ON THE PRESIDENT'S BUDGET AND DEBT -- (House of Representatives - February 13, 2007)
Mr. BUTTERFIELD. Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, in just a few minutes, we will begin to debate House Concurrent Resolution 63. The American people are ready for this debate, and finally the time has now come, and we will decide and recommend whether or not the President should escalate our troop strength in Iraq. I look forward to this debate.
But this morning, Mr. Speaker, I want to use my time to talk about the fiscal crisis that we have in America. You know, Mr. Speaker, in my speeches to constituents throughout the First District of North Carolina, I always make a point to talk about the fiscal crisis that we are facing in this country, the fiscal crisis that the Republicans have created over the last 5 years. You know, Mr. Speaker, when I tell them that we have unprecedented deficits that have resulted in $8.6 trillion in debt, and when I tell them that we spend $2 billion a week in Iraq, $8 billion per month, and yes, $100 billion per year, but only spend $90 billion in funding education in this country, they are absolutely shocked.
And now, Mr. Speaker, the President's 2008 budget will raise our debt by more than $1 trillion over the next 5 years. This proposed budget that we received last week from President Bush would make tax cuts for the wealthy permanent while cutting vital programs that are important to middle-class families.
To help pay for the nearly $2 trillion in tax cuts over the next 10 years, the budget substantially cuts Medicare and Medicaid, creating uncertainty for millions of seniors and low-income families who get their health insurance through these programs. The President's budget also shortchanges veterans' programs, cutting veterans' health care by $3.5 billion over 5 years and providing less than veterans service organizations say is needed to meet the growing needs of our veterans, including those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Mr. Speaker, congressional Democrats have repeatedly, repeatedly expressed the desire to work constructively with the administration to restore fiscal responsibility to the Federal budget consistent with our Nation's priorities. However, this budget that we received last week is marked by a disappointing dedication to the failed policies of the past rather than a commitment to a new course. Fortunately for the American people, Democrats will now produce an alternative that will be fiscally responsible and meet the demands of our great Nation.