News Releases

Murray: “there is no short-term fiscal crisis, and there is absolutely a short-term need to invest in policies that boost wages and economic security for working families and the middle class”

 

Calls out GOP sequester “gimmicks”

 

“ready to fight back against any Republican plans to reduce the deficit on the backs of the middle class and most vulnerable families or cut the benefits so many seniors across the country have earned and depend on”

 

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Budget Committee, gave an opening statement to her Republican and Democratic colleagues at the Committee markup of the proposed FY 2016 GOP Budget. Senator Murray laid out her deep concerns with the GOP budget priorities and expressed hope that they decide to work with Democrats to build on the bipartisan budget deal, and not wait until another crisis forces them to the table.

 

At the end of 2013, Senator Murray and Representative Paul Ryan worked with their colleagues to pass the Bipartisan Budget Act, which prevented another government shutdown, rolled back sequestration evenly across defense and non-defense discretionary spending for two years, and moved Congress away from the constant crises. The budget caps will be back in place this year unless another bipartisan deal is reached.

 

Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s remarks:

 

“…instead of building on our bipartisan budget deal, this Republican budget would be a huge step backwards, that it would push us toward a government that works for the wealthy and well-connected, but leaves the middle class and working families behind.”

“… very concerned that this Republican budget ignores the progress we’ve made on spending and deficits and maintains the single-minded focus on spending cuts and failed trickle-down economic policies.”

“...frankly, it is absurd to put forward a budget plan that asks middle-class and working families to shoulder deep and painful cuts while giving the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations a pass.”   

“We should also be able to agree that the wealthiest Americans and the biggest corporations don’t need another tax cut, but middle class families do need help with the costs of child care and college, and saving for their retirements.”

 

“I know Republicans control Congress and it’s their job to write and pass their budget—but Chairman Enzi, our door is open—and I urge you to work with us on a bipartisan budget deal as soon as possible—and before we start cruising toward another needless crisis.” 

Senator Murray’s remarks as prepared:

“Thank you Chairman Enzi and Ranking Member Sanders.

 

As a former Chairman of this Committee, I understand the challenges of writing a budget.

 

Budgets are about trade-offs, choices, and priorities. Writing a budget forces us to lay out what we value, set aside what we don’t, put into words and numbers what kind of country we think we are, and what kind of country we think we can be.

 

When Democrats wrote our budget last Congress, we made our values and priorities crystal clear. We put jobs, economic growth, and the middle class first. We replaced the automatic budget cuts evenly across defense and non-defense investments with an equal mix of responsible spending cuts and revenue raised by closing wasteful tax loopholes used by the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations.  We addressed our long-term deficit and debt challenges fairly and responsibly.  And we kept the promises we’ve made to our seniors and families.

 

The Republican House didn’t simply accept our budget, of course.  But I am very proud that coming out of the terrible government shutdown at the end of 2013—we were finally able to break through the gridlock and dysfunction to reach a bipartisan budget deal that put in place a budget for two years, prevented another government shutdown, rolled back the worst of the automatic cuts, put a halt to the constant crises, and laid down a foundation for continued bipartisan work.

 

Now, we just got the Senate Republican Budget this morning, but based on what we are seeing—I am very concerned that instead of building on our bipartisan budget deal, this Republican budget would be a huge step backwards - that it would push us toward a government that works for the wealthy and well-connected—but leaves the middle class and working families behind.

 

For example, we know there is bipartisan support to replace sequestration in a balanced and fair way. Not only did we prove that with our bipartisan budget deal—but Democrats and Republicans across the country have continued to come out against the senseless cuts to defense and non-defense investments.  But it looks like this Republican budget pays lip service to a sequester fix—but without actually putting that in their budget numbers or proposing a responsible replacement.

 

A gimmick like that may allow their deficit hawks to say the budget doesn’t break the sequester caps, while allowing their defense hawks to say it actually does, but budgets aren’t about having your cake and eating it too—they are about making tough choices.

 

Democrats have laid out our specific ideas for how sequestration should be replaced—we made the tough choices—and I hope my Republican colleagues decide to work with us this year to get this done, and not wait until another crisis forces them to the table.

 

I am also very concerned that this Republican budget ignores the progress we’ve made on spending and deficits, and maintains the single-minded focus on spending cuts and failed trickle-down economic policies.

 

Yes, we still have work to do when it comes to our long-term deficits and debt—but compared where we were just four years ago, the outlook has brightened considerably.  Projected federal spending over the next ten years is down by trillions of dollars, and so is the deficit.  So we should all be able to agree—there is no short-term fiscal crisis—and there is absolutely a short-term need to invest in policies that boost wages and economic security for working families and the middle class.

 

We should also be able to agree that the wealthiest Americans and the biggest corporations don’t need another tax cut—but middle class families do need help with the costs of child care and college, and saving for their retirements.

 

Because real, sustainable, economic growth is built from the middle out, not the top down.  And, frankly, it is absurd to put forward a budget plan that asks middle-class and working families to shoulder deep and painful cuts while giving the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations a pass.   

 

Finally, I am very concerned that this Republican budget breaks the promises we’ve made to our seniors and families.

 

I am still reading through the details of this budget, but I know many of us here are ready to fight back against any Republican plans to reduce the deficit on the backs of the middle class and most vulnerable families—or cut the benefits so many seniors across the country have earned and depend on.

 

So I am going to be ready to offer amendments to this budget that will lay out my budget priorities—and what I believe would be best for the Washington state families and communities I represent.

 

I know Republicans control Congress and it’s their job to write and pass their budget, but Chairman Enzi, our door is open—and I urge you to work with us on a bipartisan budget deal as soon as possible—and before we start cruising toward another needless crisis.”