Sessions Delivers Opening Remarks At Hearing With President's Budget Director

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, delivered the following remarks today at the Budget Committee hearing on the President’s FY 2015 budget proposal with testimony from OMB Director Sylvia Burwell:

“Director Burwell, thank you for joining us here today.

Two weeks ago, where you are sitting today, we heard chilling testimony from Director Elmendorf of the Congressional Budget Office that declared that the United States was on an “unsustainable” financial path, and that this path leads to “the risk of a fiscal crisis.”

So I was really surprised and stunned that two months after the President signed the Ryan-Murray spending caps into law—which validates the spending limits we all agreed to, and which he signed—his budget proposes to dramatically burst through those statutory limits and spend an additional $791 billion.

Remarkably, in FY15, the President’s Budget calls for spending $56 billion more than the Ryan-Murray limits.

The President’s budget then calls for another huge tax increase of well over $1 trillion and to increase spending by almost a trillion.

Over 10 years, the President’s plan projects mandatory spending growth of 78 percent and Medicare and Medicaid spending growth 73 percent. Means-tested welfare and poverty spending—which now total $750 billion is the largest federal expense—continues to soar without reform.

The President’s healthcare law remains perhaps the gravest threat to our nation’s financial stability with GAO estimating it would add $6.2 trillion to our long-term unfunded liabilities.

Altogether, President Obama’s budget—by his own numbers—would add more than $8 trillion in new debt, bringing the total from approximately $17 to $25 trillion.

This national profligacy is already inflicting an excruciating toll.

Last year we paid our creditors $221 billion in interest on our federal debt. Under the President’s tax-and-spend plan, according to his numbers, annual interest payments will rise to $812 billion. That’s $424 in monthly interest costs for every American worker, or more than $5,000 per worker per year.

The White House also continues to make unreasonable growth assumptions which have proven consistently false.

In budgets submitted from 2009–2012, the White House’s average growth projection for 2013 was 3.9 percent—double the actual 2013 figure of 1.9 percent, a huge difference.

The new White House budget further projects that the economy will grow at a 3.1 percent pace in 2014, at 3.4 percent in 2015, and at 3.3 percent in 2016. Each year is significantly higher than respected Blue Chip estimates.

You also claim false savings from the passage of the Senate immigration bill. Your budget assumes that the immigration bill will produce hundreds of billions in new tax receipts from payroll contributions from newly-legalized workers. But, as you know, these workers, upon retirement, will draw out every penny and more that they have paid into these programs.

A budget is the document that brings all the President’s policies together in one place. It reveals the President’s agenda in its entirety. So what does it show?

Across the board, it shows the effect of President’s policies are to further grow the government and to further shrink the middle class. This administration appears determined to shield the bureaucracy from accountability—and to spare it from any reductions—as it drains the nation of its wealth.

American families are struggling under a failed policy regime:

1.)   energy restrictions that destroy jobs

2.)   regulations that are reducing productivity and closing factories;

3.)   A government health law that shrinks the workforce

4.)   A welfare policy that traps families in poverty

5.)   A trade policy that sends jobs overseas

6.)   An immigration policy that reduces wages for American workers

7.)   A tax burden that undermines our ability to compete

8.)   A crushing debt burden that saps our nation’s confidence and vitality.

The President’s budget proposes dozens of new taxes, spending programs, and government initiatives. It does nothing to fix our fiscally unsound Medicare and Social Security programs. This will have to be done. But the President will have, over 8 years, done not one thing to save these programs, leaving his successor with an even harder challenge.

Nor has the President done anything to contain soaring welfare costs—in fact, his administration has surged welfare spending and been an obstacle to accountability and reform.

Finally, the biggest failure displayed in this budget presentation in that the President, for political purposes, refuses to look the American people in the eye and tell them the truth: that we are on an unsustainable financial path. He refuses to rally the nation to action to avoid a fiscal crisis. If he would do so, I have no doubt that this nation would respond and overcome the danger. However, I can only assume that the President does not do so because it would interfere with his goal of expanding government.

The President’s policy was made clear last week when the White House declared that the “era of austerity” is over. Everyone here knows that was a strategic announcement of great seriousness. It means he plans to continue accumulating massive debts and that he will accept no plan that will change our dangerous course.”