House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) made the following statement today at a press conference with members of the Blue Dog Coalition highlighting the Republicans' budget plans:
"Ladies and gentlemen, for nearly five years, the Republican Party in Washington has pursued the most irresponsible - and dangerous - fiscal policies in the history of our nation.
"The federal budget deficit has exploded, totaling $319 billion in Fiscal 2005 (which ended on September 30), $412 billion the year before, and $378 billion the year before that.
"And the true magnitude of the disturbing Republican deficits is masked by the fact that Washington Republicans are spending every last dime of the Social Security surplus to artificially reduce them.
"At nearly $8 trillion, our national debt is spiraling out of control, threatening our economic well-being and immorally forcing our children and our grandchildren to pay our bills.
"And Washington Republicans have increased federal spending by one-third since 2001, from $1.86 trillion to $2.47 trillion.
"It's no wonder that our Republican colleague, Jeff Flake of Arizona, was prompted to write in The Wall Street Journal a few weeks ago (and I quote):
'Whether we want to admit it or not, the Republican Congress's failure to discipline itself is sending us all down a flower-strewn path to financial insolvency.'
"Now, faced with the dire consequences of their own disastrous policies, the so-called 'fiscal conservatives' say they have a so-called 'plan' to get America on the right fiscal track.
"They told us that they would vote today to increase the $35 billion in cuts to mandatory spending programs in the budget resolution to $50 billion.
"And they apparently intend to impose a 2 percent across-the-board cut to all discretionary spending, including national defense and homeland security.
"But the Republican Party's phony rendezvous with fiscal reality is unraveling.
"For, despite all the tough talk from the other side of the aisle, they can't muster the votes within their own Conference for their so-called plan.
"Republicans are riven with internal division because their irresponsible proposal would increase the deficit.
"This so-called 'plan' is nothing more than a cynical public relations gimmick that flunks a simple test of arithmetic and insults the intelligence of the American people.
"Let's be clear: House Republicans say they want to cut $50 billion from mandatory spending.
"But they also say that they want to cut taxes by another $106 billion - $70 billion of which would be facilitated by fast-track reconciliation procedures.
"The American people know a flim-flam when they see one. And, it is obvious that the Republican Party has no intention of abandoning the reckless policies that are driving our nation into the fiscal ditch.
"As The Washington Post pointed out this morning: '[The Republicans'] post-Katrina budget plan would add to the deficit, not reduce it.'
"We are here today to urge our Republican friends: Stop your posturing. Face fiscal reality. And join Democrats in adopting a bipartisan plan to get this nation back on the right track.
"The very first thing that we must do is reinstate the pay-as-you-go budget rules that were supported by Democrats and Republicans throughout the 1990s, and that led to four consecutive budget surpluses and fostered the strongest economy since World War II."