Senate Democrats

Reid: Vote Against Confirming OMB Director Sends Signal Of Opposition To Bush’s Flawed Fiscal Policy

Washington, DC—Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today regarding his intent to vote “no” on confirming Congressman Jim Nussle as Director of the Office of Management and Budget:

“This President has presided over a period of historic fiscal irresponsibility that has seen this nation’s debt grow by more than $3 trillion, much of which is owed to foreign creditors.  He has turned record surpluses into record deficits by giving hundreds of billions of tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans while borrowing nearly $500 billion to finance the Iraq civil war. 

“Now, after years of rubberstamping Republican appropriations bills that exceeded his own requests by billions, the President is choosing to pick a purely political fight over less than one percent of the budget.  Voting against confirming Congressman Jim Nussle as OMB Director will send a clear signal of my opposition to this reckless fiscal policy.”


The Republican Record on the Budget

With Jim Nussle up for confirmation as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, it is a good time to look back at the Republican record of fiscal irresponsibility.  On their watch, spending increased 50 percent, record surpluses became record deficits and our national debt increased by more than $3 trillion. On their watch, earmarks exploded and more and more of our federal tax dollars were spent on no-bid and limited-bid contracts to favored government contractors like Halliburton. And while Republicans in Congress repeatedly missed deadlines and passed appropriations bills that exceeded the President’s request, the President did not once use his veto pen. The Republicans’ historic record of fiscal irresponsibility leaves them with little credibility on budget matters.


President Bush and Chairman Nussle Increased Federal Spending by 50 Percent.  Federal outlays in Fiscal Year 2001 totaled $1.86 trillion.  The Administration now estimates that outlays in Fiscal Year 2007 will total $2.78 trillion.  This amounts to an increase of more than 49 percent. [Mid-Session Review, Office of Management and Budget, July 2007]

On President Bush’s Watch, Record Surpluses Turned into Record Deficits. President Bush inherited a unified budget surplus of $236 billion, the largest surplus in American history. The Bush Administration took these surpluses, and turned them into the three largest deficits in US history, including reaching a record of $413 billion in 2004. [President Bush’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2002, A Blueprint for New Beginnings, 2/28/01; Office of Management and Budget] 

President Bush and Chairman Nussle Increased Debt by More Than $3 Trillion. Under President Bush and Chairman Nussle, our national debt has risen by $3 trillion to $8.9 trillion, or about $30,000 for every man, woman and child in America. [US Department of the Treasury] 

  • President Bush and Chairman Nussle Doubled Foreign-Held Debt. President Bush and Chairman Nussle have doubled our foreign debt to more than $2 trillion. It took 42 presidents 224 years to build up the same level of foreign debt. [Senate Budget Committee] 

Under Chairman Nussle, Republican Congress Failed to Adopt a Budget.  Last year, as in 2004, the Republican Congress failed to approve a budget resolution.  [CQ Budget Tracker]

CBO Found Cost of Bush Tax Cuts Exceeds Budget Deficits. According to a letter from the CBO to the House Budget Chairman, the cost of the Bush tax cuts exceed projected deficits. “On that basis, CBO estimates that the revenue loss in JCT’s projections would lead to additional debt-service costs of $46 billion in 2007, for a total budgetary cost of $211 billion. On the same basis, the agency estimates the total budgetary costs, including interest, for 2008 through 2011 to be $233 billion, $245 billion, $269 billion, and $215 billion, respectively.” CBO expected budget deficits of between $150 billion and $200 billion in 2007 and $113 billion, $134 billion, $157 billion, and $35 billion for 2008 through 2011 respectively. [CBO, Letter to Chairman Spratt, 7/20/07]


President Bush Never Vetoed a Spending Bill from the Republican Congress. “Before Democrats took control of Congress from Republicans in January, Bush never vetoed any of these regular spending bills, even though they created record deficits and ran up the federal debt by about $3 trillion.” [Associated Press, 7/26/07]

President Bush Signed Legislation that Exceeded His Request. In each of the past five years, President Bush has signed appropriations levels that exceeded his request for total discretionary spending. [Congressional Research Service]

On President Bush’s Watch, Government Spending on No-Bid and Limited-Bid Contracts Has Soared. Between 2000 and 2006, spending on no-bid contracts increased 121% to $103 billion. In the same period, spending on no-bid and limited-bid contracts more than tripled to $206.9 billion. In 2006, more than 50% of federal procurement spending went to limited or no-bid contracts. [U.S. Senate Budget Committee]

  • Halliburton’s Government Contracts Grew 700 Percent During Bush Administration. In 2000, Halliburton received $763 million in government contracts. By 2006, Halliburton received $6 billion, a 700 percent increase in just six years. [Senate Budget Committee]  

Under President Bush and the Republican Congress, Earmarks Have Proliferated. According to the Congressional Research Service, there were more than 4,000 earmarks worth $24 billion in fiscal year 1994 appropriations. There were more than 6,000 earmarks worth almost $33 billion for fiscal year 2000. But by fiscal year 2005, earmarks had exploded, numbering nearly 16,000 with a value of more than $48 billion. [Congressional Research Service, 1/26/06]