Washington, D.C. – Nevada Senator Harry Reid made the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the deficit. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
Republicans in Congress claim they’re the only thing standing against a wave of deficit spending.
But where were those Republicans when President Bush pushed for trillions in unpaid-for tax cuts for the rich? Many of them were right here in Congress, that’s where.
So, instead of pointing the finger at Democrats, Republicans should examine their own track record of extravagant spending: a prescription drug plan, two wars and tax breaks for the rich all paid for with borrowed money.
Bush’s tax cuts were the single largest contributor to ballooning budget deficits during his administration.
And no one benefited more from those tax breaks than millionaires and billionaires.
Tax breaks for the richest Americans piled nearly a trillion on our debt over the last decade.
Yesterday the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released a report showing those tax cuts will continue to push deficits to unsafe levels.
Extending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans – people making more than $1 million – would add another trillion dollars to the deficit in the next 10 years.
We can no longer afford to bankrupt our nation to give more tax breaks to people who don’t need them.
Republicans are right about one thing: we do have a deficit problem in this country. And there are two ways to ease the crisis.
We could cut more jobs for teachers, firefighters and police. We could cut Social Security and Medicare benefits for seniors after a lifetime of hard work. We could put off repairing our crumbling roads and bridges. And we could continue to let our schools fall into disrepair and our students fall behind.
Or we could end wasteful, unnecessary tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires.
This is the choice we face. But it shouldn’t be difficult a choice.
This country has limited resources, and we must use those resources wisely.
Investing in the middle class is a wise use of resources.
When you put money back in the pockets of middle class families, they spend it.
They spend it on groceries and gas. They spend it repairing the family car. They spend it fixing the roof.
That spending boosts business, spurs hiring and helps the economy. Rigging the tax system to favor the richest of the rich doesn’t.
Rigging the system doesn’t create jobs. It doesn’t spur growth. And it’s just not a wise use of resources.