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Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. McCONNELL. Mr. President, yesterday I was proud to congratulate Coach Pitino and the Louisville men's basketball team for an impressive national championship win. Today I would like to recognize Coach Walz and the Lady Cardinals for playing their hearts out last night. You know, these women were the lowest seeded team to make it all the way to the title game in decades--and that is really quite an achievement.

So my sincere congratulations to you, Lady Cards. Keep up the hustle for next year's tournament. And to the Connecticut Huskies, congratulations on your hard-fought victory last night. You earned it.


Mr. President, later today we will receive the President's budget. Like nearly every one of his budgets so far, it is late--really late. In the extra 2 months he has kept the country on hold, both the House and the Senate have actually already passed their own budgets. So it is hard to see what the White House plans to accomplish. I want to believe the intention is not to purposely blow up the budget process so the President can campaign against the very budget process he blew up, but from the reports we are seeing, it is getting harder and harder not to draw that conclusion. After all, the document headed our way does not appear designed to bridge the differences between the House- and Senate-passed budgets. That is the role Americans would expect the President to play at this stage. But his budget simply does not represent some grand pivot from left to center; it is really just a pivot from left to left.

I mean, if these reports we are seeing are correct, it is mostly the same old thing that we have seen year after year after year, and that is really too bad because it is not as if we do not know the kinds of things that need to be done to get our budget back to balance and Americans back to work. We need to provide families and businesses a fairer and flatter Tax Code so they can save for the future and create jobs. We do not need a budget that piles on tax increase after tax increase. We need to get government out of the way so the private sector can actually grow again. We do not need a budget that spends more money we do not have. We need a balanced budget that encourages growth and job creation. We do not need an extreme, unbalanced budget that will not balance in your lifetime or mine.

The White House initially made some fantastic claims about the amount of deficit reduction supposedly contained in its budget. But when you cut through the spin and get to the facts, it looks as though there is less than $600 billion worth of reduction in there--and that is over a decade--all of it coming, not surprisingly, from tax increases. In other words, it is not a serious plan--for the most part, just another leftwing wish list. Let me clarify: a wish list, actually, with an asterisk.

The President seems prepared to finally concede this time that at least something needs to be done to save entitlements from their inevitable slide toward bankruptcy. I am glad to see him begin to come to grips with the math. It is well past time for reform, and it is something the President ought to want to do because he presumably cares about saving entitlement programs, not just because he wants yet another excuse to raise taxes.

As we start to think about reforming entitlement programs, we should think about reform this way: Will the changes we make help modernize entitlements over the long term in order to eventually meet the needs of a rapidly aging population in a realistic way or will they just kick the can down the road without actually solving the problem? Remember, kicking the can down the road is how we got to this point in the first place. So we need to have the courage to finally make the tough decisions Americans sent us here to make.

If the President and his allies care about Social Security and Medicare--and I take them at their word that they do--then they need to prove that commitment by proposing ambitious, forward-leaning structural reforms to save them. This budget is their chance to do that, and I hope they will. But if they choose to continue using these programs as campaign weapons instead, then the math points to a clear outcome: The entitlement programs so many Americans rely upon will go bankrupt, and today's Washington Democrats will have to live with that legacy. We cannot get to that point. But Republicans only control a tiny sliver of the Federal Government, so there really is not much we can do until the President and his allies get serious about reform. It is way past time they did.

We do not need another reheated budget. We have had enough of those in the past few years. We need a serious reform-oriented budget. Sadly, I do not believe we will see that one today.

Mr. President, I yield the floor.


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