Finance Committee, I worked with several Budget 
Committee chairmen. They were Senator Domenici, Senator Nickles, 
Senator Gregg, Senator Conrad. We did not always agree on every issue, 
but by and large there was coordination between the Budget Committee 
and the Finance Committee. Basically, I had past chairmen, Republican 
or Democratic, come to me and say: Tell us what you can do or not do 
within the Finance Committee so we do not give you an impossible task 
when a budget resolution is adopted by the Senate. It worked very well 
because they respected the institutionalized knowledge within the staff 
of the Senate Finance Committee, both Republican and Democratic staffs, 
as well as the more important institutionalized information that comes 
from the Joint Committee on Taxation.
  As I said, we did not always agree on every issue, but by and large 
there was that coordination. Unfortunately, the coordination receded 
somewhat, starting somewhat in the year 2007. Since 2010, we fell into 
this 4-year pattern of not even having a budget debate in the Senate, 
even though the law requires that the Senate adopt a budget every year.
  Finally, getting back to abiding by the law--coordination provided 
the means then between the budget and Finance Committee that allowed 
the Finance Committee to realistically address the demands of the tax, 
trade, health and welfare policies that were intended by a budget 
resolution. This usually happened in a bipartisan way, but this year is 
different. This budget resolution does not realistically address the 
needs or the capabilities of the Finance Committee. By capabilities, I 
don't mean it is not there to get it done and people are willing to do 
it, but the possibility of doing it is very remote based upon the 
unrealistic assumptions in this document.
  Despite claims to the contrary, this budget is not balanced unless 
one believes balance is more of the same fiscal behavior of the last 4 
years of the Senate Democratic leadership fiscal policy. That policy 
has resulted in higher taxes, higher spending, and yet higher debt. 
Where there is fiscal pressure, it is placed on the Finance Committee 
by this document now before the Senate. The Finance Committee is called 
upon to do all the heavy lifting.
  The principal lift is in the heavy tax increases. The Finance 
Committee has reconciled under this document with

[[Page S2004]]

an almost $1 trillion tax increase. Reserve funds, in addition to that 
$1 trillion, reserve funds anticipate another $500 billion in tax hikes 
to pay for even more spending.
  The task put on the Finance Committee is described as curtailing or 
eliminating what is called ``spending through the Tax Code,'' and 
``loopholes.'' But if we look at the document, and particularly if we 
look at recent history, we will find a different story that says what 
they assume is not very realistic.
  We will find tax increases. I wish to explain that. But first I will 
account for revenue raisers the majority party has specified and 
supported with votes in this Congress and the last one. What those 
votes show, unless there is a big change of heart on the other side of 
the aisle, is there is not going to be that revenue ever raised. So 
that makes the document on the other side, if it is not possible, blue 
smoke and great hope and good luck.
  What this is going to tell us is that the unspecified and undefined 
tax increases the budget resolution is seeking, once we have the 
undefined tax increases--I am going to then define that. I will define 
it by taking the universe of tax base broadeners and working through 
the list to explain to all the unreality. I will be able to show one of 
two conclusions. The first conclusion I can show, the math doesn't work 
and there are not sufficient revenue raisers to fill the revenue goal 
of my friends on the other side of the aisle or, No. 2, the budget 
resolution would need to go much further down the income scale and do 
what we just heard Senator Roberts say, start taxing middle-income 
taxpayers. But it is going to be hard to get them to admit that on the 
other side because all we have to do is tax the wealthy 1 percent and 
we can solve all our problems.
  But we cannot only tax that 1 percent. We could confiscate--not tax 
but confiscate the income over $200,000 and we are going to run the 
Government for just a very few months. But people tend to believe that. 
It is very difficult to preach the other side, how unrealistic it is, 
but that is a fact.
  All of us should take a careful look at the claims of the Democratic 
leadership and see how the claims stack up to the cold, hard numbers 
that I will give you and the analysis by the tax-writing committee 
staff. So let's turn to those numbers. Over the 10-year budget window 
going out to the year 2023, the budget resolution demands revenue and 
related outlay savings of $975 billion. There are two reserve funds, as 
I already said, that total up to about $580 billion in tax increases if 
that is taxed. And around here, with the ability--the willingness--to 
spend what they want to spend, they wouldn't mind tapping it, but I 
think that is unrealistic as well.

  I am going to show my colleagues this chart. The first chart is a 
water well. Here is the top of the well, and we can see it is a long 
well to the bottom, and there is a little bit of water in the bottom. 
But most of the well from this point to the top is dry right now, and 
that is what they have to fill by their budget resolution.
  At the top of the well we will see this number, $1.503 trillion, plus 
money to raise money for the reserve fund. That is what it takes to go 
from here to here to fill it.
  If we want to put this another way, this budget puts the burden on 
the Finance Committee to come up with $1.5 trillion in offsets over the 
next 10 years. This budget assumes the well of revenue raisers is full 
to the brim, but they are starting out at this point.
  My colleagues know I am a farmer. I should say my son is a farmer; I 
am kind of like a hired man now. I think that gives me something to 
know about wells and the predictability of well water. We on the farm 
always hope we will get rain, and particularly now, as it is dry in the 
middle west. So now we get a decent level of water so we can fill up 
the well to the top so we have plenty of reserve.
  As a former chairman and ranking member of the Finance Committee, I 
think I can tell my colleagues something about revenue raisers. In the 
positions I held on the Finance Committee, I led efforts to identify 
and enact sensible revenue raisers aimed at closing the tax gap and 
shutting down tax shelters. And as a senior tax-writing committee 
member, I continued to look for ways to shut off the unintended tax 
  Given this experience, I know what is realistic when it comes to 
revenue raisers. From 2001 through 2006, Congress enacted over 100 
offsets with a combined total of not necessarily a lot of money but 
still a lot of money compared to this stuff we are talking about here, 
but it still scored for $1.7 billion over 1 year; over 5 years, $51.5 
billion; and over 10 years, $157.9 billion. That is from about 100 
  What other revenue raisers have been identified and scored? The 
President's last budget, the one we got in February of 2012--and they 
are supposed to be out every February and we are not going to get it 
until April 8 now; why I don't know--but the President's budget in 2012 
contained a package of a lot of revenue that the Joint Committee on 
Taxation said would raise $1.4 trillion over 10 years.
  The majority party has largely left these revenue-raising proposals 
untouched over the last 4 years. So if we have a Democratic President 
of the United States suggesting $1.4 trillion of revenue in his budget, 
as the suggestion from the White House, and the other side here in the 
Senate wants to raise a tremendous amount of revenue and they haven't 
touched it in the last 4 years, what makes us think they are going to 
touch it now? Is it realistic to think all of these taxes will be 
raised if even the Democratic President asks for it and his friends on 
the other side of the aisle--our friends as well--ignored it?
  The majority party has, however, identified and specified and voted 
for tax hikes that amount to $108.3 billion. That is $108.3 billion of 
identified and scored revenue raisers. That is only about 7.8 percent 
of the amount that is needed to make this budget work. So we see how 
unrealistic this budget resolution is.
  Based on these facts, what is the likelihood the Finance Committee 
will be able to come up with revenue raisers of this magnitude? In my 
view, from my 10 years as chairman and ranking member, that chance is 
not very high. If that is the case, then what will happen? The revenue 
side of the budget will be ignored, but the spending side will be 
followed. The net effect will be a massive tax increase, a bigger 
deficit, or both.
  Now back to the chart. So the revenue-raising well is about 7.8 
percent full. We have heard a lot about tax expenditures. As I have 
said before, the people have been told there are trillions of dollars 
of spending through the Tax Code. I am going to look at the individual 
income tax expenditures because the administration and the Democratic 
leadership have said they want to leave the corporate tax expenditures 
for lowering rates.
  Here is a little irony. The Congressional Budget Act defines 
refundable tax credits as spending. It makes all the sense in the world 
because the tax benefits go to individuals who don't pay income tax. 
These credits are actually paid out in the form of a check in excess of 
any income tax liability of that individual. However, we won't hear the 
majority advocate reducing, let alone eliminating, any of those 
refundable tax credits. In fact, the majority's budget would increase 
them further. They represent even more significant tax expenditures.
  I have another chart here based on the nonpartisan Joint Committee on 
Taxation data. Here are 10 tax expenditures. The chart shows the top 10 
individual income tax expenditures from this year, 2013, through the 
year 2017. These top 10 expenditures represent 70 percent of the total 
individual tax expenditures.
  No. 7 is the earned income tax credit. That is a refundable tax 
credit designed for low-income taxpayers.
  No. 8 on the list--I won't bother to point to it--is the premium tax 
credit enacted by ObamaCare. By 2017, this credit will actually make 
its way into the top five. Like the earned income tax credit, the 
premium credit is fully refundable.
  No. 9 on the chart is the child tax credit which is partially 
  For each of these credits, more than half of the value of the benefit 
is paid out in the form of a government check exceeding tax 
liabilities. That is direct spending through the Tax Code. Yet these 
credits are considered off limits by the majority.

[[Page S2005]]

  So let's take a look at the tax expenditure No. 1. That is the tax-
free treatment of employer-provided health care. Americans can look 
forward to $1 trillion of health care-related taxes coming due over the 
next 10 years. All of this tax increase is thanks to 21 tax increases 
contained in ObamaCare. My guess is the majority doesn't want to take 
on that group.
  So No. 2 is tax-deferred retirement savings plans. It is defined 
benefit plans and section 401(k)-type plans. To be sure, some higher 
income taxpayers benefit. Defined benefit plans tend to dominate in the 
unionized world. Section 401(k)-type plans are more common now. Some 
high-income taxpayers do, in fact, benefit because they are owners of a 
business and we want them to set up and maintain the plans. About 4 
percent of this tax expenditure goes to taxpayers at $1 million or more 
of income.
  No. 3 on the list is the preferential rate for capital gains and 
dividends. It is true that higher income taxpayers tend to have more 
capital gains. But a few months ago the rate rose 59 percent with the 
ObamaCare and fiscal cliff deal tax hikes kicking in. Do we want to 
choke off more savings and investment?
  No. 4 is the deduction for State and local income and real property 
taxes. The New York Times editorial page is usually very in tune with 
the majority. An editorial on December 6, 2012, has a title that says 
it all: ``Keep The State Tax Deduction.'' My guess is that with the 
heavy hit on heavily taxed blue State taxpayers, the majority will not 
want to visit that deduction.
  No. 5 concerns the American dream of home ownership. It is the home 
mortgage interest deduction. It disproportionately goes to the middle-
income taxpayer. Do we really want to tank the tepid housing recovery 
now underway?
  So look at No. 6. It is the tax benefit from the Medicare benefits 
the Federal Government pays. We have heard a lot about the Medicare 
reforms contained in the Ryan budget from the majority. Does the 
majority want to cut the value of Medicare benefits by taxing them?
  I have already discussed Nos. 7, 8, and 9 on the chart which are all 
refundable credits. They are the earned income tax credit, the premium 
tax credit, and the child tax credit. Significantly, the premium tax 
credit makes the list while only being in effect 4 out of the 5 years 
we have examined.
  So how about the last one then, No. 10? It refers to the step-up in 
basis that occurs on death time transfers. Higher end taxpayers tend to 
pay the estate tax when they die. This policy ensures they don't pay a 
double tax on the transfer. Does the majority really want to reopen the 
estate tax debate that we all thought just ended on January 1?
  If we were to expand on this list and look at the top 20 expenditures 
instead of just the top 10, we would account for 90 percent of the 
individual tax expenditures. They include such things as charitable 
deductions, tax incentives for college, and the exclusion of capital 
gains from the sale of a home. Does the majority want to raise taxes on 
the backs of college students or cause heartburn for middle-income 
homeowners when they sell their home?
  Well, let's take a step back for a minute. Where does the budget take 
us? The terms of the budget documents tell us the majority Members say 
they want to eliminate or curtail spending through the Tax Code--$1 
trillion plus another $500 billion if they decide how to spend it. Yet 
they themselves would vehemently oppose eliminating or reducing tax 
expenditures that are defined by our budget laws as spending.
  I challenge the budget authors to tell me which tax benefits they 
want to curtail. Do they want to cut back the tax treatment of 
employer-provided health insurance? Do they want to cut back defined 
benefit plans or 401(k) plans? Do they want to increase capital gains 
and dividend rates even further than the 59 percent? Do they want to 
cut back on the State and local tax deduction? Do they want to cut back 
on the mortgage interest deduction? Do they want to tax Medicare 
benefits? Do they want to raise the tax level on death time transfers?
  Well, I conclude: This budget represents a dramatic step backward for 
the American taxpayer. For the first time in 4 years, thank God, we are 
debating a budget. Yet it repeats the same fiscal pattern of the first 
term of this Presidency. It spends too much, it taxes too much, and it 
results in too much new debt.
  As former chairman and ranking member--and I suppose this is the 
fourth or fifth time I have said this, so people get tired of me saying 
it--but in that former position, I am sorry to say the experience I 
have had is that this budget doesn't even attempt to match the demands 
of the Finance Committee with the numbers in this budget.
  I hope deficit hawks on both sides of the aisle pay close attention. 
The only thing certain here is that new spending will occur.
  The deficit impact of not realistically dealing with the tax, trade, 
and health policy spending priorities of the Finance Committee 
disguises the deficit built into this budget.
  I have many other concerns about the budget proposed by the majority. 
Simply, today, I wanted to let the Senate know how the numbers on the 
revenue side do not work from the standpoint of the usual stands that 
people take on closing loopholes and not closing loopholes and based 
upon what is politically feasible out of the Finance Committee.
  As we take up amendments, I am hopeful we can make the budget mesh 
with the Finance Committee's policy demands.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I thank the distinguished ranking member 
of the Finance Committee. That was a very fine presentation. I believe 
he is absolutely accurate. It is easy to say we are going to close 
loopholes and we are going to raise a trillion dollars-plus from 
closing loopholes. But the Senator just showed, based on the votes of 
our Democratic colleagues, and others too that it is much harder to 
harvest money from legitimate tax deductions and credits than a lot of 
people think.
  Would that be fair to say?
  Mr. GRASSLEY. Absolutely. And based upon the experience we have had 
of actually voting on those issues in the past--or the fact that I 
stated how the President put certain things in his budget of February 
2012, and none of those ideas have ever been brought up by the majority 
party in the period of time they have been before them. So if their own 
President--when I say their own President, the President of their 
party--our President proposes that they raise revenue from those 
places, and they do not do it, it signals to me it is a pretty 
difficult job to do, and it is not going to be any easier this year 
than in past years.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I thank Senator Grassley so much for his insight on 
  We also have Senator Enzi here, who is a member of the Finance 
Committee, and is a senior member of the Budget Committee also. He 
understands these issues deeply.
  I yield to Senator Enzi.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.
  Mr. ENZI. Mr. President, I rise today to share with the American 
public exactly what they are getting with the majority's budget for the 
coming year. I will be blunt. It is not good news. In fact, after 4 
years of not bringing up a budget for consideration by the Senate, what 
the majority has offered is a severe disappointment. We have to grow 
the economy, not the government. But, unfortunately, the majority's 
budget focuses on growing the government--more taxing, more spending, 
more government.
  During our last break, I had an opportunity to travel around Wyoming. 
I did about 2,000 miles, and I did a bunch of listening sessions. That 
is where I just take notes while people tell me what is on their mind. 
They are not going to be pleased with this budget. In fact, they think 
the best way to grow jobs is to cut government. And they were very 
adamant on making sure the sequester happened, which would be the first 
real cut in government we have had in forever. They recognize that what 
we usually call a cut is when an agency asks for a billion dollars, and 
they only get a half a billion dollars in new money. They call that a 
half billion dollar cut. It is not a cut, it is an increase of half a 
billion dollars. But around here that would be a

