Washington, D.C.—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor today about proposed pay-as-you-go legislation. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“Let’s not kid ourselves: we are in this financial situation – and these pay-as-you-go rules are necessary – because we spent the last decade spending money we didn’t have. We spent trillions on two wars, tax breaks for multimillionaires and corporations, and other policies. Those days are over. We simply can no longer afford it.
“The idea behind pay-as-you-go is simple. The rule we’re proposing for the government is the same one Americans use every day in their own lives, the same one we teach our children: In order to spend a dollar, we have to have that dollar in our wallet. This law will enforce that common-sense concept.
“Here’s what it doesn’t do: It doesn’t block emergency spending, it doesn’t keep businesses form creating jobs and it doesn’t prevent Congress from cutting taxes.
“For all the Republican rhetoric on sensible spending, their recent choices call their seriousness into question:
· We drafted a health reform bill that reduces the deficit by $1 trillion over the next 20 years. That’s a fiscally responsible plan – and zero Republicans voted for it.
· Senators Conrad and Gregg proposed a commission with the explicit responsibility of reducing our deficit even further. That’s a fiscally responsible plan – and seven Republicans voted ‘no’ even though they sponsored this very legislation.
“The American people can see right through the doublespeak. And they’re tired of it.
“As the President pointed out last night, pay-as-you-go in the 1990s led to record surpluses. Its absence in the next decade led to record deficits.
“The road back to economic recovery is a long one. If we are to travel it successfully and prudently – if we are to create jobs and govern responsibly – pay-as-you-go must be one of the rules of that road.”