News Releases

Murray: We Need a Responsible Budget that Puts Families and Small Businesses First

Apr 21 2010

Mentions need to create jobs and support veterans, moral obligation to clean up Hanford, need to reduce spending

(Washington D.C.)Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at the Senate Budget Committee Hearing on the FY 2011 Budget Resolution.

Key excerpts:

“A budget is a statement of priorities, and ours are very clear: We put families and small business owners first, and we begin to get this country back on track by investing in our future.”

“Turning our economy around requires continued investment in health care, education, and infrastructure priorities that we know will make families and small businesses more competitive in the 21st century economy.”

“And we must fulfill the promise to clean up the waste at nuclear sites like Hanford in my home state, where workers and the local community served and sacrificed to help us win WWII and the Cold War.  Cleaning up these sites is a national and moral obligation.”

“I have a nine year old grandson. I don’t want him to inherit crumbling infrastructure or an economy in which he can’t achieve the same dreams as his parents or grandparents – but I also know we can’t pay for our future on the backs of his generation. That’s why I strongly support President Obama’s three year freeze on discretionary spending.  It’s why I have been a long-time advocate for reinstating the Pay-As-You-Go rules that helped our country produce budget surpluses in the nineties.  And we will continue to look to for places to decrease spending while making the right – and smart investments – to continue our recovery.”

“So as we work on this over the coming days, I’m going to fight to ensure that the voices of Washington state families and small business owners are heard loud and clear, that we don’t stop making the responsible investments we need to get our economy back on track and our workers back on the job, and that we continue  moving our country toward a responsible and balanced budget.”

The full text of Senator Murray’s opening statement follows:

“Thank you Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member Gregg.

“Chairman Conrad—I want to start by commending you for your leadership as well as your hard work and dedication to the priorities and concerns of the members of this committee.  

“Putting a budget together is never an easy process, but you make a true effort at investing in the areas we know will make America stronger long-term, while working to put our nation on the path to balanced budgets and deficit reduction. And I am confident we will be able to do that once again this year.

“Because a budget is a statement of priorities, and ours are very clear: We put families and small business owners first, and we begin to get this country back on track by investing in our future.

“To be very clear, we have inherited great challenges.

“Under the Bush Administration, the American people were told we could have it all: two wars paid for off-budget with no sacrifice by anyone other than our servicemembers and their families and unpaid tax cuts for the wealthiest one-percent of Americans.

“Well, some people did have it all – Wall Street CEOs and the big banks, but for average Americans, the consequences of these policies were stark.

“By the time President Obama took office: we were losing 700,000 jobs a month, our economy was shrinking rapidly, and our national debt had ballooned to over $12 trillion.

“Turning that around isn’t going to happen overnight. But thanks to the hard work of this Committee and the work done here in the Senate, we have begun the hard work of turning our economy around and creating jobs for the millions of workers who need them.

“But we still have a lot of work to do. Turning our economy around requires continued investment in health care, education, and infrastructure  priorities that we know will make families and small businesses more competitive in the 21st century economy.

“We need to continue the middle class tax cuts put in place last year as well as targeted job creation programs that put Americans back to work and help our small businesses hire and grow.

“But we won’t be able to maintain our long-term strength unless we make sure America’s workers have the education, skills, and training to fill the in-demand jobs of the future and I support efforts to invest in those training and education efforts in the budget this year.

“We must also continue working to help all students achieve a post-secondary education that will help them move into a career, whether it be through registered apprenticeships, community colleges or four-year institutions.

“And I’m going to continue working to support the retraining of America’s workers for careers in high growth and emerging industries such as health care, renewable energy, and energy efficient construction.

“As a nation, we’ve got to change the way we think about training our workers for careers –and I’m going to fight to make sure this budget reflects that need. 

“And as we invest in our future we can never turn our backs on who have worked to make our country great.   Our budget must fulfill the promise to care for our veterans and their families.  These brave men and women have sacrificed so much for this nation and they deserve the health care, benefits and job skill resources to help them succeed when they return home.

“And we must fulfill the promise to clean up the waste at nuclear sites like Hanford in my home state, where workers and the local community served and sacrificed to help us win WWII and the Cold War.  Cleaning up these sites is a national and moral obligation. 

“And another national and moral obligation is to future generations by balancing our budget, and reducing our debt in smart ways.

“I have a nine year old grandson. I don’t want him to inherit crumbling infrastructure or an economy in which he can’t achieve the same dreams as his parents or grandparents – but I also know we can’t pay for our future on the backs of his generation. 

“That’s why I strongly support President Obama’s three year freeze on discretionary spending.  It’s why I have been a long-time advocate for reinstating the Pay-As-You-Go rules that helped our country produce budget surpluses in the nineties.  And we will continue to look to for places to decrease spending while making the right – and smart investments – to continue our recovery.

“Mr. Chairman, before I finish, I want to briefly mention the new health insurance reform law that so many of us in this room worked so hard to make a reality.

“Because I believe that this effort demonstrated clearly that our country can do big things. We can make real change for real people. And we can do it in a way that is fiscally responsible, and that will actually reduce the deficit by bringing down the cost of care and bringing all Americans into the insurance pool.

“We took a great leap forward this year on health insurance reform. And I am confident we can continue this work for our families and small business owners in this budget.

“So as we work on this over the coming days, I’m going to fight to ensure that the voices of Washington state families and small business owners are heard loud and clear, that we don’t stop making the responsible investments we need to get our economy back on track and our workers back on the job, and that we continue  moving our country toward a responsible and balanced budget.

“Thank you.”