[[Page S2006]]

cut. So we do not really do cuts. Sometimes we slow the growth of 
government, but we do not do cuts.
  They actually want to see some action to cut, to balance the budget, 
and eventually to pay down the debt. They recognize that if interest 
rates go up, $16 trillion is going to be tough to pay the interest on, 
let alone pay back any principal, let alone do any other function of 
  So this is a budget that looks out over the next 10 years. It 
provides for significant tax increases, upwards of $1.5 trillion. But 
it also provides for significant spending increases. It is not as 
though we are increasing the revenue so that we could decrease the 
deficit and eventually decrease the debt. It is so we can add to 
spending--$162 billion next year alone. It provides for spending 
increases of 62 percent from today's budget levels.
  Any savings are being claimed after the first year--after the first 
year. We never get to the second year, so the savings never make it--
never pan out. It reminds me of a sign I saw on a restaurant. It said: 
Free drinks tomorrow. Of course, if you came in tomorrow, they said: 
No, no. Read the sign. It says: Free drinks tomorrow. That is the way 
we budget around here. We are always promising these things, but the 
real things do not happen.
  Our problem is not that we tax too little but that we spend too much. 
A budget should serve as the blueprint to get the revenues and the 
spending aligned. Individuals have budgets. That is what they do. They 
see how much revenue they have coming in, and they see how much they 
can spend. They do not see how much they can spend and then see what 
the revenue is going to be. You cannot live in that kind of a world, 
but we do here.
  Unfortunately, the majority's budget fails miserably in that respect. 
In fact, it does not balance the budget in any year over the next 10 
years. The budget that was offered by the House Republicans, on the 
other hand, balances the budget in 2023. And, of course, the other side 
of the aisle talks about what a terrible budget that is. But they got 
it to balance. They have even introduced and passed budgets in the 
House for the last several years, and that takes a lot of courage when 
you know all that is going to happen over in this body is for it to get 
shot down by the majority. But those budgets have gotten some votes in 
favor of them.
  The President has presented some budgets. The last 2 years, he has 
not gotten a single vote for his budget. I mean, he was not able to 
talk a single Democrat into voting for his budget--not one--let alone a 
  So the budget that was offered by the House Republicans balances in 
2023. I have introduced a bill. It is called the Penny Plan. That cuts 
spending by 1 percent from every dollar for each of the next 3 years. 
If we could do that--true cuts--1 percent for each of the next 3 years, 
the budget would balance in 2016. I really think that is where we need 
to be--not 2023--2016. And, hopefully, we would not stop the cuts of 1 
cent for every dollar. Families across America are having to cut more 
than that.
  When I present this in Wyoming and other places, they say: Well, my 
wife just got laid off. We had to do a 20-percent cut, so why can't the 
Federal Government do a 1-penny-out-of-every-dollar cut? That would 
balance it by 2016. If we kept it going a little more, we would 
actually be paying down the debt--not just reducing the deficit but 
paying down the debt.
  Our Nation owes $16 trillion, and no one is talking about reducing 
it. We have to get to balance--the sooner the better--and start paying 
down the debt. And do not get confused by the language the majority 
will use. They will say that their budget takes a ``balanced 
approach.'' But it does not balance. There is a big difference. 
``Balanced approach'' to them means ``fair'' tax increases. I am not 
sure what that means, but that is what they mean by ``balance.'' And it 
is tax and spend, it is increasing deficits, and increasing debt as far 
as the eye can see. This is not the plan America needs to get its 
fiscal house in order. Next year alone, the majority wants to increase 
spending by nearly $162 billion, and the deficit next year is 
anticipated to be $152 billion above current projections. Over the next 
10 years, deficits are expected to total $5.2 trillion. If we adopt the 
majority's budget, that is $5.2 trillion in addition to the $16 
trillion we already owe. That is not balancing the budget. That is not 
a balanced approach.
  None of this spending is associated with any kind of reforms to the 
drivers of our out-of-control deficits and debt that will bankrupt--
bankrupt--Social Security and Medicare. The majority's budget provides 
no path to save Social Security and Medicare. They are hoping the 
Republicans will do that and take all the flak that is involved for it. 
Well, if we do it soon enough, there is not as much flak as if we do it 
  It has been a shame that we have been years without a budget, and 
when the majority finally gets around to doing it they do not even 
address the biggest driver.
  Earlier this evening, the majority leader commented that we can learn 
from the bipartisanship shown by Senators Mikulski and Shelby on their 
work on the bill that will fund the government for the rest of the 
year. I think it was a massive opportunity and expenditure of effort 
that they did. But what I want to point out is that they had the 
opportunity to work things out together--together. That is bipartisan. 
That means sitting down together and figuring out what both sides think 
are the priorities, and seeing if there is not some way to put those 
into a single budget. I know it has not been done in years, but it is 
something I imagine America dreams about. I wish the majority would 
have provided that same opportunity in the Budget Committee. Maybe then 
the majority would have brought a bipartisan budget to the Senate 
floor. This does not have to be a shooting match. It can be a 
realization of a way to match spending with the revenues we have.
  I was disheartened last week when I finally received the majority's 
budget to see that it simply continues the mantra of ``tax and spend.'' 
We cannot tax the American people every time Congress screws up, every 
time we overspend. And there are a lot of ways we do overspend.
  One of the favorite things around here is to propose a grand new 
idea, and since that grand new idea would have a huge pricetag on it, 
we reduce it by saying: We will just make it a demonstration project. 
We will just do it in five States to start with, with a very minimal 
budget, and that will prove the value of this project. And practically 
every one shows they are a valuable project.
  Well, at that point the local governments or the States are supposed 
to take them over and sell it to the rest of the country so that 
everybody winds up with this tremendous project. That is not what 
happens. They come back the next year and they say: This worked 
phenomenally, so we need to expand it to all 50 States because 
everybody deserves a great program such as this.
  Well, we increased it from 5 to 50, so we increased it tenfold, at 
least. And chances are pretty good that some of those projects are done 
in small States. So when you put them into big States, they are an even 
bigger blowup of the budget. That is the way we bust the budget around 
here--just one of many ways.
  Rather than looking for waste and abuse and duplication in government 
spending--and we know there is some--the majority simply decided to ask 
the hard-working American public to send in more of their hard-earned 
dollars to Washington to pay for more spending. These tax increases the 
majority calls for will hit the middle class. They say it will not hit 
the middle class. But we did some of the rich, and I noticed, in the 
alternative minimum tax--that is a great phrase. That sounds like 
everybody ought to be paying tax, and that is kind of an American 
principle, but it is not something that happens around here. Over 50 
percent of the people do not pay any tax now. But we had this 
alternative minimum tax so that the rich would pay more. Well, 
inflation changed it so that 34 million Americans are being hit by that 
in the middle class. Consequently, we changed it. That is what we do 
when we try and mess around with classes of people.
  To my constituents back home in Wyoming and fellow citizens across 
the country, let me be clear: It is your money, not the government's 
money. That is what they were telling me as I traveled around Wyoming 
for 2,000 miles and did my listening sessions.

[[Page S2007]]

They say it is our money. As legislators, we have to do a better job of 
taking care of the funds they provide us and ensuring that it is spent 
  The majority thinks it knows best how to spend the money the American 
people work hard to make. The budget they have offered seeks more than 
$1 trillion--let me repeat that: more than $1 trillion--in new taxes 
over the next 10 years. And debt will still grow by $7 trillion. That 
would be $23 trillion. That is a lot to pay interest on. Take and 
figure that out, if you can, with all those zeros that are out there, 
how much money that amounts to--at some moderate rate, say, 5 percent, 
because that is what it is anticipated to grow to in that same amount 
of time. And I think it could go well higher than that. Because if the 
rest of the world that is loaning us 40 percent of our money decides we 
are not the best place to put that money, the interest rates will have 
to go up dramatically in order to encourage the kind of money to keep 
borrowing $23 trillion--or $16 trillion; that is, if we can balance the 
budget quickly. In fact, the majority wants to set up a fast-track 
legislative process to get $975 billion from you as quickly as 
  Now, we had the discussion earlier about taxes. We thought we had 
worked the tax problem for everybody and preserved people's taxes for 
99 percent of the people. We thought there were going to be some 
spending cuts coming. Somebody sent me this little chart that I have to 
  This says ``Republican'' on it: OK. I will raise taxes if you promise 
to cut spending.
  Well, Lucy says: It is a deal.
  But we have been watching this cartoon for years and years. We know 
what happens. When we go to pick up the spending cuts, the football 
suddenly gets lifted out of the way and we end up on our back, the 
American public winds up on its back. Those are not the kinds of 
spending cuts we are looking for. We are looking for some real spending 
cuts, not just a decrease in the growth but some real spending cuts. 
There is a way to do those.
  Wyoming has been faced with probably an 8-percent reduction in its 
income. How did they handle it? The Governor saw that coming, got a 
hold of every department and program and said: I need a plan from you 
for how you would cut 2 percent, how you would cut 4 percent, how you 
would cut 6 percent, and how you would cut 8 percent. When he got the 
four plans from every department, he took a look at them to see if they 
were cutting the worst first--you know, reducing the pain as much as 
possible. It worked that way. There was hardly a whimper and hardly 
anything noticeable to the customer; that is, the people who live in 
Wyoming. That is good management, not an e-mail that goes out that 
says: Make the cut as painful as possible. That is the sequester we are 
going through now. That should never happen in any kind of a managed 
business or a managed government. I guess that would be saying it is 
not a managed government.
  When we took up the budget in committee last week, I offered an 
amendment to strike the language that provided for the fast-track tax 
increase process. My amendment was meant to ensure that the tax reform 
would be conducted in a bipartisan manner, to generate a more 
efficient, fairer, and simpler Tax Code and spur economic growth rather 
than raise revenues through legislation that can be passed with a 
simple majority here in the Senate.
  A simple-majority vote would ensure that the minority party's views 
would receive little, if any, consideration. We would have no input. 
Debate time and the number of amendments that could be offered to 
improve the legislation would also be limited. We need to have an open 
process where all Members can have their voices heard. We simply need 
to stop dealmaking and start legislating.
  We have had the system around here for a while where we work from 
contrived crises that have very specific dates at which the sky falls 
and the United States is demolished. Of course, that does generate a 
lot of publicity and all the media and everything leading up to that 
crunch. A group goes off and makes a deal. We find out about that deal 
in the last hour. Our choice at that point is take it or leave it. 
Well, if the sky is going to fall and America is going to be destroyed, 
what is the choice?
  That is not the way to do it. We have to quit dealmaking and start 
legislating. The way you legislate is to have the chairman and the 
ranking member and other interested people on the committee who have a 
very specific interest in an issue sit down together and see if they 
cannot work out a basic package. It only has to be a basic package. It 
does not have to be a comprehensive package. This basic package would 
then go to committee. That is where the people can turn in amendments 
and improve it from their viewpoint.
  The reason we have so many people in the Senate and in the House is 
so that we can see as many unintended consequences as possible. But if 
it does not go through committee, we have turned those people off. We 
have said: Your views do not count; your amendments do not count. 
Consequently, we do not end up with a good piece of legislation coming 
out of committee. If you get it out of committee in good shape, you can 
get it to the floor in good shape. If you get it to the floor in good 
shape, you can take additional amendments and improve it maybe more. 
That has been my experience with this. Yes, there have to be some tough 
votes with that. That is what we do. That is what we get paid for--
legislating, voting.
  We have spent the last week working on a continuing resolution. We 
got to vote three times. There were only requests for 11 more votes. We 
did not get to vote on those until tonight. So they had it arranged in 
a very fast process. Some of the people did not actually get their say.
  We have to stop dealmaking and start legislating, particularly on big 
and important issues such as tax reform. We have to get back to a 
regular process so all Members can give input and improve the 
  Senator Gregg and Senator Wyden worked on income taxes for a long 
time. Then Senator Coats and Senator Wyden worked on income taxes for a 
long time. Now I am working with Senator Wyden and Senator Coats on 
income taxes. I think we can come up with something that will work. We 
can do both the individual and the corporate tax rates at the same time 
because they are very interrelated. We would not have that big of a tax 
code if it were not for all of the interrelationships. It is time that 
we made it simpler and fairer. It can be done, but it is not going to 
be done on a partisan basis in a very short period of time and get it 
right. So we have to get back to that regular process so all Members 
can give input and improve the legislation.
  Unfortunately, my amendment was defeated. Every Member of the 
majority voted against it. But I will try here again on the Senate 
floor. Senator Grassley, who was a former chairman of the Finance 
Committee, and I have come together. We will offer an amendment to get 
rid of the fast-track process and provide for progrowth, revenue-
neutral tax reform for corporate, business, and individual taxes.
  I have a few other amendments I plan on filing as well to improve 
this budget. One would provide for a phase-in or transition for any 
changes to the Tax Code so that people and businesses can plan 
accordingly and we do not inadvertently put companies out of business 
or add people to the unemployment rolls.
  Another amendment would require that each Federal agency identify and 
prioritize its programs, its projects, its activities so that they can 
cut the worst first, as I mentioned in the Wyoming example. That way we 
get what is the least harmful and least painful. There would be 
spending reductions. We might even get into duplication between 
  Senator Coburn and I did a little study of the health, education, 
labor, and pension programs. We found there was $9 billion--$9 billion 
of duplication. You cannot get rid of all of that, but you ought to be 
able to get rid of half of it. Well, Senator Coburn got so enthused by 
it that he went and took a look at the rest of government. He found 
$900 billion a year in duplication. Now, how is that possible? Well, my 
jurisdiction was rather limited, but what I have jurisdiction over is 
duplicated in almost every way. Almost every department, agency, and 
program has

