Yesterday, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) told his Senate colleagues that Congress must abandon ideological fights and move toward a balanced approach to cutting deficits, creating jobs, and investing in economic growth if it hopes to overcome the huge economic challenges facing the nation.
In a Senate floor speech Thursday, Sen. Franken said that in the past 30 years, Congress has only succeeded in cutting deficits and balancing the budget when it has combined spending cuts and revenue increases with the key investments in education, infrastructure and innovation that are necessary to build long-term economic growth.
Sen. Franken said government does have a role to play in getting the country's economy back on track, pointing out that the tax cuts and investments that were part of the 2009 Recovery Act not only saved and created jobs, but also staved off a deeper recession. Sen. Franken also said that revenue increases, along with painful, but necessary spending cuts must be enacted and he proposed cutting unnecessary military spending, ending taxpayer subsidies for big oil companies that are experiencing record profits, and allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices on prescription drugs for seniors.
"Our economy is still not yet fully recovered from a devastating recession, and the prospects for our middle class remain uncertain. Meanwhile, our budget remains sorely out of balance, and our long-term debt crisis is putting our nation's fiscal future at risk," said Sen. Franken in his speech. "We're not going to get anywhere if we can't agree that, yes, the government does have a role to play in helping the private sector create jobs. And, no, you can't cut the deficit by cutting taxes. And, yes, we are going to have to both raise revenue and reduce spending if we want a balanced budget. And, no, asking the wealthy to pay a little more won't drive us back into a recession."
In August, Sen. Franken spoke to the Rochester Chamber of Commerce on the importance of education in creating a strong workforce. In July, Sen. Franken voted for two pieces of legislation that would end tax cuts for companies that ship jobs overseas and would extend the tax cut on Americans first $250,000 of income.
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