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SENATE BUDGET: Murray Speaks on Senate Floor in Support of Pro-Growth Budget Plan

Mar 13 2013

Calls for support for balanced approach to deficit reduction included in Budget.



Murray: Our budget is built on three principles: Number one, we need to protect our fragile economic recovery, create jobs, and invest in long-term growth.  Number two, we need to tackle our deficit and debt fairly and responsibly. And number three, we need to keep the promises we’ve made as a nation to our seniors, our families, and our communities.

Watch video of the speech.

(Washington, D.C.) – This afternoon, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, laid out the values and priorities included in the 2014 Senate Democratic Budget resolution in a speech on the Senate floor immediately after it was released. In the speech, Murray discussed the balanced approach to deficit reduction included in the Senate Democratic Budget that is favored by a majority of Americans. Murray pointed out that the Senate Budget takes critical steps to ensure that we don’t undercut our economic recovery or job creation efforts, while also responsibly reducing the deficit. Additionally, Murray highlighted that the Senate Budget fully replaces the indiscriminate and painful sequestration cuts with a balanced mix of smart cuts and revenue from the wealthiest Americans.

Read the full Senate Budget.

Key Excerpts from Murray’s Floor Speech:

“The Senate Budget reflects the pro-growth, pro-middle class agenda that the American people went to the polls and supported in November.

“Our budget is built on three principles: Number one, we need to protect our fragile economic recovery, create jobs, and invest in long-term growth.  Number two, we need to tackle our deficit and debt fairly and responsibly. And number three, we need to keep the promises we’ve made as a nation to our seniors, our families, and our communities.

“The Senate Budget takes us the rest of the way to the $4 trillion goal and beyond. It builds on the $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction already done with an additional $1.85 trillion in new deficit reduction for a total of $4.25 trillion in deficit reduction since the Simpson-Bowles report.

“The Senate Budget is a balanced and responsible approach to taking us down that second path.  And I am hopeful that the House of Representatives will join us at the bargaining table, so that we can end the gridlock, and we can work together toward the responsible and bipartisan budget deal the American people expect and deserve.  

Full text of Senator Murray’s Speech Follows:

“Thank you, Mr. President. Here in Washington, D.C., the budget debate is often discussed in terms of abstract numbers and political winners and losers. But the truth is that budgets are about far more than that.

“They are about our values and our priorities. And they are about the people across the country whose lives are impacted by the decisions we make.

“Today the Senate Budget committee discussed one approach to tackling our budget challenges, an approach that, while getting our debt and deficits under control, will also create jobs and now and build a foundation for prosperity from the middle out.

“Tomorrow, we will continue this discussion and vote on a plan. Then we will move this debate here to the Senate floor, and then hopefully work toward a balanced and bipartisan agreement with the House of Representatives while the American people have a chance to weigh in.

“Mr. President, I believe that our budget must meet not just one, but many pressing challenges of our time.

“We’ve come a long way since early 2009, when President Obama entered office facing massive deficits and an economy shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs per month.

We have made progress towards getting our debt and deficits under control, and we have added back jobs.

“But the recovery isn’t as strong or as fast as it needs to be. Millions of workers continue struggling to get back on to work, and we still have some very serious challenges when it comes to our medium and long-term deficit and debt challenges.

 “In the coming weeks and months, we will be asked to make tough choices as we work to tackle these challenges responsibly. This process is not going to be easy.

“There is a serious difference of opinion about what our government should be doing to keep our economy and our national finances moving in the right direction.

“One approach is to follow a path back to the economic policies of the last administration. This is the path to more tax cuts for the rich, but less opportunity for the middle class to get ahead.

“It is a path not to prosperity, which can only truly be built from the middle out—but to: the deterioration of our national infrastructure, the decline of our schools, and the dismantling of the Medicare promise we’ve made to our seniors.

“This approach was on the ballot last November, and voters across the country rejected it. Instead, they want an approach that puts the middle class first.

“That returns our nation to the fiscal and economic policies that have worked for this country before by focusing on jobs and the economy, cutting spending responsibly, and calling on the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share.

“The Senate Budget reflects the pro-growth, pro-middle class agenda that the American people went to the polls and supported in November.