[[Page S2008]]

something to do with financial literacy. Based on our budget process, I 
would say that is probably failing. Maybe we ought to get rid of all 

  I will also file an amendment that would provide for protecting and 
restoring monies in dedicated funds, such as the trust funds, so we 
will not steal money from other areas to make up for shortfalls, as the 
majority did with the abandoned mine land money for 10 years that was 
owed to Wyoming but instead was used to pay for a 2-year highway bill.
  Finally, I will file an amendment reflecting the goals of the 
Marketplace Fairness Act so that we put all businesses, whether brick-
and-mortar, online, or catalog, on a level playing field with respect 
to the collection of sales and use taxes.
  The majority's budget would severely harm my home State of Wyoming. 
The more than $1 trillion in tax increases would mean losses in 
personal income, household disposable income, and job opportunities. 
Over the next 10 years, the tax increases would cut personal income in 
Wyoming over $4 billion. You have to remember, we are a small State. We 
finally got past the half-million mark in people. So $4 billion is a 
lot. It would cut household disposable income on an average of $26,000 
per household. There would be an average of nearly 1,900 job losses. 
You have to remember, we only have half a million people. These tax 
increases clearly are not the recipe for fixing our ailing economy and 
certainly not the answer for the hard-working folks back home in 
  When you start with one party doing the drafting--and those who wrote 
the budget hold the majority on the Budget Committee--you can expect 
the bill to be one-sided. If you keep on doing what you have been 
doing, you can expect to get the same result. Unfortunately, I believe 
that is what we will see this week as we debate the budget on the 
Senate floor.
  The majority kept us in the dark on the last budget until last 
Wednesday evening. We had to present our opening statements in the 
Budget Committee before we even saw the budget the majority would 
  Now, I do have to say in the defense of the majority that is the way 
it has been for several years, both when the Republicans were in charge 
and when Democrats were in charge. That does not mean it is right. If 
you want a good budget, you have to share the information, and share it 
before people have to comment if you really want good comments.
  Then we had to turn around and start voting on the amendments the 
next morning in the Budget Committee. We were not part of that process. 
It was on a partisan line.
  I was particularly disheartened by one amendment that failed on a 
party-line vote that was offered by Senator Portman from Ohio. His 
amendment was simply asking the Congressional Budget Office to provide 
additional information with the cost estimates it provides on 
legislation affecting revenues. That is right--he was just asking for 
additional information. Every Member of the majority voted against it. 
How could a request for additional information be so partisan? We can 
and must do better for our constituents and our country.
  Several weeks from now, we may see the President's budget proposal. 
Of course, he will be late to the game since the House and Senate will 
have already acted on the budget. That would be the first time in over 
90 years that would be the case. By the way, his budget was due nearly 
2 months ago. I anticipate it will include many of the same things we 
have here in the Senate majority's budget--more taxes, more spending, 
more government.
  As we are learning all too well with the majority's drive to repeal 
the recent spending cuts called sequestration, taxes generally go on 
forever, but spending cuts seldom make it through the year. We were 
promised spending cuts, but the football is about to be jerked out. We 
have to grow the economy, not the government. Unfortunately, the 
majority's budget has it backward: It grows the government at the 
expense of the economy.
  I look forward to the debate on this budget and filing amendments to 
improve it both for my constituents in Wyoming and my fellow citizens 
across the country. I know the debate around here has delayed the 
beginning of the budget process so that we are going to be under a 
crunch. Perhaps it will go into the weekend and give us an opportunity 
to do all of the amendments rather than just trying to fatigue us on 
  I yield the floor.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I thank Senator Enzi. Senator Enzi is an accountant, a 
businessman. I do not believe any Member of this body has traveled his 
State more on the ground than he in the last number of years. As a 
matter of fact, I will say with certainty that is so. He travels 
constantly, talks to people all over the State.
  I just have one question of the Senator. When you talk to people in 
Wyoming, real people in gas stations----
  Mrs. MURRAY. Would the Senator yield for a second on a unanimous 
  Mr. SESSIONS. I would be pleased to yield.

                 Unanimous Consent Agreement--H.R. 933

  Mrs. MURRAY. I ask unanimous consent that the title amendment for 
H.R. 933 which is at the desk be agreed to.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment (No. 176) was agreed to, as follows:

       Amend the title to read: ``An Act making consolidated 
     appropriations and further continuing appropriations for the 
     fiscal year ending September 30, 2013, and for other 

  Mr. SESSIONS. So I guess the President here has said: Well, so you 
know my goal is not to chase a balanced budget just for the sake of 
balance. But when our colleagues talk about a balanced approach and 
they have a budget that does not actually balance--I guess what I am 
saying is that the Senator talks to his constituents more than any 
Senator here, I am sure. Does the Senator think they really believe we 
should have a balanced budget, revenue equaling outgo? I ask an 
accountant that question.
  Mr. ENZI. The Wyoming people absolutely think there should be a 
balanced budget. They do not think it ought to take 10 years to get 
there. They know how they have to operate. These are just hard-working, 
ordinary people with big hearts and an interest in jobs and their 
families. They are not seeing jobs happening. They are not seeing the 
economy improving. They are seeing taxes rising and people just talking 
about raising taxes. That is not where they expect us to go. All of 
them can suggest someplace within their realm of work that there ought 
to be a change.
  Most of them say the best way to improve the economy, the best way to 
do jobs is just to get the government out of our way. These are people 
sitting on a tractor, even working in government during the day, 
thinking of ways their job could be reinvented to maybe be a little bit 
better. That is how governments can improve. They come up with some 
commonsense suggestions. I haul it back here, but commonsense doesn't 
go very far around here. I will keep hauling it, continue talking to 
people and continue to see what their expectations are, and hopefully 
we can meet those expectations. It doesn't take an accountant to know 
we are overspending.
  Mr. SESSIONS. The Senator mentioned--which it does seem to me we are 
doing here by this budget--if it were to pass, we don't have any plans 
to change what we are doing. The problem is that you haven't sent us 
enough money. As the Senator indicated, send us more money, and we will 
all be happy in Washington. That is not what my constituents are 
telling me they think we should do. What are yours saying?
  Mr. ENZI. They are saying there should be quite a changeover back 
here until we have people who understand that you are not supposed to 
spend more than you take in. The answer is not charging them more in 
taxes every time we can't meet that expectation. They already think 
there are enough programs out here. Sometimes I have to agree with 
  When I started as the chairman of the Health, Education, Labor, and 
Pensions--HELP--Committee, within my jurisdiction was preschool 
programs. There were 119 preschool programs. We spent more on preschool 
than we did on K-12. Senator Kennedy and I were able to get those down 
to 69 programs. People wonder why we can't get it below 69

[[Page S2009]]

programs. Most of them aren't handled by the departments we work with. 
They are handled by Agriculture, Commerce, and other agencies. We don't 
get to dabble in those. There are ways we can eliminate duplication and 
save a little money, but we are not looking for that.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Here is the GAO report I think the Senator referred to, 
the 2012 annual report: ``Opportunities to Reduce Duplication, Overlap 
and Fragmentation, Achieve Savings, and Enhance Revenue.'' I think my 
constituents would say this is exactly what you should do. Do yours?
  Mr. ENZI. Absolutely. It looks like a tremendous manual. We have a 
thing called the Government Performance and Results Act, which is where 
every agency is supposed to list what they do and how we will know they 
completed it. At the end of the year, they are supposed to evaluate 
themselves to see if they did what they said they were going to do. 
Most of them don't report, and those that usually do fail, and that is 
a lot of what is in that report. The agency is saying: No, we didn't do 
what we are supposed to do.
  Mr. SESSIONS. It is. It lists here on page 51 specific examples. The 
Senator mentioned duplication. This one is employment of people with 
disabilities--a very good goal. This is something we would like to see 
if we can facilitate and help them work. It states: ``Better 
coordination among 50 programs in nine Federal agencies that support 
employment of people with disabilities.'' There are 50 programs in 9 
agencies. Does the Senator believe we could get more help for the 
disabled if those programs were consolidated and brought together in a 
single or a few programs?
  Mr. ENZI. One of the things that happen with the programs is they 
usually get named after some Senator and he is very protective of his 
particular program. This is one of the things that make it very 
difficult to eliminate programs. Yes, if the duplication is eliminated, 
you may put the emphasis on the programs that are really working and 
that should succeed. That should make a bigger difference to everybody.
  Mr. SESSIONS. That is common sense. I thank the Senator so much for 
his contributions. I do believe the American people have a right to say 
to us: You fix the duplication. You fix some of this waste. You quit 
throwing money at Solyndras and hot tubs in Las Vegas before you ask us 
for any more money.
  We haven't done it.
  I know fundamentally it is fair to say the Chief Executive of the 
United States is the person responsible for managing this bureaucracy. 
We are sort of like an active board of directors that monitors this.
  Would the Senator not expect that a really committed President, Chief 
Executive of the United States, should be sending to us proposals on a 
regular basis that are based on reports of his Cabinet and sub-Cabinet 
people to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse? Wouldn't that help us if 
we had more support from the President's side?
  Mr. ENZI. That is probably the only way it can be done, is to have 
the President suggest this is leadership, this is management, this is 
what the White House is supposed to be in charge of and could do.
  I also know that even if the President talks about eliminating a 
program, there will be the 10 good examples from across the United 
States that actually work that will come in and flood us with comments 
about how that program cannot be eliminated. This is why I have the 
penny plan--one cent of every dollar across the board. Then you don't 
run into that problem. As I said, that would balance in 3 years, not 10 
  Mr. SESSIONS. If we reduce by 1 percent, one penny out of every 
dollar of spending for 3 years, the budget would balance in 3 years, 4 

  Mr. ENZI. Yes. These are the latest figures. After the sequestration 
and after the fiscal cliff, it came down to that. Before that, it would 
have taken us 5 years.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I thank the Senator for sharing that and thank him for 
sharing his thoughts with us tonight.
  Mr. ENZI. I thank the ranking member for the tremendous job he has 
done and the hours he and his staff have put into reviewing these 
things. This is not an easy thing to follow. The book we have is an 
actual manual. The bill we receive to work from is just a bunch of 
numbers. It is hard to put that all together, and I thank the Senator 
for the information he has provided.
  Mr. SESSIONS. I thank the Senator.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Washington.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, we do have some serious differences of 
opinions between the two parties when it comes to our values and our 
priorities. We believe our budget should reflect this, and we are 
having a good debate. Those differences will be difficult enough to 
bridge, and we should be able to at least agree on what the facts are.
  I wish to take a moment tonight to correct an inaccuracy I have heard 
a lot in the last few days, including on the floor tonight. We are 
hearing some Republicans say that the Senate budget includes a $1.5 
trillion tax hike. This simply is not true. Here are the facts.
  Of the $975 billion in new revenue, which comes from those who can 
afford it the most, $480 billion is matched with responsible spending 
cuts to fully replace the sequestration, $100 billion goes toward 
targeted high-priority infrastructure repair and job training to help 
restore the recovery, put Americans back to work, and the rest goes to 
help reduce the deficit.
  Unfortunately, rather than seriously considering the credible path we 
have presented in our budget plan, some Republicans have decided to 
play games with the numbers, and they are not telling the truth. 
Instead of subtracting the sequestration replacement portion and the 
investment package from the $975 billion in total revenue, they are 
trying to say you should somehow add them all together. They are taking 
one side of the ledger, combining it with the other side of the ledger, 
and coming to some conclusion that makes absolutely no sense to us. It 
would be like handing over $2 to buy a cup of coffee and having someone 
say: Well, the price was actually $2 plus the value of that coffee. It 
doesn't make any sense.
  You don't have to take my word for it. Fact checkers and reporters 
have called this claim false and a step too far. The Washington Post 
Fact Checker even gave it two Pinocchios.
  Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to have printed in the Record 
a story from the Washington Post on this inaccurate claim.
  There being no objection, the material was ordered to be printed in 
the Record, as follows:

  Mitch McConnell's Claim That the Democrats Plan a $1.5 Trillion Tax 

                           (By Glenn Kessler)

       ``Their budget will do more to harm the economy than to 
     help it, and it will let Medicare and Social Security drift 
     closer to bankruptcy. And then there's the Democrats' $1.5 
     trillion tax hike. Trillion with a T. Let me just repeat 
     that: Any senator who votes for that budget is voting for a 
     $1.5 trillion tax hike, the largest in the history of our 
       --Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, speech on the 
     Senate floor, March 14, 2013
       Shortly after McConnell (R-Ky.) made these comments, 
     Democrats cried foul. The budget plan, they said, has $975 
     billion in higher taxes, not $1.5 trillion. They point to the 
     summary tables of the budget resolution unveiled by Sen. 
     Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who chairs the Budget Committee. Sure 
     enough, there's a line showing $975 billion in new revenue.
       But nothing's ever easy with the budget process in 
     Washington. In fact, it's a morass, with many things open to 
     interpretation, as we discovered as we went back and forth 
     between the Democrats and Republicans--and then consulted 
     with various budget experts.
       Let's take a tour through the numbers.

