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Public Statements

Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2009

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. PELOSI. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding.

May I begin by thanking the gentleman from South Carolina, Mr. Spratt, the chairman of the Budget Committee, for his masterly work in bringing this budget before us. It is fiscally sound. It is a responsible blueprint to build our economy, moving us forward and strengthening our national security. The Democratic budget, which is the budget for our country, puts the future first. It is about future generations, and it moves us to surplus by 2012.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the fiscal soundness of this budget.

While being fiscally sound, the budget is also a plan again to get our country moving. It is a budget for the future by putting family budgets first, helping make affordable everything from energy to groceries to college education, helping families avoid foreclosures, and lowering, lowering, taxes. It provides for us to have middle-income tax cuts. This is about America's families and their economic security.

It invests in the future by investing in renewable energy to make America more energy independent and secure and to create green jobs. It is a blueprint for a green revolution in our country.

It creates a new generation of innovators by investing in math, science, engineering and technology, to keep good-paying jobs here in America. In total, we provide $7.1 billion more than last year for education and job training.

It rebuilds America's crumbling infrastructure, which again is an engine of job creation, and makes health care more affordable for families and veterans. VA health care will receive a $3.6 billion increase to care for the men and women who have defended America.

I read this list of provisions in the bill to show that this budget is really a statement of our values. It shows to the American people that we indeed care about them and the budget that we write is relevant to their lives. These are priorities that leading economic experts have said will put our Nation on solid economic footing.

Our budget is also a plan for a stronger America that begins to restore military readiness and better protect Americans against terrorism. Many of you know that the distinguished chairman of the Budget Committee is also the second-highest ranking Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, so he brings to this budget process a full knowledge of our national security needs, a full commitment to our military and their families, and dedication to our veterans which has been unsurpassed.

In this bill in terms of national security, ours is a plan to make Americans safer and stands in stark contrast to the President's priorities in Iraq. That misguided war has badly strained our military, distracted us from the fight against terrorism, and damaged our reputation in the world. In fact, the funds committed to that war, some say $3 trillion, huge amounts of money, not only are an opportunity cost for investments here at home in our own education and reconstruction and military readiness, but the deep debt that we are incurring because of the war in Iraq is damaging to our economy. We cannot continue to borrow to pay for the war in Iraq and not see it have an impact on our economy, and that is in addition to the rising cost of oil prices that are related to the war in Iraq as well.

We begin in our national security to reestablish America's strength by rebuilding our military, investing in equipment and training that our military requires, and making caring for our troops, veterans, and military families a top priority.

Our plan stands in stark contrast to the President's priorities and the Republican budget, which would undermine health care for seniors and working families by cutting Medicare and Medicaid over half a trillion dollars over the next 10 years and charge veterans and military retirees more than $18 billion in new fees over 5 years. Our budget does not do that. The Republican budget puts the burden of additional fees on our veterans.

The Republican budget eliminates essential funding for State and local law enforcement and cuts EPA grants that would help protect our planet and our health.

On inauguration day 2009, President Bush will move out of the White House. But, unfortunately, his fiscal legacy will remain unless we can reverse that.

The Bush administration turned a projected $5.6 trillion surplus, I heard our distinguished majority leader talking about this earlier, into a $3.2 trillion deficit. That is historic, that is a historic fiscal turnaround of epic proportions, nearly a $10 trillion swing in fiscal soundness. The President leaves a record of breathtaking fiscal recklessness.

Budgets are more than just accounting documents. Budgets, our Federal budget, I believe, should be a statement of our national values. What we believe in our Nation should be reflected in the allocation of our resources, in our budget.

With this budget, the New Direction Congress and under the leadership of Chairman Spratt is saying that we value families and their economic future, we will fight to insure their hard work is rewarded, and that the American Dream is renewed.

With this statement of our values, we are saying that we do value our valiant men and women in uniform. We will insist that they receive the tools and training they need to perform their mission, and that when they return home, they will come to high quality health care.

And we were saying in this statement that we value our children. We will invest in their education, their health care, and their future, and do this without leaving them a legacy of debt.

My colleagues, we must make clear that the American values are the values of this House. We should have a statement of the values of the American people in the budget that we put forth, and we do today, to invest in our children's health and education and strengthening families, to provide for the national security of our country by rebuilding our military and respecting our responsibility to our veterans, by investing in the future and innovation and new energy technologies and the education that goes with it. We must make clear that this is a budget plan for a stronger America, for stronger families, for a stronger economy, and a stronger military.

I urge my colleagues to support with great pride the budget put forth by Mr. Spratt in the Budget Committee this evening.

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