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Statement By Senator Jim Bunning On The Markup Of The FY11 Budget Resolution


Location: Washington, DC

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

As almost all Americans know by now, the United States is facing an unprecedented level of debt. The outlook for our debt in the President's budget is catastrophic and our children and grandchildren are going to be left with the tab. Last year I pointed out that the President's budget would double the debt in five years and triple it in ten. His latest proposal keeps us on that track. This year his budget drives spending to $3.8 trillion in FY11, and pushes the deficit to a new record of $1.5 trillion in FY10.

Both the Congressional Budget Office and Chairman of the Federal Reserve have said that the debt of the United States is unsustainable. Chairman Bernanke and I don't agree often but this is one statement he has made that I could not agree with more. Under the President's budget, the debt held by the public would grow from $7.5 trillion (53 percent of the GDP) to $20.3 trillion (90 percent of the GDP) at the end of 2020. As a result, interest costs on borrowing would more than quadruple by the end of the decade, reaching at least $840 billion in 2020. Even this estimate is optimistic, because it assumes that these spending levels will not cause us to lose our current AAA bond rating. These numbers are more than just frightening.

The health care legislation that was just passed by Congress and signed into law is full of budget gimmicks and tax increases that are only going to add to the mountains of debt that our country is already facing. When fully implemented, this legislation will cost $2.6 trillion dollars. To help pay for this bill, Congress borrowed over $500 billion from the Medicare program. Medicare is going to be insolvent in 2017 and taking over half a trillion dollars to help pay for this massive expansion of government is unacceptable. It further jeopardizes the solvency of the program and the futures of our children and grandchildren who will be stuck footing this bill.

Just a few months ago, the Senate passed PAYGO legislation that supposedly says Congress has to pay for what we spend just like everyone else. I support the concept of paying for what we spend, but I knew it was going to be ignored. And it has been. In just three bills since PAYGO has gone into effect, the Majority have added almost $80 billion to the debt. Congress is considering other deficit increasing legislation that could make this amount go up even more. So much for pay-as-you-go. The Majority would rather waive-as-you-go and kick the can down the road to future generations of workers and taxpayers.

I applaud the President's proposal of putting a freeze on discretionary spending for three years. However, freezing spending after the binge that Congress went on last year, which included such irresponsible measures such as the $862 billion stimulus bill, means we are "freezing" spending at levels that are already historically high. We should not view this move as anything more than a start. Freezing discretionary spending for a few years will do nothing to address the looming entitlement crisis we are facing. According to the Social Security and Medicare Board of Trustees most recent report last year, Social Security is projected to being facing deficits in 2016, and as I said earlier, Medicare will become insolvent in 2017. However, as if this were not bad enough, in March CBO released their own estimate indicating that Social Security will begin operating with cash flow deficits this very year. A three-year freeze of discretionary spending will do nothing to fix these problems. It is an important gesture, but we have to do more. We all know the longer we wait to address these problems, the harder it will be to fix.

Every American family knows that we cannot solve our debt crisis by spending more. And that is exactly what the President's budget does. It spends more, taxes more, and borrows more. Enough is enough. It is time to cut up our national credit card and get serious about paying down our debt.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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