Senate Budget Committee markup Print
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Written by Grassley Press   
Wednesday, 18 April 2012 14:42

Statement of U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley

Senate Budget Committee

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mr. Chairman – I’d like to thank you, Chairman Conrad, for calling for a markup of the Democratic budget for fiscal year 2013.

Setting a budget for the country is one of the most basic responsibilities and fundamental functions of the Congress.  The Budget Act requires Congress to adopt a budget by April 15.  It’s a requirement that this Senate Majority has ignored time and again.

In fact, the Senate hasn’t adopted a budget since April 29, 2009.  Nearly three years have passed since the Senate last adopted a budget.  During that time, more than $4 trillion has been added to our nation’s debt.  We’re in the midst of the fourth consecutive year of spending more than $1 trillion more than we take in.

During this time, the Senate Democrat Majority has failed to propose a budget blueprint that would lay out their priorities for deficit reduction, economic growth or a path to balance.  They’ve said proposing a budget is “foolish.”  It’s no wonder our nation is driving toward a fiscal cliff of deficits and debt.  There is no one in the Democrat leadership willing to take hold of the wheel.

While I’m glad we’re meeting to consider a budget resolution put forward by the Chairman, I’m also puzzled by today’s exercise.  First, the Chairman has said repeatedly that we already have a budget in place for this year and next.  The Chairman and Majority Leader Reid feel that the Budget Control Act was a budget resolution.

Then why are we here?  Why do we need to mark up a budget resolution if the BCA was truly a budget resolution?  The answer is clear.  The Budget Control Act is not a budget.  President Obama clearly agreed when he proposed his budget.  House Republicans and Democrats alike agreed when they voted on seven budget resolutions authored by both Republicans and Democrats.  The Democratic Leadership in the Senate stands alone in their belief that the BCA was a budget resolution.

Is it because they have no ideas on how to balance the budget, contain out of control spending, grow the economy or create jobs?  I don’t know.  I’m also confounded by what I’ve read in the press that this markup will end today with no consideration of amendments and without a vote on the Chairman’s budget resolution.  A “markup” entails debate, amending and actually marking up the resolution.  But today is nothing more than speeches, with a suggestion that maybe we’ll meet again sometime near the end of the year to offer amendments and vote on a resolution.

The Chairman was quoted yesterday as saying, “This is the wrong time to vote in committee; this is the wrong time to vote on the floor.  I don’t think we will be prepared to vote before the election.”  Do we need to add another $1 trillion to the national debt before it’s time to vote on a budget resolution? Or $2 trillion?  If now is not the time to lead, propose bold solutions and take action, when is?

The American people are going to pay a heavy price for the unwillingness and inability of the Senate Democratic leadership to lead and offer solutions.  I understand the predicament the beloved Chairman is in and I’m sorry for the way he’s being treated by his leadership.  He deserves better.  Despite what he knows should be done, and wants to do, his party leadership won’t let him act.

Once again, the Senate Democratic leadership and President Obama are content with being absent from the discussion.  There are no solutions.  There is no leadership.  There is only failure and punting until after the next election.

We have a moral obligation to offer serious solutions for today and for future generations.  This exercise would be humorous if the consequences of inaction weren’t so serious.  I yield.


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