                               The Facts

       There are two key parts to this discussion--the actual text 
     of the legislation and what in effect is a glossy marketing 
     document (``Restoring the Promise of American Opportunity''). 
     The legislation does not have many numbers, whereas the 
     marketing document does.
       In the marketing document, Murray describes how she will 
     use $480 billion of the tax revenues to reverse part of the 
     automatic spending cuts in the sequester, and another $100 
     billion for new spending on infrastructure.
       The text of the legislation, meanwhile, establishes a bunch 
     of ``deficit neutral reserve funds,'' including one labeled 
     as ``to replace sequestration'' and the other ``to promote 
     employment and job growth.'' But there are no numbers 
     attached to those funds. Meanwhile, the legislation also 
     includes instructions (known as ``reconciliation'') to the 
     Finance Committee to boost revenues by $975 billion.
       Deficit neutral means you need a mix of taxes and spending 
     cuts to fulfill your goals.

[[Page S2010]]

     Republicans assumed that since Murray in her marketing 
     document had said she would boost revenues by $480 billion to 
     pay for the sequester and $100 billion to spend on 
     infrastructure, the language meant that those funds would 
     come from additional taxes. (Depending how you read the 
     document, the $975 billion in new revenues is also slated for 
     ``deficit reduction,'' and the same money in theory can't be 
     used twice.)
       Thus $975 billion plus $580 billion equals more than $1.5 
       Democrats say this is ridiculous. They argue that they will 
     apply the $975 billion in new tax revenue to the goals 
     outlined in the document, including applying $480 billion to 
     replace the sequestration cuts. (Another $480 billion to 
     alter the sequester would come from spending cuts.) They cast 
     the reserve funds more as a device to avoid legislative 
     points of order, which would require a 60-vote threshold to 
     overcome, rather than just the 50 votes generally required 
     for a budget resolution.
       The whole discussion reminded The Fact Checker of the 
     budget headaches frequently experienced when he covered the 
     budget process many years ago. Fierce battles are often waged 
     over highly arcane matters.
       We consulted with a variety of budget experts, and things 
     became even more murky. The consensus was that Republicans 
     have a point--that this was a theoretical possibility--but it 
     was not likely.
       G. William Hoagland, senior vice president of the 
     Bipartisan Policy Center and long-time budget sage for Senate 
     Republicans, said the GOP scenario was possible but 
     ``unlikely,'' as the Democrats have ``a clear intention to 
     raise $975 billion in revenues.'' He said that such reserve 
     funds are more to send messages to fellow party members--in 
     other words, to garner votes--as opposed to being substantive 
     items. ``It's grease to make the wheels go around,'' he said.
       In sum, he said, he viewed the legislation's reserve-fund 
     language as ``a clumsy way to avoid directly addressing 
     offsetting the sequester.''
       Jason Delisle, another former GOP staff member on the 
     Budget Committee now at the New America Foundation, said that 
     ``Republicans are right to say that the wiggle room means the 
     official number is not the official number--that it could be 
     higher if the reserve funds are used. Fair point.''
       But Delisle added: ``The Republican argument rests on the 
     assumption that the Democrats bring up a tax-and-spend bill 
     in addition to a reconciliation bill for each and every 
     reserve fund in the budget resolution; thus there are more 
     tax increases in the budget resolution than what they say. I 
     think the Republicans are overstating the likelihood of that 
       Ed Lorenzen, who was a budget policy adviser for House 
     Democrats and is now at the Committee for a Responsible 
     Federal Budget, agreed with Delisle and added that he viewed 
     the reserve funds as ``primarily for procedural accounting 
     purposes to adjust internal budget allocations for points of 
     order.'' He said that ``the reserve fund doesn't require an 
     additional $100 billion in revenues to pay for the $100 
     billion in stimulus spending; rather it allows the budget 
     committee chairman to adjust the allocations to accommodate 
     $100 billion for stimulus spending in the resolution if the 
     revenues already assumed in the resolution to offset it have 
     been adopted.''
       Keith Hennessey, another former GOP budget expert who now 
     teaches at Stanford University, took a darker view.
       Democrats, he said, ``want to say the budget [plan] 
     includes $100 billion in new spending for jobs and 
     infrastructure by pointing to the assumption in the non-
     legislative document, but then say that nothing in the 
     legislative text of the budget resolution requires $100 
     billion in extra taxes.'' He was especially suspicious of the 
     fact that reserve funds do not have limits--as is sometimes 
     the case in budget resolutions--and said it was perfectly 
     acceptable to argue that the budget ``also allows for another 
     $580 billion in tax increases to offset additional spending 
     increases she [Murray] assumes and promotes aggressively.''
       He added: ``If anything I'd argue that even the $1.5 
     trillion number understates the tax increases allowed by the 
     Murray budget resolution. She's requiring $975 billion in tax 
     increases to reduce future deficits, and allowing for 
     unlimited amounts more to pay for new spending. I find that 

                           The Pinocchio Test

       Clearly, we're in a bit of an expert muddle here, with even 
     Republican-leaning budget wonks lacking a consensus. But 
     let's step back a moment and look at the big picture.
       Democrats have repeatedly said they plan to seek $975 
     billion in additional revenue and would task the Finance 
     Committee to come up with the precise closing of loopholes 
     and such. There may be something vague and suspicious about 
     the reserve funds, but under the GOP scenario, Democrats 
     would also have to vote for even more taxes--which isn't very 
       Budget resolutions, after all, are basically like a 
     blueprint for a house, with the details filled in later. Both 
     sides try to score political points with the votes that are 
     cast on such documents, but in sum, many of these votes are 
     relatively meaningless.
       McConnell could have raised serious questions about what 
     Democrats intended to do with these reserve funds and how 
     they intended to fund them. But instead he has taken a 
     theoretical possibility and turned it into a hard fact: ``Any 
     senator who votes for that budget is voting for a $1.5 
     trillion tax hike, the largest in the history of our 
       That's going a step too far.

  Mrs. MURRAY. We are having an important conversation about the 
direction of our country, what kind of Nation we want to leave to our 
children and grandchildren. It will not be easy to reach a deal. We are 
working very hard to get a budget passed out of the Senate and to move 
forward from there. This is what the American people expect. It is what 
they deserve.
  I hope our colleagues will stick to the facts and not try to muddy 
the water and help us focus on the urgent task at hand.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Alabama.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, another thing that I think is important 
and that we do agree on is the concept that our plan should be to 
create growth, jobs, and prosperity. A budget-balancing exercise must 
be a part of that whole vision of how we make America a better, more 
prosperous place. What we are learning is that we can't borrow our way 
to prosperity.
  I will never forget being in Evergreen, AL, a few years ago at a 
townhall meeting when a nice African-American gentleman stood up. He 
said, ``My daddy always told me you can't borrow your way out of 
  If you think about it, that is basically what we are saying we are 
going to do. We are saying it is not a spending problem. This is not 
the problem we have. The problem we have is that we don't have enough 
  We have two solutions: One is to borrow more money, and the other is 
to tax more, taking money from people who otherwise would use it in the 
economy to invest, expand businesses and the like, or raise--increase 
spending or borrow the money, adding to our debt.
  Debt accumulates over time. Each billion dollars, trillion dollars 
that is added to the debt, we pay interest on. People lend us that 
money. A lot of people haven't thought about it much, but we have to 
pay interest on it. It is projected by the budget before us today that 
in 10 years we will be paying $800 billion--virtually $800 billion a 
year in interest. Think about this. Interest on our debt will be almost 
$800 billion a year. Under the CBO current baseline it is a similar 
number. The Defense Department budget, which is actually being 
reduced--one of our largest--is $500 billion, Social Security is about 
$750 billion, and Medicare is about the same or a little smaller. It 
would exceed every other budget item in our budget--interest on the 
debt--every year.
  We have been wrestling, nickeling and diming, cobbling together money 
for a budget for our highways--$40 billion or so we could put together 
and have a program that doesn't cut our highway funding. We have more 
efficient cars, people are not buying as much gas, and taxes aren't as 
much as we projected they would be a number of years ago. It is getting 
to be a tight budget. We spend about $40 billion--maybe a little more 
now--on the highway budget every year. This is maybe 1.1 percent of the 
total Federal Government budget.
  We will be spending $800 billion on interest each year. The money we 
spend on interest produces us nothing. All it does is help remind us of 
the good old high time we had back in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 
2013, when we were spending and borrowing. We can think back: Wasn't 
that a great time when interest rates were unbelievably, artificially 
low. They will not stay at that rate; they are going up. We have had a 
great time, but the piper is going to demand his due as the years go 
by. It is just a fact.
  This is how countries get in trouble. Greece and all of those 
countries in trouble in Europe, their debt became so high, their 
interest rates started going up. People were afraid to lend them money, 
and they wouldn't lend them more money unless there was more interest. 
All of a sudden, their interest payments were so large that their whole 
economy and governments were threatened. I think this is a big deal.
  We keep hearing that spending is not the problem. I would like to 
talk about this a little bit because it is very important.
  Nancy Pelosi, minority leader in the House, said this earlier this 
year: ``So

[[Page S2011]]

it is almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem.''
  We don't have a spending problem. The American people need to send us 
more money, I guess is what she would say. No, don't look at these 
duplicative programs; don't look where we are wasting money. It is 
important. You can't have austerity and actually cancel a worthless 
government program. They somehow might lose their job and the country 
will sink into the ocean. America will be better, our economy will be 
stronger, if we are leaner and more productive as a government. Surely, 
we can agree on that. Surely, we can't maintain, as Paul Krugman did 
the other day--unless he is advising the Democratic majority in the 
Senate--that even wasteful Defense Department spending shouldn't be cut 
because we want to stimulate the economy with borrowed money, throwing 
money at programs that are no good. That is no way to do business.

  Steny Hoyer, one of the Democratic leaders in the House, says: Does 
the country have a spending problem? The country has a paying-for 
problem. We don't pay enough, Mr. Hoyer says. Mr. Hoyer says we need to 
pay more to Washington so Washington can keep spending.
  We are not changing. It is the American people's fault. Don't you 
know, we are investing for you. Give us more money so we can invest. 
Don't you think all these programs work? Aren't they doing great? No, 
we are not going to reform them. We can't cut a single one--children 
will be thrown into the streets; old people won't have drugs for their 
health care. And all of this because of a modest reduction in the 
growth of spending?
  Congressman Ryan has demonstrated, and the numbers are absolutely 
clear, that we can increase spending by 3.4 percent a year, and the 
budget will balance in 10 years. We don't even have to cut spending. We 
have to reduce the rate of growth in spending from around 5.4 percent 
to 3.4 percent and the budget balances. But President Obama says he is 
not interested in balancing the budget. My goal is not to chase a 
balanced budget, he says.
  I know my colleagues have used the word ``balanced.'' I said earlier 
they used the word ``balanced'' tonight 14 times, but I have been 
corrected. It is 24 times already tonight that my colleagues have used 
the word ``balanced'' in relation to this budget that never balances 
and never will balance because they are not concerned about balancing 
the budget. That is not what it is about with them. They think bringing 
the budget into balance, as most States have to do, as all cities and 
counties have to do, is austerity. Oh, we can't have austerity. That 
might hurt the government. Somebody might lose their job. They no 
longer would be paid to do some worthless job that doesn't produce 
anything. We have to keep paying them anyway because it would be 
austere to cut that out.
  Senator Harkin said in February: We have the richest Nation in the 
world. If we are so rich, why are we so broke? Is it a spending 
problem? No, it's because we have a misallocation of capital, a 
misallocation of wealth. If we are so rich, why are we broke, he says. 
Is it a spending problem? No, it is because we have a misallocation of 
capital, a misallocation of wealth.
  What he means is the government hasn't taken enough wealth from the 
American people who worked hard and earned it, so they can distribute 
it around. That is what he means; that we are entitled to more of it 
from the economy, and we can extract more of it and then we can pass it 
out and we can tell all the people who get our checks how much we did 
for them. By the way, we ask them to vote for us while we are at it. 
See what I sent you? I need your vote now. By the way, these awful 
Republicans, they are talking about taking those checks away. You might 
not get all that money now, or you might get $98 instead of $100, and I 
am going to protect you.
  So this is the politics of this thing. It is clear we have a 
mentality around here that is not healthy, and the mentality is that it 
is not a spending problem and we don't have to cut spending and the 
Democratic budget increases spending over the baseline we are on. It 
raises taxes. We will submit a document for the record that we think 
shows we have $1.5 trillion in tax increases in this bill. But whether 
it is $1.5 trillion or $1 trillion, the deal is that spending goes up, 
and there is virtually no alteration in the debt course of America over 
the next 10 years.
  So why is it that it is a spending problem? Let me explain it. It 
actually came to me more clearly during a hearing recently where Mr. 
Elmendorf, who is the Director of CBO, the Congressional Budget 
Office--and a very smart man and a decent individual--was talking about 
the growth in spending and taxes and the tax increases that just 
occurred and that sort of thing. This is the story.
  I asked him this: If we raised enough taxes to balance the budget 
today, and if the economy is growing at 2 percent, would the taxes grow 
at about 2 percent a year?
  He said: Yes. They work hard to figure out what kind of tax growth it 
is, but taxes basically grow with the economy. As more people are 
working, the economy grows, and they pay more taxes. If they grow at 4 
percent, the government takes in more money than if it grows at 2 
  But the question was, What if spending is growing at 5 percent? Even 
if we raise enough money today to close the $1.2 billion deficit we had 
last year to zero, and the economy is growing at 2 percent, and 
spending is growing at 5 percent, we will immediately start off on an 
unsustainable debt course.
  So I asked him: Well, then, that is the definition of an 
unsustainable course, isn't it; that you are on a path to raise 
spending more than you are on a path to have revenue come up?
  And that is where we are. We can't keep raising taxes and keep 
allowing our spending rate to increase beyond what the economy will 
sustain. This economy, this government, this America that has produced 
the greatest wealth, the greatest freedom, the greatest prosperity, the 
greatest growth, the greatest innovation the world has ever known was 
not built on a state-dominated economy. It is not a socialist 
government state; it is not a European economy. It is a growth economy. 
We will make a mistake that we will regret, and it will be a colossal 
error for the future of this country if we alter that great 
characteristic of this fabulous country of which we are a part.

