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Mr. BOOZMAN. Mr. President, there has been a lot of talk about the dangers of raising taxes during a recession. President Obama famously said in 2009: ``You don't raise taxes in a recession.'' Our economy is certainly worse now than it was then. But that did not stop the Senate majority from pushing through a tax increase on our small business owners yesterday.
We need to get our fiscal house in order, and that starts with budgeting in a responsible manner. Washington's primary problem is not a revenue problem. Washington's primary problem is a spending problem, and the Senate majority's actions have exacerbated that problem.
The Senate has failed to pass a budget for the past 3 years. Meanwhile, our country is facing record deficits and an ever-increasing debt. This is the fifth straight year that Washington's excessive spending has led to a trillion-dollar deficit. It now sits at a jaw-dropping $15.9 trillion. The Senate majority's only answer to this crisis is to raise taxes on our job creators during a time while our country has an unemployment rate of over 8 percent.
Along with failing to produce a budget, the Senate majority leader is now backtracking on a pledge to enact every individual appropriations bill this year. Needless to say, I am disappointed. In fact, I think it is safe to say our entire caucus is disappointed.
It was not too long ago that I was down here on the
floor praising the majority leader in his efforts and those who would have us go forward and enact our individual appropriations bills. We believed we had a good-faith agreement to move these bills, to make the effort to function the way this body was established to work, to do our job and pass all of the appropriations bills so that the government operates on a budget the way every Arkansan does.
Now the majority is telling us this is not going to happen. Determining how we spend hard-earned taxpayer dollars is a basic responsibility of Congress. We know tough choices have to be made in these appropriations bills, but moving forward is the right direction. The trend of continuing resolutions and giant omnibus appropriations bills has to stop.
Enacting all appropriations bills in regular order would be an important step to reducing government spending. It would help balance our budget while investing in programs Americans have come to rely on.
Moving forward on these bills would return the Senate to its proper function and provide a framework of spending so the American people can see and understand where their hard-earned money is going. Most importantly, it would help us back away from the fiscal cliff we are hanging on to.
Here is the reality: We borrow around 40 cents of every $1 we spend. We are running record-breaking deficits every year. The average American family does not have the luxury to live by this sort of budgeting. If you tried to run your household, your business this way, the bank would cut you off. It is time we apply that lesson to Washington.
We are at a crossroads in our country. If we continue down the path we are going, we risk going in the direction of Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and now Spain--each facing economic crises that have pushed them to the brink of default.
If Congress continues the reckless spending, rather than crafting an immediate solution to this crisis, our actions will inevitably lead to an economic collapse. We cannot keep kicking the can down the road, which is exactly what we are doing by passing continuing resolutions and omnibuses after continuing resolutions and omnibuses. It goes on and on.
Each one of us in this Chamber owes it to the American people to work together to help our country today and build a path of success for the future. Our Founding Fathers laid the foundation that allows the Senate to function effectively and efficiently, but it does require us working together.
The American people are tired of the finger pointing that has stalled much of the work they have sent us here to do. That starts with trying to enact all of the appropriations bills through a regular process each year. I sincerely hope the Senate majority leader reconsiders the decision to cancel consideration of the appropriations bills, again, so we can get back to a normal budgeting process, get back to a normal method, an efficient method, a very transparent method, so the American people can see where their taxpayer dollars are going.
With that, I yield the floor.
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