March 12, 2008
Appropriations Ranking Member Jerry Lewis Criticizes Democrat’s “Bloated” Budget Resolution
Washington, D.C. – Rep. Jerry Lewis, the senior Republican on the House Appropriations Committee, today offered the following statement on the floor of the U.S. House in opposition to the Democrat’s FY 2009 budget resolution:
“Mr. Speaker, our friends on the other side of the aisle are fond of saying that a budget is a moral document—it shows what we care about. I couldn’t agree more.
The majority’s bloated budget blueprint is a clear demonstration to families across America that the Democrat majority in Congress is intently focused on dipping its fingers into their pockets to take more and more of their hard-earned money.
It shows that the Democrat majority will raise taxes—without hesitation—to support its addiction to spending. And, it shows that Democrats in Congress are not interested in making difficult choices, setting priorities, or rooting out waste in government spending.
What we are considering today is the Democrat majority’s “More, More, More Budget Resolution”—more spending, more budget gimmicks, more taxes.
For the first time in history, the discretionary budget that is being proposed by this majority will exceed one trillion dollars!
As my colleagues well remember, we held the line on spending last year thanks solely to the President and Republicans in Congress. In spite of the desire of our Democrat colleagues to spend far more, this Congress passed appropriations bills that totaled roughly $933 billion in discretionary funding.
The President’s budget requested a $59 billion, or 6.3 percent, increase in discretionary spending over the present fiscal year. Most people would think that a $59 billion increase in spending would be enough. But not this majority. They are proposing a whopping $82 billion, or nine percent, increase over current year levels.
In addition to the tens of billions of additional taxpayer funds they’re proposing to spend next year, this majority intends to play budget games and increase advance appropriations by another $2 billion above what was provided this year.
The notion of advance appropriations is arcane budget talk so I’ll try to break it down into real English. The majority is committing an additional $2 billion in funding for next year. Remember, we don’t pay for it this year, we pay for it next year.
My colleague from New York, Mr. Walsh, correctly pointed out during consideration of the fiscal year 2008 Labor/HHS bill that advance funding is a dangerous proposition because if Congress does not keep providing at least the same level of advance funding year after year, drastic cuts will be needed to live within the allocations each appropriations subcommittee receives.
I want to address another troubling aspect of this budget proposal. We have heard—and will continue to hear—our friends on the other side of the aisle talk about how this budget cuts taxes. Nothing could be further from the truth. By failing to make permanent the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, this budget actually increases the tax burden on American citizens by $683 billion over the next five years.
That’s a pretty big number, but let me break this number down in a manner that makes sense to the average family sitting around their kitchen table. Under this budget, the average American family of four that earns $50,000 per year will send an additional $2,100 to Washington in 2011.
We hear our Democratic colleagues pay a great deal of lip service to the poor, but here’s what failing to extend these tax cuts does to low-income Americans: 6 million low-income Americans will no longer qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit; low-income families with one or two children will no longer be eligible for the refundable child tax credit; roughly 12 million single women with children will see their taxes increase by $1,100 per year; and about 18 million seniors living on fixed incomes will be subjected to tax increases of more than $2,100 per year.
As disconcerting as the rampant spending is, let’s not lose sight of the fact that this budget ignores the 800-pound gorilla sitting in the corner of the room—entitlement spending. Presently, mandatory spending and interest on the national debt consumes nearly two-thirds of the federal budget and it is rising at an alarming, unsustainable pace.
In 1990, we spent the equivalent of $893 billion of today’s dollars on entitlement programs—mostly Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Today we are poised to spend $1.6 trillion on those same entitlements. For those who like talk in percentages, that represents a 74 percent increase in inflation adjusted dollars. We ignore this sleeping giant at our own peril.
So my friends, let’s ask ourselves this question: who will pay for this budget? The simple answer is our children and our grandchildren.
They will pay for it in the form of higher taxes because this budget refuses to make permanent the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 that spurred roughly six years of economic growth. They will pay for it in the form of reduced future prosperity because government will continue to spend and spend and spend. They will pay for it because their government would consume more and more of what they earn rather than allowing them to invest, create jobs, and improve their quality of life.
In short, Mr. Speaker, this “big government, Washington-knows-best” budget suggests that politicians and bureaucrats in Washington are better stewards of the public’s money than the very families who send it here.
My advice to the American taxpayer is this: Hold onto your wallet because the big spenders in Congress are coming to take more of what you earn.
Mr. Speaker, I strongly urge my colleagues to reject the majority’s bloated budget resolution. It’s time to put Uncle Sam on a diet.”