This week Senate Democrats announced they will draft a budget for the first time in nearly four years. In the weekly Republican address, U.S. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, says the budget debate is the perfect time to address Washington's spending addiction. Getting spending under control, he argues, is the best way to jump-start the economy and create jobs and opportunities for American families and workers. The weekly Republican address is available in both audio and video format and is embargoed until 6:00 a.m. ET, Saturday, January 26, 2013.
A full transcript of the address follows:
"Hi, I'm Senator John Thune from the great state of South Dakota.
"With the recently passed fiscal cliff legislation, Congress enacted tax relief for 99 percent of Americans.
"Now that the tax part of the fiscal cliff issue has been dealt with, it's time to address the real cause of Washington's fiscal mess--out-of-control spending.
"Washington is addicted to spending your money.
"Over the past four years, our country has added nearly $6 trillion to the national debt. At $16.4 trillion, our nation's total debt is now larger than our entire economy.
"This means that every man, woman, and child owes a $53,000 share of this debt. That level of spending is unsustainable. We cannot afford to keep adding over a trillion dollars to the debt every year, as we have for the past four years.
"A major credit rating agency has already downgraded our nation's credit once, and, if we don't start making some real progress on spending reforms, more downgrades are likely in the near future.
"What does that mean, practically speaking?
"Well if you or I as citizens had a bad credit rating, banks would charge a higher interest rate when we approached them to borrow money.
"It works the same way with nations. If the United States' credit rating is further downgraded, our country will pay higher interest rates. This will mean trillions of borrowing in order for America to pay its bills.
"Needless to say, we can't go on like this forever. Eventually, we are simply going to run out of money. And no tax increase, no matter how high, will be enough to save us.
"The only way--the only way--to dig ourselves out of this hole and put our country on a sound financial footing is to get spending under control.
"Reducing our spending and debt will jump-start our economy and create jobs and opportunities for American families and workers.
"And the way to start is by passing a budget.
"I think most American families would agree that having a budget is essential to keeping their spending under control.
"And if a budget is essential when you're running a family, it's even more essential when you're running an entity the size of the federal government.
"Congress' first priority every year should be coming up with a spending plan. In fact, the law requires Congress to do just that.
"Yet, it's been almost four years since the Democrat-led Senate passed a formal budget.
"The last time Senate Democrats passed a budget, the iPad didn't even exist!
"The lack of a clear spending blueprint has enabled billions of dollars in wasteful spending and massive growth in the size of government.
"Rather than continue spending hard-earned taxpayer dollars on government projects, Washington should approve private-sector economic projects like the Keystone XL pipeline--which the President is blocking. This project alone would create 20,000 jobs and strengthen America's energy independence.
"As every family knows, budgeting is about priorities, and it can require tough decisions. There's rarely enough money to pay for everything, so you have to decide where your priorities lie, and allocate money accordingly.
"Congress should be no different.
"One thing that must be part of the budget debate this year is a plan to reform our entitlement programs to save and protect Social Security and Medicare for current retirees, as well as for future generations of Americans.
"These programs are in trouble, and they're on an unsustainable path.
"Social Security began running a deficit in 2010, and without meaningful reform, Medicare will be bankrupt by 2024.
"Despite this dire situation, Democrats have resisted any discussion of reform.
"But the only way to save our entitlement programs is to reform them. It's as simple as that.
"The good news is that it's not too late. If we act now, we can put our nation back on a sound financial footing and preserve the promise of economic prosperity for future generations.
"If instead we choose to wait, if instead we choose to put off these tough decisions for another day, then we choose to leave the next generation with a far worse economy than we received from our parents and grandparents. We cannot let that happen.
"We can fix this problem. And I believe that if we work together, we will fix it. I hope Democrats will join us in passing a budget and putting our nation back on the path to prosperity.
"Thank you for listening. May God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America."