Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement after last night's Senate adoption of the organizing resolution for the 113th Congress that officially named her chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.
"At a time when our nation faces serious economic and fiscal challenges, I believe the Budget Committee can be a place where we come together to tackle them in a balanced way that works for middle class families. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to write a budget resolution that does exactly that.
"Budgets are too often discussed in terms of abstract numbers and political winners and losers, but they are really reflections of our values, our priorities, and our vision for what our government should look like now and in the future.
"I was proud to work with President Clinton and my colleagues in Congress to balance the budget in the 90's, put us on the path to erasing our debt, and help lay the foundation for an economy that added millions of jobs and grew at record rates. I was dismayed when that was reversed in the next Administration, but I am confident we can do it again.
"As Chairman of the Budget Committee, I am going to be very focused on making sure that our government is supporting job creation and encouraging broad-based economic growth. Trickle-down economics has proven to be a failed theory and a wrong-headed ideology, and I feel very strongly that real prosperity and growth comes from the middle out, not the top down.
"So the Budget Committee will be examining our nation's spending priorities closely and working to make sure we are making the long-term investments in our people and our communities that will allow us to compete and win in the 21st century economy. And as someone whose own family benefited from a government that was there for us when we needed it most, I am also going to fight to make sure the most vulnerable families have the support they need to put food on their table and keep their heads above the water while they work to get back on their feet.
"This Committee is also going to focus on tackling our debt and deficit in a balanced and responsible way. That means eliminating or improving programs that aren't working and cutting spending, including defense spending, responsibly. It means strengthening--not privatizing or dismantling-- Medicare, Social Security, and other programs our seniors and families count on so they will be there for our children and grandchildren. And it means making sure we are raising the revenue we need in a way that works for the middle class and calls on those who can afford it most to pay their fair share.
"With baby boomers retiring, health care costs continuing to rise, defense spending near record highs and revenue levels near their lowest point in more than sixty years, it's clear that the fiscal path we are on now is not sustainable.
"But we owe it to the American people to be honest about these challenges, not try to score political points or push an ideological agenda by using careless and overheated rhetoric or fear-mongering.
"I plan to bring the voices of the American people into a budget process and conversation that is too often limited to bureaucrats and politicians. I am going to be asking people across the country to share their stories and ideas both online and in person. I am going to urge them to organize, advocate, and lobby for their budget values and priorities. And I am going to work every day to make sure their voices are heard loud and clear in our hearings, on the Senate floor, and throughout this process.
"As I have throughout my career, I am going to fight for the people in Washington state who sent me here. And as I hand over the chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee, I am confident that I can serve veterans even more effectively by continuing my work on that committee as well as making sure the programs and services veterans deserve are prioritized in the budget process.
"I plan to maintain a robust and productive hearing schedule and I am looking forward to working closely with and engaging other members of this committee, including the Ranking Member Senator Jeff Sessions.
"Although the budget battles of the last few years have been bitter, I have been on this committee when Democrats and Republicans worked together in the Senate and the House to pass a bipartisan budget resolution, and I hope that those days of compromise and bipartisan solutions can return. I also hope that as we work together on a budget resolution and a return to the regular budget process, the constant lurching from crisis to crisis and attempts to negotiate budget policy through brinksmanship can finally come to an end.
"I want to thank former Chairman Senator Kent Conrad, for his years of service to his country and to this committee, as well as the Budget Committee staff who have moved on along with their boss. I was proud to serve under Kent's leadership on this committee for so many years, and I am looking forward to using this position to continue the fight for a sound fiscal future and middle class budget priorities."