Washington, D.C.—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following remarks on the Senate floor this afternoon about the President’s budget proposal that was released earlier today:
“Nursing our economy back to health is not just about giving it the right short-term treatments. It’s about setting a new, responsible foundation for our future stability.
“It’s about recognizing that what got us into this mess will not get us out of it. And it’s about making sure this kind of crisis can never again threaten American families.
“There are three things above all else that I wanted to see in President Obama’s budget:
The first was a plan to put Americans back to work.
The second was a plan to ease our deep deficit, bring fiscal discipline back to government, and leave our children a stronger economy.
And the third was a plan that would strengthen Nevada’s economy and make Nevadans safer.
“As far as I’m concerned, the President has gone three-for-three.
“Ensuring that every American who wants to work can find a job is the top priority of the American people – and it’s the top priority in President Obama’s budget.
“His proposed tax cuts will encourage small businesses to keep workers on the job, hire new ones and give those employees bigger paychecks. It will encourage entrepreneurs to start new companies and encourage existing owners to grow their businesses – which will in turn grow our economy.
“This budget is also about smart investing. It looks forward to build the industries of the future by creating clean-energy jobs that can never be outsourced, and jobs in infrastructure, science, technology and research.
“And it extends middle-class tax cuts so hardworking families can invest more of their income in the economy rather than sending it back to the government.
“The second thing this budget does is continue Democrats’ efforts to reduce the deficit and restore fiscal responsibility to government.
“This budget comes with a lot of zeroes – its numbers are in the millions, billions and trillions. It’s easy to mischaracterize those numbers and what they mean, but let’s keep some perspective. When you look at this budget as a share of our entire economy, it will cut the deficit by more than half in just two years. It’s not the last thing we’ll do to slash the deficit, but it’s a promising start.
“The President has also endorsed pay-as-you-go rules that the Senate approved last week, as well as a commission dedicated to reducing the deficit, which I support.
“Unfortunately, many of our Republicans colleagues do not. They voted in unison against pay-go – the simple concept that we should only spend what we have. And some Republican Senators who sponsored the legislation creating the deficit-reduction commission turned right around and voted against their own bill when it came before the Senate.
“This budget knows our economy and our future cannot afford these partisan games.
“The recession has hit Nevada harder than most every other state. And Nevadans will benefit more than nearly any other state’s citizens when we implement the job-creating and money-saving ideas in this budget.
“Nevada will also benefit in another very specific way. The President has declared dead the dreadful plan to turn Yucca Mountain – a piece of the magnificent Nevada desert just outside of Las Vegas – into a national dumping ground for dangerous nuclear waste. This budget ends funding for that reckless project and pulls its license application.
“That means families in Nevada and throughout America no longer have to worry about trucks and trains loaded with tons of toxic nuclear waste passing by their children’s schools, their neighborhoods’ parks or their own backyards. It means we will all be safer.
“The President’s plan will walk us further down the path toward economic recovery, but we still have a long way to go. Let’s keep in mind that this budget is merely a blueprint, not a silver bullet. It will guide Congress, not restrict us.
“No matter what the items and numbers are in this document, neither Democrats nor Republicans should ever forget that every single dollar in this budget belongs to the American people. We know we cannot make our economy work again for the middle class unless we invest the taxpayer’s money as responsibly, efficiently and transparently as possible. Senate Democrats are committed, as always, to doing just that.”