Washington, DC— Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks today on President Obama’s budget. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
“When President Obama released his budget yesterday, he made one thing very clear: strengthening our economy will require shared sacrifice.
“Few documents are more intricate and complex than our national budget. But beyond the numbers, what I found deep in this budget is an affirmation of our principles. Among those values is our commitment to recognize and adapt to reality – investing in what works and changing what doesn’t.
“I appreciate the President’s call for shared sacrifice, for living within our means and for hard work on our part. And more than that, I appreciate his willingness to walk the walk. He didn’t just talk about tough choices; he made them. I don’t agree with all of those choices. But I cannot deny that by making the difficult decisions, he showed leadership.
“I also found in the President’s budget the recognition that we’re not in a competition to determine who can cut the most, without regard for the consequences. Rather, we need to cooperate to discover where we can cut the smartest.
“This budget proposes a long-term plan to responsibly cut the deficit in half in President Obama’s first term. It doesn’t do that by blindly chopping zeroes off bottom lines. It eliminates waste and makes serious, significant cuts, as it should. But it also invests in the things that grow our economy – things like education, innovation and infrastructure.
“And it doesn’t buy into the partisan talking point that there’s no difference between spending and investing. In other words, it recognizes that you can lower the deficit not just by subtraction, but also by addition – by promoting growth. When we invest in education, we create a smarter and stronger workforce. When we invest in innovation, we create jobs before the rest of the world beats us to it. When we invest in our infrastructure – from the interstates to the Internet – we lay the foundation for prosperity.
“I am disappointed that Congressional Republicans seem to have learned nothing from recent history. They are again trying to slash the programs that keep us safe and eliminate the programs that keep us competitive. They’re still fighting for billions in special breaks for the oil and gas companies, the insurance industry and billionaires.
“We’ve already tried it that way. It doesn’t work. That’s why we’re in the mess we’re in. But the Republican reaction to the President’s budget has been an attempt to go back in time. If they really want to time travel in search of fiscal responsibility, they shouldn’t stop at President Bush’s administration. They should keep going to his predecessor’s, when we balanced the budget with President Clinton. In fact, we ran a record surplus.
“But we live in the present, and we budget for the future. We have spending challenges before us. We can’t afford to forget that those challenges won’t be solved by extreme rhetoric or unrealistic idealism. They will be solved only when reasonable partners are willing to come to the table with responsible proposals that find a critically important balance – one that brings down our deficit while keeping our economy moving in the right direction.
“When we find that middle ground, we will leave the next generation with an economy they can count on, with the confidence we seek in our future, and with the knowledge that when difficult decisions need to be made, Americans don’t shirk that responsibility. We presented with a tough choice, we make it.”