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Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, the budget document is a very important document.
It speaks to the priorities of our Nation, and it gives instructions to our committees to report out legislation consistent with that of the budget resolution. It gives instructions to the Appropriations Committee to pass appropriations bills and to other committees as it may affect revenues or mandatory spending.
We have that budget document for the fiscal year that begins October 1 of this year. That was included in the Budget Control Act which passed this body by 74 votes. It has the force and effect of law.
So our appropriations committees know the numbers for the appropriations bills for the year that begins October 1, and the other committees know what the requirements will be. The question is whether we should have a longer term commitment on dealing with our budget problems.
We do need a bipartisan, credible program that involves not only the Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, but also the Democrats and Republicans in the House, and the President of the United States. We need to avoid sequestration, and we need the predictability for our economy and for those who act upon our actions to know what the rules will be. We need to have a responsible plan to deal with the long-term deficit that is balanced and fair, that involves more revenue and spending cuts, that allows our recovery to continue, and is bipartisan.
I compliment Senator Conrad for his leadership in giving us an opportunity to move in that direction. I think Senator Conrad showed tremendous leadership on behalf of the Democratic members of the Budget Committee to forgo bringing forward a partisan budget and instead said: Let's take a look at a long-term budget that can get bipartisan support, that has been tested, that has been out there, and that is called Bowles-Simpson.
We are talking about the broad outline. A budget document gives broad instructions to the committee. It is the so-called macro numbers. I think the chairman has provided us the leadership on that issue. But do not get confused, we have a budget for the fiscal year that begins October 1. We have it earlier than we have ever had it, and it has the force and effect of law.
Each of the four Republican plans that we will be voting on moves us in the wrong direction to accomplishing those goals. They use almost all of the spending cuts that are included in these budgets for additional tax cuts. It benefits primarily those who do not need an additional tax cut. The House Republican budget would provide $1 trillion in tax cuts for the wealthiest among us, giving millionaires an average tax cut of $150,000. At the same time, that budget would ask our college students to pay more by allowing interest rates on their loans to increase, and they would ask our seniors to pay more by paying more for their Medicare benefits.
They have it backward. Those who have sacrificed the most during these economic times under Republican budgets would be asked to pay more. Those who have benefited the most during that period of time would get additional tax cuts. That is not what we should be doing. It would hurt our economic recovery.
It is irresponsible to make the types of cuts that are in the Republican budget that deal with American innovation. Take a look what it would do for basic research in this country, which I hope we all agree is necessary for America to continue to lead the world in innovation. In my own State of Maryland I look at the jobs we created in the biotech field, through cybersecurity. Basic research is critically important to advance those job opportunities and economic opportunities for America. It would reduce our commitments to building our infrastructure--our transit systems, our roads, our energy grids. If we are going to be competitive, we need to rebuild America to meet the global challenges.
It would reduce our commitments in education. An educated workforce is America's future. Investing in our children is what we should be doing. The quality of K 12 would suffer, even pre-K--what they do with Head Start--and I already mentioned the cost of student loans in postsecondary education would go up. For our seniors, they would be thrown into a voucher program in Medicare at the mercy of private insurance companies and asked to pay more when they are already overburdened by the costs of their health care.
Under the Toomey budget, they would block-grant Medicaid, throwing that burden onto our States. Our children and families would suffer.
Under the Paul budget, Social Security benefits would be reduced on average by 39 percent. Social Security is a vital lifeline for the people of this country. Turning it into a program that becomes a political football is not what we need for this country. For our students, the cost of a college education would be increased.
We need to put forward a credible plan to reduce the deficit. We need to do this--and we have done it before. When Bill Clinton was President of the United States and I was serving in the House of Representatives, we passed a plan that balanced our Federal budget and actually created a surplus. How did we do it? We did it through a balanced approach. We did it through cutting spending and raising the revenues so we paid our bills. What were the results? Our economy took off, creating millions of jobs. That is what we need to do again.
How do we get this done? Let's get working together. Let's have Democrats and Republicans work together in order to come up with a balanced approach that has spending cuts and those who can afford to pay more should be paying more because it is not fair to future generations for us to spend money today and ask our children and grandchildren to pay for it tomorrow.
Let us protect the programs that are important for economic growth, for the dignity of our seniors, and for the welfare of our children. It starts with rejecting the extreme partisan budgets that our Republican colleagues are offering on the floor. I urge my colleagues to reject those budget resolutions.
I yield the floor.
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