The Democratic budget, released yesterday by Senate Budget Committee chair Patty Murray, passed out of committee this evening on a party line vote, 12-10. In response, the top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, Jeff Sessions, released this blistering statement:
“Today was an important and clarifying day for Senators, the press, and the public. This is the kind of meeting we should have been having all along—public, open process. We’d be in a much better position today if we hadn’t waited four years to do this work. Consensus is not reached through backroom deals but through the long, messy, and sometimes contentious process of public legislative work.
“One of the many clarifying moments today was on the issue of balancing the budget. Republicans offered amendments to require a balanced budget in 10 years, while the majority unanimously opposed this goal.
“I remain deeply disappointed that the majority’s proposal not only fails to change our debt course, but actually increases spending over the next 10 years—including $162 billion of increased spending next year alone. Overall, it produces $7.3 trillion in new debt by 2023. These figures represent a colossal failure to meet the challenge of our time. The budget continues the nation’s high gross debt-to-GDP ratio that is destroying jobs and wages today. Four major academic studies have shown that gross debt in excess of 90 percent of GDP results in weaker economic growth, and this budget locks our nation in above those dangerous levels.
“Testimony from Committee staff clearly established that compared to current law, their alleged deficit reduction is nowhere close to $1.85 trillion, and by their own admission, is actually only about $700 billion. Removing gimmicks like the war savings accounting trick, the true deficit reduction is only around $300 billion—drastically less than the majority advertises to the nation. That is why, despite a $1.5 trillion tax increase, their budget still make no alteration to our unsustainable debt path.
“I remain astonished that, after four years, the majority would identify no savings, no reforms, and make no attempt to make government leaner, more efficient, or more productive. Just tax-and-spend.
“What is particularly troubling is that the majority shields from accountability government programs that are failing those who need our help the most. There is nothing compassionate about shielding from reform a stale federal bureaucracy that is trapping millions of people in poverty and denying them the opportunity they need and deserve. The Murray budget enriches the bureaucracy at the expense of the people.
“As the budget moves to the floor, Republicans will continue to outline an optimistic vision and to offer amendments to grow the economy—not the government.”