The Budget

Floor Speech

By:  Mitch McConnell
Date: March 8, 2011
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. McCONNELL. Madam President, first let me commend my friend and colleague from Louisiana on his observations about the need to increase domestic production. I think he certainly agrees with me we will be talking about this a lot more in the coming months as the price of gas at the pump continues to rise, and I thank him for his insight.

Sometime this week, Senators will have an opportunity to take a position on government spending on two bills the majority leader has predicted will fail. One is a serious effort to rein in wasteful Washington spending that has gotten completely and totally out of control. The other, by our Democratic friends, is a proposal so unserious that even its supporters have been forced to exaggerate its impacts--something they have been called out on by the press repeatedly. That proposal comes on the heels of an equally unserious proposal by the White House last week to cut $6 billion from Federal spending for the entire year at a time when Washington is averaging about $4 billion in deficit spending every day. Let me say that again. We are running a $4 billion deficit every single day this year. Apparently Democratic leaders in Congress thought even that was too much to cut, because the bill they are proposing this week shaves it down to only about $4.7 billion. So you had the administration last week saying they would go along with $6.5 billion, and the proposal the Democrats in the Senate are going to lay before the Senate this week only reduces spending $4.7 billion. That is about what we are engaged in spending, deficit spending, every single day. We are averaging about $4 billion a day in debt this year and Democrats want to cut $4.7 billion and call it a day. That is their idea of getting serious.

Washington will add more to the debt this week than they want to cut for the entire year, and that is the farthest their leaders say they are willing to go. Anything more, they say, is Draconian. I will tell you what is Draconian. Draconian is what will happen if Democrats don't get real about our Nation's fiscal crisis.

Yesterday, the independent Congressional Budget Office issued a report that gave us a pretty good sense of the recklessness of Washington spending these days. Last month alone, the Federal Government spent $223 billion more than it had--last month alone--the highest monthly deficit ever and the 29th straight month Washington has been in the red.

Here is the Democrats' proposal: Let's cut $4.7 billion and call it a day; $4.7 billion, even less than the President called for last week. Even that was ridiculed because of the preposterous claim that it met us halfway. It is time our friends on the other side stop trying to see what they can get away with and actually summon the courage to get our fiscal house in order, because here is the hard truth: Even the biggest cuts under discussion this week are puny compared to the fiscal problems we face in the area of entitlements. It is a pitched battle around here over $4.7 billion when we have a $14 trillion debt and more than $50 trillion in entitlement promises that Washington cannot keep.

If Democrats cannot bring themselves to cut $4.6 billion, how are we going to get a handle on the big stuff? This is just a dress rehearsal. Democrats are going to have to do a lot better than this if we stand a chance of getting our Nation's fiscal house in order.

Frankly, it is embarrassing. The American people deserve better. It is time for Democrats in Washington to face facts and, as I said yesterday, it is time for the President to get off the sidelines and lead because, with each passing day, it becomes clear that Democrats in Congress cannot bring themselves on their own to get serious about the problems we face. They don't even want to admit these problems exist.

I yield the floor.


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