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Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2007

Location: Washington, DC



Mr. KIND. Mr. Chairman, I want to thank my good friend and colleague Mr. Spratt for giving me this time, but also for the leadership he has shown on the Budget Committee of which I am a member and for helping us present an alternative, an alternative for a different direction for our Nation, but also, I think, passes the tests of fairness and decency and reflects the values and the priorities that we have as Americans coming together.

Mr. Chairman, people are entitled to their own opinions, they are entitled to their own ideology, they are entitled to their own spin, but they are not entitled to their own facts. As President Reagan was fond of saying, facts can be a stubborn thing.

The fact of the matter is they have presided over the largest and quickest expansion of our national debt in our Nation's history. Their budget moves forward without pay-as-you-go rules in place, something that we have embraced with our own budget, which led to 4 years of budget surpluses in the 1990s, which actually helped us start paying down the national debt, rather than increasing our dependence on China to be financing these deficits of today.

People are wondering, well, what is the big deal about borrow and spend, borrow and spend, a philosophy they seem to have embraced. The problem is that the borrow-and-spend philosophy asks those who can contribute the least to sacrifice the most, and nothing is more apparent than the difference in our philosophy in regards to our support for the investment in the future of our country, in education, and what they are doing to education programs under their budget resolution.

Their budget calls for another $4.6 billion of education funding cuts from current funding levels. This follows on the heels of a $12 billion raid on student aid in the budget reconciliation that they passed earlier this year.

Their budget resolution, which tracks the President's number, calls for the elimination of 42 education programs such as Safe and Drug Free Schools, Education Technology, Even Start Family Literacy program.

Their budget calls for underfunding No Child Left Behind by an additional $15 billion, leaving that unfunded Federal mandate for States and local school districts to wrestle with, which increases the property tax burden in States like Wisconsin, we are finding.

Their budget also reduces funding for special education from 17.7 percent cost share at the Federal level down to 17 percent cost share, even though we have had a bipartisan attempt in this Congress to reach a 40 percent Federal cost share in special education. Again, another unfunded Federal mandate falling on the laps of local school districts.

Our substitute saves these programs. In fact, it also calls for the reduction of the student interest rate burden that our students are facing when they go on to postsecondary education, making it easier to afford higher education.

Our budget is fully paid for with pay-as-you-go rules. It recognizes the key investment that we have to make in the future of our country, to make sure that higher education is not just a dream for some, but an opportunity for all, because right now under current education policy, close to one-half of low-income students in this country who are qualified and want to go on to school don't because they cannot afford it. That is a recipe for economic disaster.

Our budget addresses that, and I encourage our colleagues to support the Democratic substitute.


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