  We are a government of limited powers, a constitutionally controlled 
government. It does not dominate our economy. It does not dominate the 
people's lives. People are free, and they should be encouraged to be 
independent and resourceful and to take care of themselves and their 
families. When they have a hard time, we need to help them. We have 
programs that spend $750 billion a year. I kid you not.
  If you cobble together all the means-tested welfare programs that go 
to some--well, Medicaid. Medicaid is a free program for people whose 
income is below a certain level. Medicaid is a means-tested welfare 
social program, and there are a lot of them. It is the biggest. But you 
put all those together and it amounts to $750 billion a year in 
expenses or outflow. There are at least 83 of these programs, which are 
not brought together. They have independence, an independent 
management, different and independent departments of our government. 
They are not coordinated.
  What we need to do when a person is hurting and they have lost their 
job and they need food stamps and TANF and unemployment compensation 
and other benefits that they are entitled to, and will get--and will 
continue to get, at least that kind of compensation--we need to be 
producing a system where these programs are brought together. We need 
to meet with that person--perhaps a single mom who has lost her job, 
maybe a young person who hasn't been able to find work--and we need to 
use some of those monies instead of just sending aid out and a person 
comes in every month and signs up and gets a benefit to help that 
person. What kind of skills do they need? Do they need an automobile to 
go to work? How can we help them move from dependency to independence? 
How can we help them create a healthy life for themselves, their family 
and their future? That is where we need to focus, and we are not doing 
that. We are not even close to that.
  The 1996 welfare reform accomplished a lot of that. The number of 
children in poverty dropped dramatically. They

[[Page S2012]]

did a lot of reform. The welfare office became an employment office in 
many areas of the country. It helped people move into an advanced 
lifestyle and away from dependency. But we have gradually drifted 
through the Bush years and into the Obama years to where those 
qualities of that program have been undermined, and President Obama is 
overtly advocating relaxing some of the rules that mandate work 
requirements for some of the people involved. He is retreating, too, 
and that is the wrong way to go.
  We have a group of our excellent Senators--fine people--meeting in 
secret. Maybe they are down the hall now. I don't know where they are, 
but they are plotting right now on how to pass an immigration plan. We 
just can't wait to see what it is so we can just vote for whatever they 
decide we ought to have. You know what they tell us? We can't get 
workers. We have to have foreign workers. Yet we have never had more 
people on welfare, never had more people on food stamps.
  In 2001 we spent $20 billion on food stamps. Last year we spent $80 
billion on food stamps. It has gone up fourfold, but we are told there 
are not enough Americans to do work. Somehow this welfare office needs 
to be dealing with this problem, and we need to have a consolidated 
program. But there is no plan in this budget, and no plan that has been 
offered on the floor.
  Any time anybody makes a suggestion that we make reform, they get 
attacked. I have been attacked. I offered an amendment when the 
Agriculture bill was moving last year and we were on track to spend 
$800 billion over 10 years on food stamps. We found there was a 
categorical eligibility provision that was being abused substantially, 
allowing people who basically did not qualify for food stamps under the 
program to get the food stamps. So I proposed to close it. It would 
have saved $10 billion. We would spend $790 billion over 10 years 
rather than $800 billion. And I was attacked. I was kind of shocked, 
really. It was said that I was trying to balance the budget on the 
backs of hungry people. I wasn't trying to balance the budget on hungry 
people, I was trying to close an abuse of the program and, actually, 
thankfully, would have saved $10 billion--$1 billion a year over 10 
  So this is where we are. We have a firm resistance to reform 
throughout the system, and it is not a little bit of money. These 80-
some-odd welfare programs--hold your hat--over the next 10 years are 
supposed to grow, as predicted by the Congressional Budget Office, by 
80 percent--80 percent.
  My fine budget staff has looked at those numbers and they have 
concluded if we could improve those 83 programs and let them grow at 60 
percent instead of 80 percent, we could save the taxpayers $1 trillion 
over 10 years.
  I kid you not, $1 trillion. This goes a long way toward balancing our 
budget and helps us in a lot of different ways. If it is done right, it 
will be better for the people who need help than the present 83 
disjointed programs that have no coherence and no focus on helping poor 
people actually improve their lives.
  I grew up in the country. I grew up with poor people. I was poor. We 
didn't have central heating. I have no doubt our income was below the 
poverty line most of the time I was growing up. We had a garden. My 
daddy had a country store. We got by. But we didn't have any money. I 
remember when we got our first air conditioner--and it gets hot in 
Alabama. We moved from one room to the other when you turned it off. 
You didn't want to pay for electricity you didn't need. We had a 
fireplace in the living room. That was the only heat we had. The 
fireplace burned in the winter all the time. We cut our own wood. I 
worked construction in the summers both summers I was going to college, 
saving a few bucks being a carpenter's helper and working out in the 
Alabama heat. It didn't hurt me. And this idea that people aren't 
willing to work and we have to import foreign labor and we have to give 
people welfare because we can't find them a job, while businesses say 
we don't have enough workers, is somehow a messed-up idea. This is not 
helping. We have got to confront this problem. There is no plan to 
confront this problem or talk about it in any realistic way. It is time 
for us to be honest about this country's problems.
  We do have a spending problem. Spending is going up faster than the 
economy is growing, and it will always create a deficit. You can't 
create something out of nothing. Julie Andrews sang, ``Nothing comes 
from nothing. Nothing ever could.'' That is so true. So we need to have 
a government that is leaner, that is more productive, that does more 
for the American people than it is doing now for less money.
  My office has been spending less than we are allocated every year. I 
believe this year the Senate has reduced its budget about 10 percent 
over the last couple of years. I am down about 20 percent. This idea 
that you can't cut spending throughout this government is one of the 
most ridiculous ideas that has ever been raised.
  I was a U.S. Attorney. I managed an office of lawyers and staff. When 
Ronald Reagan came in and we didn't have any money, we watched every 
dime we spent. The former Deputy Attorney General of the United States, 
Larry Thompson, was from Atlanta and I was U.S. Attorney in Alabama. We 
were such dyed-in-the-wool frugal Reagan hawks, when we were made U.S. 
Attorney we came to a conference and we roomed together, in separate 
beds, but we thought it was cheaper and saved money for the taxpayers. 
This is the kind of mentality that needs to get back into what we are 
doing, and I would say that it is time for us to confront this.
  The vision of the Members of this side, and I think a lot of Members 
of that side, is not that far apart. But I want to be clear about a 
couple things. This budget needs to be put on a path to balance. It can 
be done without cutting spending in any dramatic way. All you have to 
do is reduce the rate of growth in spending. The budget will balance in 
10 years. We need to do that. We need to plan to do that. As I 
explained before, the debt is already pulling down economic growth in 
America. It is pulling down the growth we have. The debt has reached 
such a level, 104 percent of GDP, that it is above the limit and the 
level that the International Monetary Fund, the Bank for International 
Settlements, the European Central Bank, and the Rogoff-Reinhart study 
say begins to pull down growth. We are losing jobs, we are losing 
promotions, we are losing pay raises as a result of this debt right 
  We share the view on both sides of the aisle that we need to be 
looking to create growth. Our colleagues say, Let's keep doing what we 
have been doing the last number of years. We have another stimulus 
package, we have another $100 billion, and we are going to borrow this 
money because we are already in debt, and to spend an additional $100 
billion requires borrowing an additional $100 billion, so we are going 
to borrow $100 billion and we are going to spend it, and this is going 
to make the economy stronger. Sorry. We have been there, done that. We 
say no. We have got to end this mentality. We need to make this 
government leaner and more productive. We need to have this government 
do things that create growth and jobs that do not add to the debt.
  What are some of those things? Simplified taxes, eliminate 
unnecessary regulations, more American energy. Those are the kinds of 
things we can do that don't cost money that create jobs. Complete the 
Keystone Pipeline. Don't keep sending money to Venezuela or Saudi 
Arabia. Create jobs in America. Ask the people in North Dakota; they 
have got growth and prosperity as a result of energy production. These 
are the kinds of things we can do and we believe in and will continue 
to work for.
  I would say that maybe, even though we have a big difference--and 
this budget will be quite different from the House budget--I don't say 
it is impossible that in conference some sort of more global agreement 
could be reached to put America on a sound path. We will have to deal 
with the entitlements. Entitlements represent half of the spending--
and, with interest, more than half of the spending. Medicare, Social 
Security, those are growing well above the inflation rate and their 
growth level needs to be contained a little bit. We can make them 
sound, and people can retire and know that Medicare will be there for 
them, it won't fail, and that Social Security

[[Page S2013]]

will be there for them, it won't fail. And we are going to stop adding 
to our debt until it reaches such a level that it could not only slow 
growth but could cause a financial crisis, as we had in 2007, and as 
they are having now in some of the European countries and that so many 
countries have had over the years.
  We are excited to have a budget on the floor for the first time in 4 
years. It does provide an opportunity for the American people--as our 
chair, Senator Murray, said--to compare the visions for America. It 
also provides an opportunity for our Members to learn about what things 
cost, how much you can get through tax increases, what kind of spending 
cuts are required, whether we have to cut or how much we can grow 
spending and still balance the budget. These kinds of things are 
learned when a bill actually goes to the floor.
  Mr. President, I yield the floor and I suggest the absence of a 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Kaine). Without objection, it is so 
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, President Obama, being interviewed on 
ABC by George Stephanopoulos, not only said ``my goal is not to chase--
a balanced budget'' but he also said, ``we don't have an immediate 
crisis in terms of debt,'' and ``in fact, for the next 10 years, it's 
gonna be in a sustainable place.''
  I would say two things about that. He appointed Mr. Erskine Bowles to 
be chairman of the fiscal commission. They spent quite a lot of time 
working on this debt question. They took testimony from experts, they 
examined documents, and they did what a good, public, spirited group 
would do. Mr. Bowles was Chief of Staff for President Clinton and a 
very successful businessman. Alan Simpson, his Cochair, was a former 
Republican Senator from Wyoming.
  That is not what they told us. In the committee, 2 years ago, in the 
Budget Committee--maybe a little over 2 years now--they gave a joint 
statement in which they said this Nation has never faced a more 
predictable financial crisis.
  What they were saying was the level of debt we are operating on, the 
unsustainability of the debt path, was so great that we will have some 
sort of fiscal crisis.
  I remember about that same time, the Chairman of the Fed, Mr. 
Bernanke, testified that we have all these outyears and we talk about 
the debt numbers and all that, but we don't have to worry about them. I 
am paraphrasing, but this was pretty close to what he said. I think 
these were his exact words: But it will never happen.
  What he basically told us was there would be a fiscal crisis before 
we get this far down the road--the demographics, the aging population, 
fewer workers, greater debt every year--mushrooming in the outyears.
  I am troubled the President thinks that as a matter of fact, the next 
10 years is going to be in a sustainable place. I don't believe he 
knows that. I will tell my colleagues a couple reasons why. Senator 
Stabenow had a chart about how great the economy or the fiscal 
situation of the country looked about the time President Bush took 
office. The last month of President Clinton's term in office was 
negative growth. I think that was the first month of negative growth in 
maybe 8 years. In fact, when President Clinton took office, he didn't 
inherit a recession, regardless of what the myth is around here. Former 
President Bush did have a recession in his second year or so of his 
term and he took action and the economy bounced back. About the time 
President Clinton took office, the economy was growing and it continued 
to grow through the decade. We don't know all the forces. We talk about 
it. We play politics about it. But nobody knows precisely what moves an 
economy, whether it was something 10 years ago or something 10 months 
ago that caused the difficulty. We make guesses and we do our best 
  So here we go. In early 2000, I am on the Budget Committee and Mr. 
Greenspan testified--the maestro, the guru, the Federal Reserve 
Chairman, the greatest we had ever had; the economy had long years of 
growth. He told the committee we are going to have surpluses as far as 
the eye can see. He discussed with the Budget Committee what would 
happen when we had all these surpluses and we would pay down the entire 
debt of the United States of America. Then he asked us what we would 
do. What is the Federal Government going to do with the extra money? 
Are they going to buy the bonds of Venezuela? Does it buy British 
bonds? What does it do with its money? Does it buy property? This was 
the mindset in early 2000, and he was the Federal Reserve Chairman. 
Didn't he see the demographics? Didn't he recognize--there was a little 
caution in his statement, but he was very positive.
  I went back and read it again recently, because it teaches me that 
this man, at the peak of his powers--one of the greatest economic minds 
in history; at least it was so felt at that time--completely missed it, 
I have to tell my colleagues. He didn't think we had a problem in the 
future with debt. He didn't say by 2009 we are going to be running 
trillion-dollar deficits, right? So this makes me a bit humble about 
our ability to predict.
  Mr. Bowles said we are on a path to a debt crisis. That is what he 
told us in the committee. I believe Chairman Conrad or ranking member 
Judd Gregg asked him: When?
  He said: I think about 2 years.
  Two years came and we didn't have a debt crisis. So now the President 
of the United States is saying we can continue for 10 years, no 
problem, no worries. I am happy. You are happy. We don't have to cut 
spending. We need to keep borrowing. We need to keep running up debt 
because we absolutely don't want to have austerity. We don't want to 
have austerity. We want to be happy and spend. So that is the deal.
  I am telling my colleagues, nobody knows. It can happen just that 
quick. Kent Conrad told me--we were standing right over there--he said 
the rate we are heading is coming off that wall like a rubber ball at 
warp speed. He was on the debt commission, the fiscal commission. He 
was worried about the fact of our unsustainability on the debt course.
  Things look good. The Sun is shining out there today. We don't want 
to talk about that. Who wants to be negative? Who wants to be Dr. Doom? 
Do my colleagues remember Dr. Doom or Nouriel Roubini, who said: We 
were going to have a debt crisis in 2005 or 2006. I am not sure when he 
predicted that. He said: The banks are borrowing too much money. It is 
unsustainable. We are going to have a crisis.
  Months went by and we didn't have a crisis. One year went by, we 
didn't have a crisis. They mocked him. They called him Dr. Gloom. After 
2007, when the bottom fell out and we had the worst recession since 
World War II, the reasons it happened were just what Mr. Roubini said. 
People said: Dr. Gloom wasn't so wrong after all. Maybe we should have 
listened to him.
  I am just telling my colleagues, I believe we have a responsibility 
as men and women of public service, managing the finances of the United 
States of America, and we have a President who is in denial.
  I think it is time for this Congress to assert itself and say we are 
not going to risk this country. I believe our debt is already too high. 
I believe it without a doubt. It is a fact. The Rogoff and Reinhart 
study was based on public debt, and our public debt is now over 100 
percent of GDP. It is greater than the entire economy. That means we 
pull down and we place our country at risk because we are slowing 
growth, as I indicated earlier.
  But this is what Secretary Geithner said in 2011 before the Budget 
Committee. I asked him what did he think about the Rogoff and Reinhart 
study, because it was troubling to the committee. Everybody on the 
committee knew about it. The fiscal commission people had consulted 
about it. We had Carmen Reinhart testify before the committee and then 
again a little later. So I asked him about it. This was his answer to 
my question to him, as I recall:

       It's an excellent study. And you could say in some ways 
     what you summarize from it, understates the risks, because 
     it's not just that governments or countries that live with 
     very high debt-to-GDP ratios are consigned to weaker growth.

