CONFERENCE REPORT ON S. CON. RES. 13, CONCURRENT RESOLUTION ON THE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2010 -- (House of Representatives - April 29, 2009)
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Ms. PELOSI. I thank the gentleman for yielding.
It is indeed an honor to call Mr. Spratt ``colleague.'' We say that from time to time about our Members, but never is it truer than in the case of Chairman John Spratt of South Carolina. He is a gentleman who has brought the values of our country, the principles of our great democracy, to bear on writing a budget.
Because of his leadership, today, for the first time in many, many years, we have a President's budget on the floor that is a statement of our national values. What is important to us as a Nation is reflected in this budget. It is a very happy day for our country, Mr. Spratt, because of your leadership.
I thank all of the members of the Budget Committee for their hard work, expressing their views, coming forth with a budget that is a blueprint for the future. I also want to commend our conferees, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Congressman Boyd, for assisting you in the conference process.
Starting at the beginning of this year, this Congress passed a stimulus package to take our country in a new direction. Since that time, we have been on a sprint to create jobs, to lower the deficit, to cut taxes for the American people. This blueprint, this budget, is a bookend to that stimulus package. It is the foundation for how we go forward into the future.
In the first 100 days, it enables us to make the claim with these two pieces of legislation and bills that have come in between, for example, the SCHIP, children's health insurance, 11 million children in America; the public lands bill, the biggest conservation bill in many, many years; and other initiatives contained in our agenda in the past few months, enables us to say that more has been done in this period of time for health care than in decades, since Medicare was passed in this Congress and signed into law. More has been done on education than in generations, since the GI Bill was passed during World War II, and even more than that. And in terms of energy, there is absolutely no contest. It is far out there in terms of breaking ground and reducing our dependence on foreign oil, creating new green jobs for a green future for America's economy, for honoring our moral responsibility to protect God's beautiful creation, and to keeping our environment clean and healthy for our children. These three, education, health care and energy, are what the business community and other sectors of our community tell us are the investments that we must make in order to turn our economy around.
So here we are today with a budget before us that creates jobs, reduces taxes, and takes us over a path of lowering the deficit. It does so in the most transparent way of any budget in our country's history, and certainly in this Congress' history. As it does so, as I say, it focuses on those three pillars of the Obama agenda: education, health care and energy.
In terms of energy, in the first 100 days an article in Fortune magazine of April 29 states that this is ``the greenest budget ever. Obama's $3.55 trillion budget proposal is a one-two punch for cleantech. It boosts funding for renewables while slashing tax breaks for fossil fuels. Obama's wish list,'' now, this is another organization called Climate Progress, ``Climate Progress called the Obama wish list `the first sustainable budget in U.S. history.' It includes $15 billion per year for cleantech over a decade,'' and it goes on.
This is in addition to the initiative that was passed earlier on in the recovery package known as the stimulus package. It is called ``greener stimulus.'' ``Signed in February, the stimulus package is chock-full of cleantech goodies with $43 billion for grants for clean power, extensions of tax credits for solar, wind, geothermal and energy efficiency programs, smart grid funding, weatherization programs and a new tax credit for cleantech hardware manufacturing.''
I mention that because we must see this budget in the context of the issues which we are trying to advance. Of themselves, they are worthy. They have their justification, as I mentioned in the case of energy. But they are also investments that will grow our economy and create jobs.
When it comes to health care, another pillar of the Obama budget, as the President says, health care reform is entitlement reform. As we go forward with universal, quality, accessible health care for all Americans, which this budget will lead us to, we will be reducing the cost of health care for the American people, and in lowering those costs, we will lower the cost to our budget and the cost to the deficit of Medicare and Medicaid.
This is not just about the personal health of the American people. That would be justification enough, the personal well-being of our country. And it is not only about health care, it is about the health of the American people. It is about prevention. It is about diet, not diabetes.
So we are moving in a path that lowers costs, makes America healthier, and in doing so, as I say, not only helps individuals with their health, personal well-being, but we are helping businesses to compete. Health care costs are a competitiveness issue, and if we're going to compete domestically and internationally, we must lower health care costs for businesses. It's about costs to our economy, of all of this money spent on health care and not having the commensurate health of America to go with it. And, again, it's about lowering the cost, reducing entitlement. Health care reform is entitlement reform.
In terms of education, this budget calls for innovative approaches from early childhood to tax credits for costs of college, as well as increasing the funding for Pell Grants and making college more affordable. So, from earliest childhood to higher education, and then beyond, this budget is a path not only for, again, the self-fulfillment of the American people, but the innovation of America. Innovation begins in the classroom.
So all three of these are measures which, again, are justified and necessary in their own right, but will reduce the deficit, will create jobs, and will do so in a new way, taking us in a new direction.
So, having said that, this is a budget about the future. I was very tempted, when I saw the leader with his voting card, to bring a picture of my granddaughter, my new granddaughter, just a little over a month old, to the floor. Oh, we do have it here. I won't resist the temptation, for two reasons. First of all, I can't take my eyes off of her, and second of all, this is what our commitment is about. It's our commitment to the future, to these children.
As we go forward, we must take the country in a new direction, and in doing so, reduce the deficit. We are not here to heap mountains of debt on our children and our grandchildren. That is what was done in the last 8 years in the Bush administration. This budget calls a halt to that and says no. It says no more debt.
We're going in the opposite direction. We're reducing the deficit as we create good-paying jobs in our economy, as we cut taxes for the middle class in our country.
This is a magnificent blueprint for the future. And again, I salute Chairman Spratt for his extraordinary leadership in bringing it to the floor today and urge all of my colleagues to vote ``yes'' for a new direction for our country.
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