“The Senate budget… reflects Democratic values. And it honors the belief that success doesn’t trickle down from the top; it grows out from the middle class.”
“The Ryan Republican budget introduced earlier this week reflects an entirely different set of priorities – skewed priorities Americans have rejected time and again.”
Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid spoke on the Senate floor today regarding the Senate budget resolution. Below are his remarks as prepared for delivery:
For four years, the first priority for the country and for Congress has been to improve the nation’s economy and strengthen the middle class. Our efforts have paid off, and pulled us out of the Great Recession. Over the last 36 months, businesses have created 6.4 million new jobs. But the economy isn’t back to full strength, and unemployment is still too high.
So we cannot take chances with our recovery. We must renew investments in the things that make America strong – in innovation and job training, in education and preventive health care, in new roadways, railways and bridges. To meet our country’s long-term economic goals – including reducing the deficit – we must enact policies that support a strong and growing middle class.
That is why this week the Senate will pass a budget – crafted by the senior Senator from Washington, Budget Chairman Patty Murray – that fully replaces the harmful sequester cuts with balanced, responsible deficit reduction. The policies outlined in our budget will save hundreds of thousands of jobs, and safeguard communities by keeping police, air traffic controllers and meat inspectors on the job. First we must avoid self-inflicted wounds. Then we can build on the successes of the last 36 months.
The Senate budget will continue that progress by creating new jobs repairing crumbling roads and bridges, and training workers for high-skill jobs. These investments are fully paid for by eliminating almost $1 trillion worth of loopholes that benefit the wealthiest Americans and the most profitable corporations.
The Senate budget also makes nearly $1 trillion in responsible spending cuts across the federal budget. But meaningful deficit reduction requires shared sacrifice, including contributions from the wealthiest among us.
If you own a profitable corporation that ships jobs to China or India, Democrats in Congress can’t stop you. But we can keep you from getting a tax break for outsourcing. If you’re successful enough to own a second home or a yacht, Democrats in Congress applaud your success. But American taxpayers shouldn’t subsidize that success with a tax break for your vacation home or your boat.
Ending these wasteful giveaways makes sense to most people. An overwhelming majority of Americans, including a majority of Republicans, support our balanced approach.
In the last two years, we have reduced the deficit by $2.4 trillion. The Senate budget continues this effort without jeopardizing our economic recovery or breaking our promises to seniors and veterans. This budget keeps Medicare strong for today’s seniors, and preserves it for our children and grandchildren. It reflects Democratic values. And it honors the belief that success doesn’t trickle down from the top; it grows out from the middle class.
The Ryan Republican budget introduced earlier this week reflects an entirely different set of priorities – skewed priorities Americans have rejected time and again. The Ryan Republican budget would hand out more budget-busting tax breaks for the wealthy. And to pay for these wasteful tax cuts, it would end the Medicare guarantee, rob 50 million Americans of affordable health insurance and raise taxes on middle-class families. To appease the Tea Party, the Ryan Republican budget would risk lives and risk the recovery. And that is just too high a price to pay.