[[Page S2014]]

  As I have been contending throughout the day--

       They're consigned to the damage that comes from periodic 
     financial crises as well.

  February 17, 2011, Secretary Geithner, President Obama's own 
  So he was warning us that when the debt gets this high, we are in a 
danger zone.
  We know there are some countries that have more difficult problems 
than we. There was an article recently from the CATO Institute talking 
about some of the countries in the world. Japan is one of the most 
dangerous. What if the third, fourth largest economy in the world, 
Japan--one of our key trading partners--was to have an economic 
collapse such as Greece? Do my colleagues think it can't happen? I 
don't think it can't happen. I don't know. They are running way too 
high a debt-to-GDP ratio. Their population is aging even more quickly 
than ours.
  Then we have France and Spain and Italy. Any one of those countries 
had an economy so large they can't be bailed out like Greece. What 
would happen if Europe were to go into turmoil? I am not predicting 
that to happen, but I am telling my colleagues we are on a path where I 
don't believe any responsible person can say it couldn't happen to us, 
and we could be embroiled in this too. The worst thing that could 
happen to us is we have to face a fiscal crisis where we get our debt 
under control at a time when the country is in a recession as a result 
of financial mismanagement. It would make it be an utter nightmare. As 
many experts have said, we have shifted a lot of debt from the private 
sector to the government. The government picked up liabilities it had 
no business picking up and the result is it has increased its debt 
  I am very concerned that we not treat this lightly. I am very unhappy 
the President of the United States who, to my knowledge, never had an 
economics course in his entire life--a community organizer--is going on 
national television when the needle of our debt is in the red zone, by 
any estimation, and he blithely says: We don't have an immediate crisis 
in terms of debt. In fact, for the next 10 years, it is going to be in 
a sustainable place.
  I don't believe he is correct to say that. I have not heard any 
economists say that with full authority, certainly not a lot of them, 
and I am worried about where we are.
  There is another chart I wanted to show about the question of taxes. 
This is a chart that I saw in Barron's magazine just a few weeks ago. 
Gene Epstein did this chart. On the cover of Barron's was a picture of 
the President, having made his State of the Union Address, and the 
caption on the front of the newspaper was ``The way to Greece'' or 
something like that, and it was a very serious analysis of the deep, 
systemic debt problems this Nation has, and a plea for us to act, to 
move forward and avoid the risks we are now undertaking.
  One part of what they did was to actually analyze what we could do 
with more taxes, particularly taxes on upper income people, and they 
ran the numbers. I believe this is an accurate run of the numbers. On 
the left side, it has the public debt as a percentage of the GDP and on 
the right at the bottom are the years over time. Mr. Epstein ran it 
based on increasing taxes and increasing taxes a lot.
  His first run was the purple line, how much the debt would go up; how 
much the debt would go up if the current tax rate stayed in effect. 
This is the purple line. It grows a little faster than the green line 
and the red line. It grows a little faster because the taxes are a 
little lower than his next two estimates.
  Then he estimated for the wealthy people who were raised from 35 to 
40 percent, what if they were raised to 50 percent? In Alabama, it is 
about average. We have a 5-percent income tax in our State. So for the 
wealthy, making it 50 percent, plus paying 5 percent to the State, he 
is paying a pretty big chunk of his money right off the top. But let's 
assume it went up there. It has almost no impact on the debt course of 
America according to the Barron's analysis.
  The third one, the red one is based on raising the tax rate of upper 
income people to 50 percent and then rolling back all the tax cuts 
President Bush had for the lower income people, the middle-class people 
who got substantial reductions in their rates and we have been 
operating that for about 13 years now and we made those permanent.
  President Bush was attacked for having tax cuts, but I am pleased to 
see my Democratic colleagues are joining with the Republicans to make 
99 percent of those tax rates permanent. It must not have been so evil 
if everybody overwhelmingly voted to make them permanent. So if we 
raised all those rates and had a 50-percent tax increase on the 
wealthy, we still hadn't changed the debt course of America.
  What does that say? It says the debt problem in America is a spending 
problem, and a big part of that spending problem is the huge mandatory 
programs we have.
  I am a lawyer. What is a mandatory program? It means when you reach 
66, 67, you walk in and ask for your Social Security check and they 
have to pay you whether there is any money in the bank or not, whether 
the government has any money or not. The government has to borrow the 
money and pay your check because you are entitled to it as a matter of 
law at a certain age you qualify. Many of our entitlement programs are 
based on income. If your income is below a certain level, you are 
entitled to the money whether Uncle Sam has it or not, and that is 
based on law. That is based on legislation Congress passed that 
entitled people under certain circumstances to obtain Federal money and 
get it as a matter of entitlement.
  When those programs are surging at 6 percent a year--Medicaid, the 
poor person's insurance program is projected to grow 8 percent a year 
over the next decade, 117 percent over the next 10 years--when those 
programs are growing at that rate and the economy is growing at 2 
percent, you have a problem. You do not have to go to the Harvard 
Business School to know that. You really do not have to go to Harvard 
to know that.

  When I talk to the American people, they understand it fully. They 
expect that we are going to have to make tough choices in this country 
to get the country on the right path, and they are girding themselves 
to support such tough choices, but they want them fair. They are 
willing to tighten their belt, but they do not want somebody who never 
works and lays around and watches TV all day, the soap operas, to have 
an advantage over people who are out working hard every day. But, 
anyway, people are prepared for that. The good news is, that as the 
economy grows, we do not have to cut spending, we just have to reduce 
the rate of growth in spending. This is not a myth I am talking about. 
This is absolute fact. You can spend more. This government can spend 
more every year. We can spend more at the rate of 3.4 percent, instead 
of increasing it at 5.4 percent, and the budget balances over 10 years. 
How much better is that? Most people think we have to have cuts across 
the board.
  Now some programs are going to have to be cut. And let's be frank. 
What is the real challenge for us? Social Security and Medicare are 
great programs that our seniors depend on, and can grow steadily, can 
grow more than 3.4 percent, really. But those programs have a double 
problem. Not only do we want to see a cost of living occur for our 
seniors, but we have more seniors on the program every year. So this 
makes the numbers harder to deal with.
  So you can say: Well, Social Security is just going to grow 4 percent 
instead of 5.5 percent and people will not lose much money. They will 
get a $4 increase instead of a $5.5 increase. No, no, it is more 
complicated than that because since you have more people on Social 
Security and Medicare, because of the age of the population that we 
have, it will be a larger impact than that--not disastrous, 
  And we can do other things. We can say: Well, we want to work a 
little longer. We want to change the rate of the increase, the 
inflation index that most experts tell us should be altered under a new 
system that would save some money on the inflation index. So that is 
the kind of thing people have been talking about. The Gang of 6 talked 
about it. The President talked about it. Vice President Biden talked 
about it. The debt commission talked about it. The gang, the 12 people, 
in the

[[Page S2015]]

Budget Control Act, tried to talk about a serious alteration of our 
spending path in which we fix Social Security and put it on a sound 
path, we fix Medicare and put it on a sound path, and we fix the entire 
budget of the United States in a way that is sustainable.
  I would say people I talk to in the business community, people I talk 
to who testify before the committee, experts and just common people, 
tell me repeatedly: If you guys put this country on a sound path, so we 
knew we could see what the future is, we could plan for the future, and 
we would know our finances are getting better and moving to a balanced 
budget instead of getting worse. We believe people would not lose 
money, they would spend more money. We would have more growth. More 
people would be working and not drawing welfare and unemployment 
insurance, and the budget of the United States would start improving 
right there because more people would pay taxes and fewer people would 
need help from the government.
  That is the spiral we need to be on. We are now still muddling 
through with exceedingly low growth, and they are still predicting low 
inflation. So you consider Social Security, maybe increasing it 6 
percent a year, and inflation is just 2 percent. The Congressional 
Budget Office is predicting that inflation will be 2.2 percent, I 
think, a year, equaling almost 25 percent over 10 years. That is how 
much inflation will add over 10 years. Who knows? But we have kept low 
rates longer than anybody thought. The economy is not moving. If the 
economy actually jumped 4 percent or 5 percent growth for 2 or 3 years, 
you probably would have a jump in inflation. Obviously, CBO is not 
expecting that. They are expecting only slow growth over the next 10 
years, and I think that is consistent with the consensus of independent 
analysts. So I wanted to share that thought.
  The question before the House is--and all our colleagues need to 
confront it honestly--is this budget the kind of budget that puts 
America on a sound path? Is it what we need to do at this moment in 
history to change the debt course of America, to create confidence, to 
create the kind of growth that will increase that 2-percent growth, to 
get it to 3, 3.5, 4 percent?
  Just 2 years ago, the Congressional Budget Office projected growth 
for 2013--the year we are in--would be 4.6 percent. The year before 
that, they predicted, last year, 2012, that we would have over 3 
percent, 3.6 percent, something like that, growth. We have fallen way 
below that both years. I think the reason is the debt is pulling down 
growth, at least that is part of the reason. But regardless, the truth 
is, we are having to adjust ourselves to what Bill Gross at PIMCO, the 
largest bond group in the world, would call a new normal. The new 
normal is, we are not likely to see 5, 6-percent growth even in really 
great times in the next 10 or 15 years--maybe the next 20 or 30 years. 
We are just not likely to, for a lot of reasons. Of course, nobody 
knows. Mr. Greenspan thought we were going to have surpluses, and we 
did not. And we could have growth we are not expecting. Nobody knows. 
But we just have to make the best judgment we have, and the best 
judgment we have is that we are not on a sound path.
  So we are responsible leaders, and we have to ask ourselves, is the 
budget here going to do the right thing? We must remember and can never 
forget who will suffer the most if we have a fiscal crisis. Won't it be 
the poor? Won't it be the people in the most fragile working 
environments? Won't it be the people with less skills? Won't they be 
the ones who would suffer the most? Don't we have an obligation as a 
Senate to reach out to the House and say: We get it. This is dangerous. 
We do not know for sure where we are going. But we know. Shame on us if 
we allow decent, hard-working people--struggling to get by right now--
to get hammered by another fiscal crisis that Erskine Bowles and Alan 
Simpson virtually guaranteed was on the way?
  I think we have a duty. I think we have a responsibility. I think 
when the American people find out it is not going to take massive 
slashing of spending, as our colleagues say--a lot of the programs can 
be more efficient than they have ever been, and we get just as much 
benefit, even if they do not get as much money. There has not been any 
reform, any management improvements in this government in decades.
  I will just say politically, I thought that was the greatest offer 
Governor Romney had. He was a very good manager. In my opinion, we have 
had enough speechmakers, we have had enough war Presidents, we have had 
enough grand and glorious stuff. We need somebody to run this 
government, like the Presiding Officer ran the State of Virginia. It 
takes hard work, and you have to stay on top of it. It would have been 
great for us to have had a real top management, so that every Cabinet 
person, when they are hired, understands they have a duty to produce 
more for less for the American people, and every subcabinet and 
subcabinet and subcabinet person, and every department head gets the 
message, from top leadership on down: You are expected--as Larry 
Thompson and I did--to share a hotel room if need be to save running up 
debt in the U.S. Government.

  This budget does not do it. I think we quoted earlier what the 
Washington Post said on March 15:

       In short, this [budget] document gives voters no reason to 
     believe that Democrats have a viable plan for--or even a 
     responsible public assessment of--the country's long-term 
     fiscal predicament.

  That is a serious condemnation.
  What about USA Today, I guess maybe the widest read publication of 
its kind in the country? A USA Today editorial:

       The plan produced by the Senate Budget Committee Chairman 
     Patty Murray . . . is a disappointing document. It is a 
     namby-pamby plan that underwhelms at every turn. The Murray 
     budget neither balances the budget nor reins in entitlements 
     . . . the nation would be helped if Democrats were to embrace 
     Ryan's goal of a balanced budget.

  That is USA Today. They are not a rightwing publication, but they 
have written some good material on the budget. So has the Washington 
Post. Both of those have covered the budget situation more than most 
publications--both of them--and they have been trying to say to the 
Congress and to the President: You guys need to get together and do 
something. So both these editorials reflect a very informed judgment by 
two independent publications of national repute that the Senate--which 
they have been watching--has failed to produce a budget that puts the 
country on a sound path. I just have to tell you, I think they are 
totally correct. I wish it were not so.
  Investor's Business Daily:

       [An] IBD review of the budget data shows that the Senate 
     vastly overstates the size of its spending cuts.