“Our budget is built on three principles: Number one, we need to protect our fragile economic recovery, create jobs, and invest in long-term growth.  Number two, we need to tackle our deficit and debt fairly and responsibly. And number three, we need to keep the promises we’ve made as a nation to our seniors, our families, and our communities.

“We believe that with an unemployment rate that remains stubbornly high, and a middle class that has seen their wages stagnate for far too long, we simply cannot afford any threats to our fragile recovery.

“That’s why this budget uses equal amounts of responsible spending cuts and new revenue from the wealthiest Americans to fully replace the cuts from sequestration, cuts that threaten hundreds of thousands of jobs this year, cuts that endanger economic growth for years to come. And cuts that are being felt in states like mine where military families are losing services, local housing officials are being forced to cut housing vouchers for the homeless, and furloughs are being handed out to those who are cleaning up nuclear waste that threatens our environment.

“Mr. President, our budget invests in infrastructure and job training to get Americans back to work now, and prioritizes education, as well as research and development, so that our workforce, of today and tomorrow, has the skills to compete in the 21st century global economy.

“This budget puts jobs and the economy first and foremost but it also builds on the work we’ve done over the last two years to tackle our deficit and debt responsibly.

“Since 2010, Congress and the administration have worked together to reduce the deficit by $2.4 trillion, with $1.8 trillion coming from spending cuts, and $600 billion from allowing tax rates to rise on the wealthiest Americans in the year-end deal.

“The Senate Budget takes us the rest of the way to the $4 trillion goal and beyond. It builds on the $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction already done with an additional $1.85 trillion in new deficit reduction for a total of $4.25 trillion in deficit reduction since the Simpson-Bowles report.

“It reduces the deficit to below three percent of GDP by 2015 and keeps it well below that level for the rest of the ten-year window in a responsible way, and it pushes our debt as a percentage of the economy down and moving in the right direction.

“Our budget tackles the deficit the way the American people have consistently said they want it done, with an equal mix of responsible spending cuts made across the federal budget, and new revenue raised by closing loopholes and cutting wasteful breaks that primarily benefit the rich.

“This budget cuts spending responsibly by $975 billion, finding savings across the budget including health and defense and it matches these responsible spending cuts with $975 billion in new revenue, which is raised by closing loopholes and cutting unfair spending in the tax code for those who need it the least, while locking in tax cuts for the middle class and low-income working families, and protecting them from paying a penny more.

“Since we have so far been unable to get a deal because Republicans reject using new revenue from the wealthiest to reduce the deficit, I want to emphasize that there is bipartisan support for deficit reduction through making the tax code more fair and efficient. During the recent fiscal cliff negotiations, Speaker Boehner proposed that we reduce the deficit by $800 billion by closing what he called “special-interest loopholes and deductions.” 

“And this budget would take him up one that.

“In addition to investing in jobs and economic growth and tackling our deficit and debt responsibly, this budget also keeps the promises we’ve made to our seniors, our families, our veterans, and our communities.

“And we strongly reject calls to dismantle Medicare by voucherizing it, because this critical program that seniors and families support, paid into, and depend on should be protected.

“This budget takes a responsible, fair approach. It’s the one endorsed by bipartisan groups and experts, and it’s the one supported by the vast majority of the American people.

“Now, the House of Representatives is also working on their budget resolution today, and I know there are going to be serious differences between the visions, values, and priorities within the budgets that will emerge from each chamber.

“But the American people are going to have an opportunity to examine these budgets side by side.  They are going to be able to decide which approach is best for our economy, best for jobs, and best for the middle class.

“They will let us know whether they want to go back down the path of the trickle-down policies that decimated the middle class and threw our economy into a tailspin.

“Or if they would prefer the approach we’ve seen work before to tackle our deficit responsibly, reinvest in the middle class, build a strong foundation for growth, and restore the promise of American opportunity.

“The Senate Budget is a balanced and responsible approach to taking us down that second path.  And I am hopeful that the House of Representatives will join us at the bargaining table, so that we can end the gridlock, and we can work together toward the responsible and bipartisan budget deal the American people expect and deserve. 

“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”