Pelosi: Republican Budget a Betrayal of Our National Security'
Washington, D.C. - House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined House Democratic Chairman James Clyburn and Vice Chairman John Larson at a press stakeout this morning after the Democratic Caucus meeting to discuss the Republican budget and its failures to provide Real Security. Below are her remarks:
"Thank you very much Mr. Chairman. As you mentioned, in our meeting today we talked about two subjects: the budget that we will be taking up this week and national security.
"This budget is a betrayal of our national security. It certainly betrays our veterans.
"The Republican budget on veterans cuts their health benefits by nearly $7 billion. TRICARE fees - our veterans' health care program, will be tripled. If you wanted to look at one place in the budget and subject it to the question, Does this make our country stronger?' You need look no further than what it does to veterans' benefits. It also cuts our first responder initiatives that are critical in keeping our country safe.
"But what I want to get to is the nexus between the two: the budget deficit. Our national debt, under President Bush and this Republican Rubber Stamp Congress has risen to $9 trillion. The debt ceiling is $9 trillion. Coming out of the Clinton Administration, we were on a trajectory of surplus that would have made us a debt-free nation by 2008. A couple weeks ago, Congress raised the debt ceiling to $9 trillion - a swing of more than $10 trillion, in just a few years in the Bush Administration.
"I mention this in relation to national security because this national debt and this growing federal deficit is a national security issue. Countries that own our debt, will soon not only be making our toys, our clothes, our computers, they will be making our foreign policy.
"This is wrong. This is a weakening of our national security, by driving us so deeply in debt and why? The biggest part of the debt and the deficit are the tax cuts for the wealthiest people in our country.
"Our Chairman referenced President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and what he said about how a country should be judged. The newspapers said this morning that these tax cuts are good for the rich, they increase the deficit, they undermine our obligation to our veterans, and they undermine our national security.
"Democrats are going to fight hard against this Republican budget. We believe that our national budget should be a statement of our values, that our strength as a country should be measured not only in terms of our military might and homeland security, but also in the health, education, and well-being of the American people."