Statement of Rep. Anna G. Eshoo on the FY07 Budget Resolution
After four hours of debate, the House of Representatives adjourned on April 6, 2006, without taking action on the Fiscal Year 2007 Budget Resolution. The annual budget resolution sets the broad outlines for the allocation of federal resources for major priorities (education, defense, transportation, etc.). It is followed later in the year by the consideration of the appropriations bills, which set the funding levels for specific programs. Rep. Eshoo was prepared to vote against the Budget Resolution presented by the Majority Leadership and to support the Democratic Substitute proposed by Rep. John Spratt. A copy of her statement from the April 6th debate follows:
Statement of Rep. Anna G. Eshoo
on H. Con. Res. 376, the Fiscal Year 2007 Budget Resolution
April 6, 2006
Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to the Republican Budget Resolution and in favor of the Substitute offered by Representative Spratt.
Despite record-breaking deficits and a skyrocketing national debt, the Budget Resolution before us continues the Majority's 'spend now / pay later' policy which has gotten us into a historic fiscal mess.
Former House Republican Leader Dick Armey accurately described the Republican's fiscal management when he told the Wall Street Journal in 2004, "I'm sitting here, and I'm upset about the deficit, and I'm upset about spending. There's no way I can pin that on Democrats. Republicans own this town now."
I think it's important to note that there's always been a choice. Every year for the last five years, Democrats have offered alternate plans to balance the budget. Every year we've been defeated by the Majority.
Over that time, the Majority's budgets have turned a projected ten-year surplus of $5.6 trillion into a projected ten-year deficit of nearly $4 trillion, posting record annual deficits over that period. The single largest cause of this turnaround has been the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003. The tax cuts, by themselves, represent approximately half of the deficits we've accumulated since 2001.
What we see again in this year's Republican budget is more of the same. Passage of their budget will increase the deficit by $348 billion in Fiscal Year 2007 and by a total of $1.1 trillion over the next five years. Although it never achieves a balanced budget, this Republican plan insists on more tax cuts.
That's not the whole story. This budget masks the true cost of the deficit because it continues to spend every cent of the Social Security Trust Fund. Without dipping into the Trust Fund, the Republicans would post a deficit of more than $600 billion in Fiscal Year 2007.
The costs of the debt and deficit are huge. In Fiscal Year 2007, the United States will spend $243 billion to cover the interest payments on the national credit card. This represents the fastest-growing part of the budget.
The Republican budget also presents the false claim that its spending cuts will reduce the deficit. Over the next five years, the proposal cuts $5 billion from mandatory programs (such as Food Stamps and Unemployment Insurance) and $127 billion in domestic discretionary programs, such as education, veterans benefits, environmental protection, and scientific and health care research, but instead of paying down the debt, these alleged 'savings' will partially pay for $228 billion in tax cuts.
We've seen this bait-and-switch before. Just two short months ago, the President signed into law the so-called Deficit Reduction Act. The $40 billion in cuts in this legislation came from reductions in student aid programs ($12 billion), Medicaid ($7 billion), and Medicare ($6.4 billion). At nearly the same time, the House passed a tax cut bill at a cost of $56 billion. Provisions in this bill will give anyone who earns $1 million or more a year an average tax break of $32,000.
The cuts in services will be painful and unwise. Over the next five years, this budget will cut veterans' healthcare services by $6 billion, education by $45.3 billion, healthcare by $18.1 billion, and environmental protection by $25 billion. Once again, these spending reductions will cover only part of the $228 billion in additional tax cuts, guaranteeing deficits for at least the next decade.
The net result of this budget are more tax cuts for the wealthy, a reduction in social services for working families, and never-ending debt for future generations. This fiscal policy is not only unsustainable, it's immoral.
As in past years, we have a choice. The Substitute offered by Mr. Spratt reduces the deficit year-to-year and reaches a balanced budget by 2012. The Substitute re-establishes pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules so that any new tax cuts and any new spending are paid for by spending cuts or revenue increases.
The Substitute also proposes $160.5 billion more than the House Republican budget for key areas, including education, health, veterans, and environmental protection while maintaining funding for defense and providing more funding for key homeland security priorities, such as port security.
Within the context of a balanced budget, the Substitute provides funding for tax relief for low and middle income taxpayers.
I urge my Colleagues to oppose this budget and instead support the Democratic alternative that will restore fiscal responsibility and honor the best of who we are as Americans.