  Boy, that is correct. They vastly overstate how much spending is cut 
in this bill. It goes on to say:

       In fact, it could be that the Senate [budget] would, if 
     enacted, increase federal spending by hundreds of billions of 

  Was Investor's Business Daily correct? Yes. Spending increases under 
this budget. Spending is not decreased at all under this budget, 
although we are told that it does. And we are told 20-some-odd times it 
is a balanced plan. They even go so far as to say it is a balanced 
budget. They have said it is a balanced plan so much, they started 
saying it is a balanced budget. It is nothing nowhere close to being a 
balanced budget. What they mean by ``balanced'' is, they promised that 
there will be $1 trillion in tax increases and $1 trillion in spending 
reductions. And it increases spending. Give me a break. There is not a 
one-to-one. It increases spending. There is no cut in spending off the 
current law we are now on.
  They tried to claim credit for the Budget Control Act almost 2 years 
ago. President Obama resisted that. You remember how he just threatened 
the whole government was going to sink into the ocean? Why? Because we 
would not raise the debt ceiling. The Republicans said: We have to have 
some cuts, Mr. President. We have to do something about the debt 
course. We cannot continue. We are not going to allow you to continue 
running with the credit card of the people of America if you do not 
show that you are changing your habits and you are containing some of 
your lust to spend.
  So, finally, an agreement. He hated it worse than anything. Finally, 
an agreement was done. He signed it. I agree if you will raise my debt 
ceiling right now, for $2.1 trillion, I promise in

[[Page S2016]]

the future that I will cut spending $2.1 trillion. Over 10 years. If 
you let me do it over 10 years, OK, I will sign it. But I have to have 
my debt ceiling now.
  Less than 2 years later we have already increased the debt ceiling 
$2.1 trillion. We are right up there again having to raise the debt 
ceiling again. It will be a matter of weeks that this has to be 
confronted again. Well, what about the spending cuts?
  Before the ink was dry on that agreement signed by the President 
himself--I have the document right here. In blue ink, ``Barack Obama'' 
right there, agree to cut $2.1 trillion in spending over 10 years. This 
was not a big cut. If spending were flat for 10 years, we would have 
spent $37 trillion. As I recall, if under the baseline then in effect 
we were expected to grow to $49 trillion over 10 years--$49 trillion. 
This would have reduced it to $47 trillion.
  So we reduced the growth of spending from $37 trillion to $47 
trillion instead of $49 trillion. You would have thought we were 
throwing the sink in the country into the ocean. But in January, 6 
months later, he proposes a budget which wipes out 60 percent of that 
agreement, those savings. So I am just going to tell you the way I 
felt. I have talked to my Republican colleagues. You know, we all--none 
of us are perfect. Sometimes we make improvident promises. We cannot 
just fulfill them. We cannot honor them. I try not to do that, but I 
have done it. Any person who is honest knows they have had to face 
those choices. But I am not voting to change the sequester. I am 
prepared to change it, and I support totally the spreading out of the 
cuts. They are too much on the Defense Department. I can explain how 
much it hammers the Defense Department. It is not acceptable.
  But I am going to tell you, I told the American people that the 
Congress of the United States agreed to cut $2.1 trillion in exchange 
for raising the debt ceiling $2.1 trillion. And 6 months later, I am 
not changing; 18 months later, I am not changing. If we give up on 
that, we have no credibility whatsoever. The American people should 
never trust this Congress again. They ought to vote all of us out of 
  That was a solemn promise made before the whole world that we would 
sustain these cuts. President Obama has not stopped trying to eliminate 
them. This budget does just that. It eliminates 60 percent of the 
Budget Control Act cuts. It eliminates the sequester entirely. It is 
absolutely unacceptable. It will not happen. I do not know why anybody 
would want to vote for the budget. A vote for this budget is a vote to 
go back on a promise that was made in August 2011 to act a little bit 
responsibly when the debt ceiling of the country was raised.
  The Wall Street Journal, March 15, right after the budget comes out. 
They have been very critical. This is just one of them. Well, first, 
Politico, March 17. A Washington beltway publication, Politico--they 
like to dig up stuff. This is what they said, ``To win over her caucus, 
Murray begins from the left of Obama himself.''
  Apparently, Politico's conclusion is that the budget that came 
through committee was driven by people to the left of President Obama. 
I know this: Last year the chairman of the Budget Committee, Kent 
Conrad, was prepared to bring a budget to the floor. My staff and I 
spent weeks preparing for the markup. They met in a Democratic 
conference. Some of the more liberal members hollered they could not 
accept Kent Conrad's budget, the Democratic budget he was going to set 
forth. So they, basically, refused to let him mark up a budget in the 
Budget Committee and refused to bring it to the floor of the Senate 
even though U.S. law called for the Budget Committee to have hearings 
and called for a bill to be brought to the floor. They just refused to 
do it in violation of plain law.
  So the Wall Street Journal said: The bill manages the unique 
achievement of offering no net nondefense spending cuts and no 
entitlement reform worth the name, while proposing to raise $1.5 
trillion in new tax revenue in such a way that would ruin the prospects 
for bipartisan tax reform.
  Let me stop right there. Our colleagues keep saying we are going to 
close loopholes and we are going to raise revenue and nobody is going 
to have to pay more. Well, these loopholes, as Senator Grassley showed 
us from the Finance Committee chart, these are real serious deductions. 
They are programs that are deeply entrenched, and many of them our 
Democratic colleagues have protected and expanded with great tenacity. 
They will never vote to give them up probably unless some epiphany 
occurs around here. So how are we going to get tax reform?
  Last week at the Budget Committee hearing the chief Democratic 
witness testified that he believes the corporate tax rate in America 
was unacceptably high, that we now have the highest corporate tax rate 
in the developed world, and that 35 percent is not acceptable. He said 
it needs to be the mid-twenties. This is not the Republican witness, 
but the Republican witness agreed with him. Most Republicans agreed 
with this approach. Many of the Democrats did.
  So he said: You close loopholes on corporations, make the tax 
simpler, more growth oriented, you can bring the tax rate down to 25 
percent without in any way losing revenue. You can make it revenue 
neutral. So that was an interesting thing.
  I asked him as a followup: But if you close the loopholes on 
corporations, if you close the loopholes on corporations and raise 
revenue, do you not need that money so you can reduce the rate from 35 
to 25?
  He said: Yes. All of it should be dedicated to rate reduction. We 
have Senator Ron Wyden, a Democratic Senator, Senator Max Baucus, the 
chairman of the Finance Committee, all believe this needs to be done.
  A lot of work has been done on this for several years. The President 
has even indicated that this is the kind of approach that is 
worthwhile. But our colleagues, claiming they are going to close 
loopholes, do not save the money for tax reduction. They want to take 
the new revenue raised from closing loopholes and spend it. Then it is 
not available for the bipartisan tax reform to which the Wall Street 
Journal made a reference.
  That is when I asked the witness: Do you not have to save this money 
to reduce rates at the end of the year?
  He said: Yes, you have to save these loopholes, these deductions--
really most of them are perfectly legitimate deductions that businesses 
use. But they are going to take them away from them, in effect raising 
the amount of taxes they pay. But they were going to bring the rates 

  That is the bipartisan plan that was in the works for a long time. 
Mr. Kleinbard is our witness. This is what he said: Corporate income 
tax statutory rate of 35 percent is today far outside world norms. The 
rate needs to come down. I, therefore, conceive of corporate tax reform 
as a roughly revenue-neutral undertaking in which the corporate tax 
base will be broadened through closing business tax expenditures and 
loopholes and the resulting revenues used to pay down the corporate 
  That was March 5 in our committee. I know a lot of Senators, 
Democrats on the committee, agreed with that. If we look at the budget, 
the new revenue obtained from closing loopholes, really closing 
deductions and some tax expenditures--liberals have started calling 
deductions tax expenditures. So if you have a charitable deduction or 
you have an interest deduction or you have some sort of depreciation as 
a business, those are not deductions anymore. They have become tax 
expenditures. So it is like the United States Government is mad at you 
because you did not send enough money.
  But the truth is, it is the corporate person's money or the 
corporation's money or the private individual's money. When you 
eliminate his deductions, you make him or her pay more taxes. So Mr. 
Kleinbard was crystal clear. This is what the bipartisan discussions 
have been. The Wall Street Journal is exactly right. If you spend that 
money that you raised from closing loopholes, expenditures, and 
deductions, you do not have it to reduce rates. You cannot fix the tax 
  The Wall Street Journal goes on to say:

       As a statement of governing principles, the Senate 
     Democratic budget shows that if they get the chance, they 
     would govern like they did in 2009 and 2010. Much higher 
     taxes to fund much higher spending to finance a much bigger 
     government. It is the status quo only more so.

  I have to say, I think that is correct. Hard for me to understand how 
anybody can dispute that. Next. I have

[[Page S2017]]

been saying--I have not heard much pushback--that the sequester 
elimination which allows the expenditure of $1.2 trillion more than we 
are presently on a path to extend, that this elimination of the 
sequester was not scored in the Democratic budget.
  When I asked the staff members, he said: Well, you know, we never did 
intend to make that permanent. It was always temporary. Then he said: 
Well, we got billions of dollars in Paul Ryan's budgets over here.
  I said: No, no. I am talking about this budget. You claim you are not 
scoring, as an increase in spending, $1.2 trillion, which you allowed 
to occur by eliminating the reduction in spending required in current 
law that is part of the law of the United States today and will not be 
  This is baloney. Surely, Congress will never change this. Surely, we 
will not go back on the promise we made in 2011 when we raised the debt 
ceiling. But, anyway, this is what the Associated Press said about it: 
Because the Democrats want to restore $1.2 trillion in automatic 
spending cuts over the same period, cuts imposed by Washington's 
failure to reach a broader budget pact--the committee did not reach an 
agreement, so these automatic cuts occurred--Murray's blueprint 
increases spending slightly when compared with current policy.
  So you take the $1.2 trillion there, and you have tax increases over 
here, but the increases in spending are greater than the taxes. They 
conclude that it increases spending overall, increases spending 
  The chairman, and probably the Budget Committee Members who support 
this, want to assert somehow this is a one-for-one budget, a balanced 
plan, a balanced budget amendment. You have $1 trillion in tax 
increases and $1 trillion in spending cuts, but they are not there.
  This chart is a very important chart on the subject I am talking 
about. It is, I believe, pretty much not disputable. I don't like to 
raise this, but I am not going to take it.
  Mr. Lew came before our committee, the Director of the Office of 
Management and Budget, and he said our budget will not add to the debt, 
spends only money we have and puts us on a path to pay down the 
  I asked Mr. Lew--he said it on national television, CNN with Candy 
Crowley. He said it with other networks too when he announced his 
budget. Three days later, he was at the Budget Committee. I asked him 
was that accurate. He said it was accurate.
  It absolutely was not accurate. His budget never produced a single 
year in which the deficit fell below $600 billion. Yet he told the 
American people squarely in the eye his budget would stop adding to the 
debt, spend only money we have, and allow us to pay down the debt.
  This is one of the greatest misrepresentations in history. We are 
never going to have bipartisan agreement in this Congress until we 
learn to be honest about numbers. This budget is not honest about 
numbers, I need to tell you.
  They claim a big savings and big reduction in spending and totally 
overlook this. Where is the deficit? They claim they reduce the deficit 
by $ 1.85 trillion, $1.850 billion. Let's look at that number. What 
about the sequester I have been talking about? They eliminate sequester 
and spending goes up $1.223 trillion.
  Was this scored in their number? No. They tell us we have 1.85, and 
we have to take off 1.2 because they didn't score the obvious increase 
in spending that their budget plan for the next 10 years includes. Take 
that off. We have looked at it more carefully. It took us a while to 
find this and took a while to get these in the budget numbers, but we 
have a good staff.
  They found out, unlike what we thought at first, there was no pay-for 
for the doctors. For the last number of years, we found the payment 
schedule for doctors is totally inadequate based on a law passed in the 
nineties which has cut their payment to a degree that if we cut them 
another 20-some-odd percent, they would quit taking patients. They 
couldn't operate.
  We put the money in every year because we need to put the money in or 
else they will not treat our patients. They can't afford to. Everybody, 
Republicans and Democrats, we hate it. We wish it weren't so, but it is 
every year we need to confront this thing which should have long been 
made a permanent fix. Every year it hasn't been, so every year we need 
to find the money.
  We also found the 2009 stimulus extension in the bill which continued 
more borrowing and spending for a stimulus was not accounted for. You 
add those, and there is another $348 billion which ought to be scored. 
It leaves us with a subtotal of $279 billion. That sounds nice, but 
that is not correct.
  Where are we next? Is there anything in this budget we have found 
that is not sound, gimmicky, which misrepresents the facts? Yes, there 
is, a big one. That is the war spending.
  President Obama has long been very late in producing his budget. It 
should have been here in the Senate February 4, and it still hasn't 
been produced. It is one of the oddest things I have ever seen. He 
basically punted to the Congress and refused to lay out the budget the 
law requires him to submit. He violates it all the time.
  People ask me all the time, why does the President not follow the 
law? It is a very bad thing. He should follow the law. He sets a bad 
example. Children around this country, adults around this country, when 
they find out the President ignores law, the Senate ignores law, it is 
not good for America. We are a nation of laws.
  The President, the last budget he sent, last January of 1 year ago, 
he laid out what he projected the costs would be for the war on terror. 
He is bringing those costs down dramatically, some say too fast, some 
say not fast enough, but they are coming down dramatically. He 
projects, however, we are still going to have military efforts against 
our enemy with whom we are at war, al-Qaida, for the next 10 years.
  That costs money. He projected the cost over 10 years for the war on 
terror would be $467 billion. I think that is pretty close to accurate. 
You could give or take a little bit, but apparently we are not stopping 
drone attacks.
  I just met with our Ambassador who is negotiating an agreement with 
Afghanistan. We are projecting to have troops over there for a long 
time. More and more are in the support role, but it is an expense to 
maintain the war against terror.
  We are free to attack al-Qaida wherever they are. We have people in 
Iraq, Yemen, Mali, and different places throughout the world where our 
interests have been threatened, and that costs money.
  What did our good friends on the Senate Budget Committee do? They 
needed more money in savings. They wanted to say they cut spending. 
They came up with a clever idea; we will just cut all the war spending 
and pretend we will not spend it. That is it. OK. We will just pretend 
we are not going to spend that much.
  One year from that, the total amount they say we are going to spend 
over 10 years is not $467 billion, it is 75. The last 8 years will be 
zero, so we spend 75 over 2 years, and we will not spend any more 
money. There will be peace in the world, we will not have to chase al-
Qaida, we will not need drones, troops, and special forces operating 
around the world. We will be completely out of Iraq and Afghanistan. 
Won't that be great? Let's just play it that way.
  I have to tell you, they know that is not going to happen. Even 
President Obama is projecting substantial reductions.
  If you take that down, what we find is the budget doesn't reduce the 
deficit at all. The budget increases the deficit based on the course we 
are on today, apples to apples, oranges to oranges.
  We are not playing around with different baselines to gimmick it up. 
This is the right way to analyze the situation.

