“America’s strength is measured not by the size of our government but by the scope of our freedoms. Endless spending, taxing, and borrowing is a certain path to decline.”
WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, delivered remarks on the Senate floor today explaining that Republicans stand behind a strong, immediate spending reduction to begin restoring confidence in the economy:
“Government funding is set to expire next week on April 8th. So we have yet another deadline hanging over our heads because Democrat leaders aren’t willing to meaningfully reduce our bloated federal budget.
We hear from them all the time that the sky will fall if we trim just $61 billion from a $3.7 trillion budget. Well, the American people are not buying it. They’ve seen the overspending of the past two years and know that it failed to produce what it promised. Instead, all that has been achieved through this massive surge in federal spending is a crushing debt burden that weakens our economy and threatens our future.
Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles—co-chairs of the president’s own fiscal commission—warned that if the United States fails to act it faces “the most predictable economic crisis in its history.” And they said that such a crisis could arrive in as soon as one or two years.
The American people expect their elected leaders to confront this threat with seriousness and candor. But the president has never once looked the American people in the eye and told them the truth about how badly their finances have been handled and how perilous it would be to remain on our current course.
The president and his budget director have instead falsely boasted to the American people that under their budget we will “live within our means” and “not add more to the debt,” and that “we’re not going to spend any more money than we’re taking in.”
Not one of these claims is true. In fact, the CBO finds that over the next decade, our annual deficits will never once fall below $748 billion dollars. And they climb to $1.2 trillion in the tenth year.
Just imagine the fate a CEO would face if, in the process of asking for shareholders to invest in company stock, he declared that “we are not adding to the debt” while his accountants were telling him that the company’s debt would double.
The president has even nominated a deputy budget director, Heather Higginbottom, who has no budget experience and who attempted to defend these claims before the Budget Committee. Who knows—perhaps the administration was not able to find someone with greater qualifications who was willing to defend these positions.
And here, in this body, instead of taking firm, decisive action to curb our rising debt, the Majority Leader is now arguing that the roadblock to action is a division within the Republican Party.
I might remind the Leader that every Republican Senator either voted for $61 billion in cuts or called for greater action. There is essentially unanimous Republican agreement that we ought to cut $61 billion or more from this year’s discretionary budget. By contrast, the Majority Leader lost nearly 1/5 of his caucus on the Democrat proposal to basically do nothing. Democrats who broke ranks called for greater action. So it’s clear where the momentum lies.
We shouldn’t split the baby, or meet halfway.
We are living in a fantasy world if we don’t think we can cut $61 billion from this budget. Our non-defense discretionary spending has swelled 24 percent since the president took office.
Taking this first step in the right direction would begin to immediately restore confidence in our economy. And it would save $862 billion over the next ten years.
Now we also hear that, in the effort to strike a compromise, some are suggesting that we agree to tax hikes in exchange for any reduction in spending.
Well, another tax and spend deal is not acceptable. We need to recognize first and foremost that Washington has been spending too much—not taxing too little. How can we ask Americans to pay more taxes when Washington is not even willing to cut $61 billion from our bloated bureaucracy?
I have a proposition for my colleagues who wish to raise taxes: before we consider asking the American people to pay another cent of taxes, why don’t we first drain every cent of waste from the federal budget?
We will never truly dig ourselves out of this crisis—and put this nation on a real path to prosperity—unless Washington brings its spending under control.
America’s strength is measured not by the size of our government but by the scope of our freedoms. Endless spending, taxing, and borrowing is a certain path to decline.
We know the threat. We know what we need to do. What we don’t know is what the President is waiting for.
America’s leaders have no higher duty, no greater moral responsibility, than to take all appropriate steps to protect the good people they serve from a clear and present danger.”