Sessions Speaks In Support Of Latest Spending Reduction, Stresses Need For Further Action

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, spoke on the Senate floor today in support of a continuing resolution to fund the government over the next three weeks while reducing spending by $6 billion. The measure, which passed by a vote of 87–13, follows a resolution early this month to reduce spending by $4 billion over two weeks. Congress must still agree on a continuing resolution for the remainder of the fiscal year.

            An excerpt of Sessions’ remarks from the rush transcript follows:

“We'll be soon voting on a continuing resolution to continue funding of the United States government for three weeks. I believe that will reduce spending over that three-week period by $2 billion a week, which is far less than the debt we're incurring each one of those weeks, but it is a significant progress.

Added to the $4 billion we did in a previous week's CR, I think it keeps us on track to achieve a $61 billion reduction in federal spending this fiscal year, which ends September 30…

We need to do something now. When Majority Leader Reid proposed not $61 billion, but that we reduce spending only $4 billion throughout the rest of this fiscal year, I said then and believe now, that is a product of being in the Washington bubble. We're bubblized people. We're in denial about the reality of the crisis that we face…

People say, ‘well, this CR before us is only discretionary spending. It's only a small part of the overall budget. You shouldn't even attempt to fool with it. You're just wasting your time.’ No, no, no…

The House of Representatives have passed a proposal, a continuing resolution that would reduce spending through the rest of the fiscal year a total of $61 billion. We should meet that. We should accept that. That's not too much. It's probably not enough, but it is enough to count.

For example, it's a $61 billion reduction in baseline U.S. spending… We've calculated the numbers. Over ten years that $61 billion plus the interest you don't have to pay will save the United States Treasury $860 billion, close to $1 trillion. That's a real good step. That does make a difference, and people who deny it makes a difference are wrong…

So the time to stand and be counted is now. This $61 billion reduction in spending through the last six and a half or so months of this fiscal year is a statement.

It's actual. It's real. It will reduce the total indebtedness by $862 billion over ten years. We could do more, but Congress being what it is, it's slowly coming around to the challenge, we're not probably ready to do more.

We need to do $61 billion. We do not need a compromise halfway, some $30 billion reduction in spending. I do believe that would show weakness on our part, a lack of resolve which would not be a good signal for our fragile economy today. So, we need to meet the test, to face the defining challenge of our time… It's our time to fulfill our duty, the duty to our nation and to the American people to preserve our American heritage.

We are standing at a time in this country where we have to make a choice. Let's make this choice. Let's do this three-week extension, take it down $6 billion more over that three weeks. And then let's come back and just do $61 and celebrate the first real step in a decade to contain growth and spending.

And let’s promise that this is the beginning, that we're going to review all of our financial situation in this country, and we're going to do it in an honest, above-board way; fact-based, not politics, not smoke and mirrors or fantasy budgets. But real numbers facing real threats. If we do that, I think the American people will be supportive. They were supportive in the election. I believe they'll be supportive again.”