  I just have to say, the American people need to know the budget 
before us does not do what it says it will do. Even what it says it 
will do is insufficient, but it doesn't come close to doing what it 
says, and it is not close to doing what is needed. It will never 
balance the budget, not in 10 years, not in any time. It makes no 
changes, none, to the deeply troubling surging growth of our 
entitlement programs, welfare programs, of Medicaid; the 83 means-
tested welfare programs which are expected to grow 80 percent over the 
next 10 years, there are no changes.
  There is no reform there we believe in. I am disappointed. 
Presumably, we

[[Page S2018]]

may see it pass out of the Senate on a party-line vote, go to the 
House, and we will see what happens in conference. Could anything come 
out of conference? It is possible. I am not overconfident, particularly 
if we can't get Members of the Senate to lay out good numbers.
  How can we negotiate with a person such as Paul Ryan, who absolutely 
knows what is up and what is down? There is not a person in America who 
knows the numbers better than Paul Ryan.
  He has integrity. He works hard. He has dedicated himself to 
mastering this subject. He has mastered it, and he has laid out a plan. 
I am not saying I agree with everything in his plan. It is not before 
us. He has laid out a plan. He is prepared to negotiate, to discuss 
with people who are willing to discuss how to reach some compromise and 
some consensus on some of the things we need to do. It is very hard to 
do that if you are putting up bogus numbers such as this.
  What about The Hill, another one of the inside Washington 
publications. On March 13, The Hill reported:

       Murray argues that her budget cuts $1.85 trillion from 
     deficits over 10 years. But once the sequester cuts are 
     turned off, Murray's budget appears to reduce deficits by 
     about $800 billion, using the Congressional Budget Office's 
     baseline. The Murray budget does not contain net spending 
     cuts with the sequester turned off.

  We score here about 700 after you take that--645. They estimated 8, 
but essentially they are making the same point. The budget the 
Democrats produced did not score the sequester.
  As we wrestle with these issues, talking about spending and how we 
create growth in our economy--and all of us want growth--we just 
contend growth is better achieved through progrowth policies than by 
borrowing and spending.
  I wish to say there is academic research which validates that 
opinion. Senator Murray's budget, the Democratic budget, proposes yet 
more stimulus and proposes a 60-percent increase in spending over the 
next 10 years, a $162 billion increase over next year alone.
  This is an increase in spending next year, not a reduction, of 162 
next year. It is a fair criticism around here that the only budget that 
counts is the next year. It does tend to control next year, but it 
often normally gets altered before the second, third, fourth, fifth, 
sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth, but it doesn't tell us a 
  I contend reducing excessive spending without increasing taxes makes 
the economy stronger, not weaker. Let's look at this. Real evidence 
supports this. It shows reducing spending can help an economy which has 
too much debt. A Harvard University study which I think all of us have 
seen, the OECD, developed nations, looked at 107 different periods of 
fiscal adjustments in these nations.
  This is what they have found:

       Spending cuts are much more effective than tax increases in 
     stabilizing the debt and avoiding economic downturn.

  I believe that is accurate. If it is, that is very important for us 
to know. Many countries have reduced spending and had large increases 
in job growth thereafter.
  You would hear our Members say: Oh, you can't cut spending; it will 
hurt job growth. You could have something in the short term, but these 
countries have had substantial increases in job growth after cutting 
spending--Austria, Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Netherlands, Norway, 
Sweden. This chart gives some of that insight: ``Job Gains 5 years 
After Successful Spending Reductions.'' Look at these again. Japan in 
1987 had an 8.6-percent growth; Canada in 1997 had 11.1 percent; 
Netherlands in 1997, 9.5 percent; United States in 1997, after spending 
reductions, 5.2 percent. That is when we were on the path to balance 
the budget. That was when Newt Gingrich and the House Republicans met 
with President Clinton and negotiated and fought and wrestled and shut 
the government down and cut spending and the economy grew. And then 
Sweden, in 1998, had 6.5 percent growth. The average job growth over 
these five countries was 8 percent after cutting spending.

  One I noticed on here is really something we should consider; that 
is, the small country of Estonia, which was part of the Soviet Union, 
dominated by Russia and the Communists. It is a great little country in 
the Baltics. I was there 2 years ago. Senator Jon Kyl took us there. 
They had just suffered through the same financial catastrophe in 2007 
to 2008 that we had, but it hit them worse. They had a larger drop in 
GDP than we did, and it was very damaging. They had to decide what to 
do about it, so they began to consider what to do about it, and they 
didn't go for this idea that they had to borrow, borrow, borrow so they 
could keep spending because the revenue had dropped so much and they 
were going to keep spending at the same level. That isn't what the 
Estonians decided to do. This new democracy, this free enterprise, this 
free country, so excited about their future, do you know what they did? 
They cut spending. They cut spending big time--big time.
  This is what a Cabinet member told me. We had dinner, a group of us, 
and he said Cabinet people had their pay cut 40 percent. He said their 
pay was cut 40 percent, and he said: But I can tell you who is really 
mad and giving me a hard time.
  I said: Who is that?
  He said: My wife. She is a doctor. We hammered them too.
  So Estonia hardly had a debt increase at all. Now Estonia has been 
showing some of the fastest growth of any country in Europe, maybe any 
country in the developed world. So cutting spending, making their 
government leaner, more productive, and people taking pay cuts did not 
destroy their economy. It allowed them to bounce back quite 
successfully. I am so proud to see their numbers continue to be great 
economically because they were courageous. The first thing their 
leaders did was take pay cuts themselves.
  Other countries have not followed this path. Other countries haven't 
tightened their belts or they have relied too heavily on tax increases 
to reduce deficits. These countries have not fared as well. Greece, 
Portugal, the United Kingdom and Spain all have had big tax increases 
as part of their deficit reduction plans, and these results are 
confirmed by studies at the International Monetary Fund, the University 
of Chicago, and the University of California.
  So we spent $830 billion on stimulus in early 2009. That passed 
through here without my vote, and I opposed it at the time vigorously. 
But it was passed, and every dime of it was borrowed. We didn't have 
the money. We were in debt. But the geniuses said we have to stimulate 
the economy. Oh, if we don't borrow money and spend it, we will sink 
into oblivion. It wasn't what Estonia did, but we did that. We spent 
the money, and we haven't seen the growth we needed. We helped surge 
our debt.
  We continue to spend substantially. We continue to run up debt the 
likes of which we have never seen before. I believe that debt right now 
is slowing economic growth and that debt right now could be a threat to 
our financial security in the future. It is sad to see us go in that 
  Spending reductions are doable. We can do this. A lot of people think 
it is not possible. They get depressed, and every time someone talks 
about spending reductions, people start whining: It can't be done. It 
can't be done. We will hurt the Defense Department because the cuts on 
the Defense Department were too great.
  But the Defense Department will still be there if we don't fix it the 
way these cuts are imposed. It will still be there--and who knows, it 
could be stronger.
  I am worried about it. In fact, the way the sequester was crafted, at 
the request of the President, one-half of all the cuts in the entire 
$1.2 trillion in cuts fell on the Defense Department, which makes up 
one-sixth of the Federal Government. So these cuts fell on the Defense 
Department disproportionately. Medicaid was increasing at 8 percent a 
year, no cuts; food stamps had gone up from $20 billion to $80 billion 
in 11 years--fourfold--but got no cuts; and, of course, Social Security 
had no cuts. There was a 2-percent maximum reduction trim on Medicare 
providers, which are the doctors and hospitals. They had a minor cut. 
So a huge portion of the budget had none, but the Defense Department 
took a huge, huge cut. It was not smart the way we did it, but the 
amount of cuts, if properly allocated across the entire government's 
spending, would have little impact on

[[Page S2019]]

reducing growth but would really begin to solidify public confidence 
that we have a smart plan to get out of this debt.
  If we just slow the spending growth to 3.4 percent a year over the 
next 10 years, we could balance this budget without raising taxes. You 
have heard that said. It is true. This is true. We do not have to have 
substantial spending cuts; we can do it and still have growth.
  Some programs need to be cut. Some programs have to be cut. Some 
programs are growing much faster than 3.4 percent. Medicaid is growing 
at 8 percent. It needs to be reformed. We can't sustain that kind of 
increase year after year after year.
  Most Americans know the old story about the rule of seven. If you 
increase something at 7 percent a year on your savings account, it 
doubles in 10 years. So if you have 8 percent, you are seeing a 117-
percent increase in spending over 10 years.
  So if we allow 3.4 percent a year in spending growth, that means we 
would spend $11,000 per person in 2022, 10 years out--$11,000 per 
person by the Federal Government. That is a higher rate of spending per 
person than we had in 2007. Yet we are going broke.
  We can reduce spending without affecting services. We can. Federal 
programs--many of them--are very wasteful, very inefficient, 
duplicative, and subject to fraud. I just held up the GAO 2012 report 
that listed a pile--page after page--of programs that are wasteful, 
duplicative, and so forth. We have social service, domestic disaster 
assistance, Internal Revenue Service enforcement efforts that all have 
duplicative gaps and are not properly managed. They talk about how the 
programs are duplicative, how the programs are mismanaged, how they 
need to be tightened up, and there is a whole list of these things. 
There are about 50 different major programs--51--that need reform. We 
haven't done any of that.
  What does Congress say to the American people? Well, we don't have 
time to execute, carry out, or study GAO's report. That is too much 
work. Just send us more money. No, we don't have time to do this. You 
don't understand--these little programs, they do not save much money. 
They do not make any difference. We don't have to focus on them. Send 
us more money. You have to send us more money.

  I think the American people may be getting tired of this.
  Nine different agencies, according to GAO, run over 50 job-training 
programs for people with disabilities. This budget proposes to create 
more. We had an amendment offered at the Budget Committee that would 
create another job program. I mean, we have them all over the place. It 
sounded like a good idea. Something good happened in some State, so we 
have a plan to offer Federal legislation to do it here or expand it.
  Last year alone, Washington paid out $44 billion to people who, 
through deceit or error, did not deserve Medicare payments. Let me 
repeat. Forty-four billion dollars was paid out to people who, through 
deceit or error, did not deserve Medicare payments. That is more money 
than we spend running our national parks, the FBI, the Federal Aviation 
Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers' civil works projects, and 
the Internal Revenue Service combined. Forty-four billion is a lot. 
That is just about what the Federal highway budget is--$44 billion. 
Fraud, deceit, and error out the door in Medicare alone.
  Well, Mr. President, we have been at it a long time. I am very 
unhappy that the budget process has been shifted to the end of the 
week. I am very unhappy that we are at a point where we are not going 
to have as full a debate because people are going to be stressed, they 
are going to be here at night and maybe into the weekend. Somebody may 
say: Well, Sessions, it is your fault. Why don't you just yield back 
this time? But it would take every Senator here to yield back the time. 
And if I did, I am sure somebody would object. And I am not yielding 
back time now.
  We have problems. We can yield, we can work through the night, we can 
compromise tonight and maybe save a few hours, or we can work to be as 
accommodating to our colleagues as we can. I am willing to do that. But 
I just have to say that this budget should have been up earlier. We 
should have reached an agreement with Senators Moran and Ayotte and 
given them amendments early in the week or last week, and we could have 
had the budget up Monday. We wouldn't have had all this fuss. We would 
have had Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and we would have had a 
full day, completed all amendments, and been out of here. But, oh no, I 
think there is something to the fact that it was considered to be a 
good idea just to carry this budget over to the end of the week and 
that Senators would want to leave and we would just wrap it all up, do 
it in the dead of night so the American people wouldn't see, perhaps, 
what is going to be done, wouldn't pay much attention to the votes, and 
we could get out of here and do the least possible public discussion of 
this bad budget that we can.
  Now, some might say: Well, that is really not so.
  I think it is so. We haven't had a budget on the floor for 4 years. 
Why? Senator Reid said publicly that it is foolish to have a budget. 
Why did he say that? He meant it was foolish politically. I have said 
this before. He knows how I feel about it.
  He said it was foolish--politically, basically--to have a budget. 
Why? Because writing a budget requires a party to lay out their vision 
for the future, to be prepared to defend it in public debate, and to 
have amendments on it. He has been controlling this Senate to a degree 
no majority leader has ever controlled the Senate, and the one thing he 
is not able to control is the budget process: You have 50 hours and 
virtually unlimited amendments. He didn't want to do that. So he was 
willing to violate the law of the United States and not bring up a 
budget so he wouldn't have to do this.
  Finally, this year the House got fed up. They have been passing an 
honest budget that lays out a future plan for America. They have 
defended it publicly. They have taken unfair attacks and abuse for 
doing their duty every year--like they are supposed to do.
  So they sent over a bill this year. It said: No budget, no pay, 
Congress. If you don't bring up your budget, you don't get paid. So now 
we have a budget for the first time in 4 years. Maybe the House should 
be given a medal for that.
  But I am not happy. I don't believe we are doing this right. I was 
disappointed that for the first time in 3 years, when a budget was 
brought up in the Senate committee, we had statements made one 
afternoon for a few hours before we even saw the chairman's mark. It 
was produced after that, and we had 1 day--the next day--to offer 
amendments. That wasn't a very good process, in my view.
  If we really want to deal with the debt--the greatest danger of our 
time--and deal with it properly, why wouldn't we want to have an open 
public hearing? Why wouldn't we have had expert witnesses all year to 
help talk to us? We had a few hearings, but we could have had a lot 
more because this has complex questions for us to decide. We should 
have had more time in committee, and we should have had full time on 
the floor of the Senate. So I don't make any bones about it. I wish we 
had done it differently.
  Mr. President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  Mrs. MURRAY. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order 
for the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.