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Mr. HELLER. Mr. President, our Nation is more than $15 trillion in debt. The President's budget will increase government spending by $47 trillion over the next decade. Included is the largest tax increase in American history, while our national debt increases to $25.9 trillion over the next 10 years.
That is right. This budget proposes a massive tax increase, not as a plan to address the national debt but to fuel more reckless big government spending. Our Nation cannot afford to continue down this path. This reckless budget will not only saddle our children and grandchildren with massive government debt, but it proposes to raise taxes on the very businesses we need to create jobs.
How can this President and the majority party claim to be projobs when everything they are doing is antibusiness? This budget threatens our long-term economic security and places a greater burden on our children and grandchildren who will be forced to live and pay for Washington's inability to solve this problem.
While I believe the President's budget spends too much, borrows too much, and taxes too much, in the Senate the majority party has chosen to go to the other extreme. They have now refused to pass a budget for more than 1,000 days. It is our responsibility as legislators to develop a real, workable budget that will put our Nation back on the path of economic prosperity. Unfortunately, the majority simply has not taken this responsibility seriously.
Now, there are some who claim that spending caps established in the Budget Control Act constitute a budget. Quite frankly, I disagree. At a time when millions of Americans are out of work, this behavior in Washington continues to create great uncertainty and stifles economic growth.
No State has felt the failures of Washington more than the State of Nevada. My State continues to lead the Nation in unemployment, with more than 150,000 Nevadans looking for a job. With the so-called stimulus plans, Cash for Clunkers, and bailouts, Washington's response to our economic problems has been woefully inadequate and, in Nevada, a complete failure.
Here is the kind of story I hear all too often from my fellow Nevadans:
You may recall that my wife Pam and I own Straw Hat Pizza here in Carson. Pam has owned and operated the restaurant since May of 1985. Unfortunately, after 25 years of operation, today is our last day of being in business. We are forced to close our doors and likely file for bankruptcy due to the horrible economic situation in our state, and Carson City in particular. It's a true tragedy that a lifelong endeavor ends this way, and Pam feels that she is a failure.
I keep reminding her that the failure was not hers, but rather a failure of liberal elected officials to do what's right for our country and get out of the way, let free enterprise work its magic, and in turn let individuals flourish.
Members of Congress are willfully refusing to put our Nation on a path of long-term fiscal responsibility, creating greater uncertainty, and contributing to an anemic
economy that is forcing small businesses to close their doors. As long as this is the case, Americans will continue to be frustrated and angry with Washington's inability to produce real results.
Our Nation's Capitol remains the only place in the country where difficult decisions are not made. Congress continually kicks the can down the road leaving tough fiscal decisions for future Congresses, future administrations, and worse, the next generation.
In light of these facts, is it any mystery why Congress is currently experiencing its worst approval ratings in history. I introduced the No Budget,
No Pay Act to force Congress to face reality, to take responsibility for running this country. This bipartisan legislation requires that the Senate and House of Representatives pass a budget and all appropriations bills by the beginning of each fiscal year. Failure to do so would result in the loss of pay until Congress takes its job seriously.
If Congress does not complete its constitutional duties, then its Members should not be paid. It is that simple. If we do not do our job, then we should not be paid. This concept resonates with the American people. I know this because I asked Nevadans during a series of telephone townhall meetings last year whether they supported a bill that would hold the pay of Members of Congress if they failed to pass a budget. More than 4,000 Nevadans participated in this poll, and 84 percent of them supported the No Budget, No Pay concept.
The budget is not a trivial piece of legislation or a campaign document. It is a roadmap that identifies goals, priorities, and establishes a multiyear fiscal course for the Nation. If done right it can provide stability and set expectations for where we want to take our Nation.
Budgeting is not a strange concept. It is something that is done at all levels of government, businesses large and small, and at every kitchen table across the country. It is past time for Congress to actually implement policies that would encourage the economic growth we need to ensure that workers can have good jobs and provide for their families.
While the No Budget, No Pay Act will not solve every problem in Washington, I sincerely believe it would be a step in the right direction. These essential functions of Congress are vital to fiscal responsibility and creating greater certainty so our job creators can flourish.
I was pleased to see reports of growth--small growth--in our economy. But lack of clarity provided by Washington continues to hamper economic growth. Back home, Nevadans continue to struggle. Small businesses are trying to survive while gridlock in Washington is making it harder for employers to know what to expect in the coming years. Establishing a responsible budget would be a good first step toward placing our Nation on a path for a more prosperous future.
I yield the floor, and I suggest the absence of a quorum.
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