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Public Statements

Congressional Budget for the U.S. Government for Fiscal Year 2004

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, I rise to discuss an amendment offered by my good friend from Louisiana, Senator BREAUX. The amendment, which was No. 339 and has been described as the moderates tax amendment, would have reduced the size of the tax cut in the budget resolution from more than $700 billion to $350 billion. I would like the record to reflect exactly why it is that I voted for this amendment.

I voted for the amendment offered by Senator Breaux because it presented our best chance to cut the size of the irresponsible tax cut in this budget. Let me be clear, Mr. President, I do not support a $350 billion tax cut as part of this budget. Had the Breaux amendment passed, I would have sought further reductions in the tax cut.

Today, America is at war in Iraq. We have troops in Afghanistan and the Philippines. We are fighting to keep our homeland safe from terrorism. We have pressing needs in health care, education, and other areas. The Nation is running deficits. State and local governments are in fiscal crisis. The economy is slumping. For these reasons, a $350 billion tax cut, just like a $700 billion tax cut, is wrong. Both proposals will dump debt on our children. And the President's plan is not only too big, but it unfairly favors the wealthiest among us over working families.

I have filed at the desk an amendment to this budget that I believe charts the right course. Consumer confidence is at its lowest level in 10 years. Some 300,000 Americans lost their jobs in February. State and local governments are in trouble. Families and businesses are hurting. We are running huge deficits, and we are at war.

Our economy needs help. Working families need help. But we shouldn't be burdening future generations with more debt. My amendment provides for a $150 billion tax cut for all Americans this year and next and it is paid for in the outyears. It will stimulate our economy without sticking our kids with the bill.

Without taking a dime out of Social Security or Medicare, we can give every American worker a one-time payroll tax holiday of more than $750 that is far more than President Bush's tax plan. We could pass a temporary job creation tax credit and help small businesses, all without adding to the "debt tax" on future generations.

It we pass the budget now before us—if we pass the President's plan—we will be spending our kids' money—and that is wrong. We need a tax cut that goes to working people who will spend the money—and we need a tax cut that is paid for. Let's do what is right and pass a real stimulus package, and let us do what average Americans do:
Let's pay for it.

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