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Public Statements

Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, in about an hour the President of the United States will release his budget--65 days after the statutory deadline of February 4, the first Monday in February.

Since taking office, President Obama has raised taxes roughly $1.7 trillion--a number that I know none of us can actually comprehend. But now he wants to raise taxes once again.

I heard the majority leader on the floor this morning advocating for another tax increase. The President's proposed budget will ask for another $800 billion, and that is on top of $600 billion that was the subject of the fiscal cliff negotiations at the end of last year.

The President's budget, which will be released in an hour but which we have heard a lot about already, will never, ever actually balance. Every household in America, 49 States, every municipality, county government, everyone else in America has to live within their means but not the Federal Government.

The President's budget, as I said, does not purport to live within our fiscal means, and it does not balance, but the President says this is a compromise. I heard his spokesman on television say this is not the President's ideal budget; this is what he views as a compromise. But here is the simple reality: America cannot afford this budget, and America cannot afford the President's so-called compromise.

Let's review some recent history.

In November and December of last year, Republicans were asking the President to embrace serious entitlement reform. Everyone who has looked at Medicare and Social Security realizes that both of those programs are on a path to insolvency and that they will not be there for future generations. And we asked for some smart reductions in Federal spending--what we have come to know as wasteful Washington spending--in exchange for more revenue. The President refused, citing the need for a ``balanced'' approach. But I do not want anyone to confuse that with a balanced budget; the President calls for a ``balanced'' approach but never a balanced budget.

Meanwhile, his Treasury Secretary made clear that the White House was absolutely prepared to go over the fiscal cliff--this was in December--unless Republicans agreed to raise taxes. Well, we did not have much choice because after the expiration of the so-called Bush tax cuts, they were going to go up by operation of law. But now, after getting more than $1 trillion in new tax revenue as part of ObamaCare and after getting a separate $620 billion tax increase on January 2, which I have just talked about, as a result of the fiscal cliff negotiations, the President is back for more. It seems as though that is his knee-jerk solution to every fiscal issue: more taxes, more spending, and more debt.

Not only would his proposed budget raise taxes by more than $800 billion, it would increase annual spending by $2 trillion by 2023 and increase our national debt even more, by $8 trillion. For those keeping score, our gross debt has already increased by more than $6 trillion since the President was sworn into office. It is already larger than our entire gross domestic product--in other words, our entire economy--and we are already spending more than $200 billion a year just on interest payments.

Here is the risk--one of the risks--of this huge overhang of debt: If interest rates were just to go up by 1 percentage point that we had to pay our creditors, such as China, to buy our debt, that would be $1.7 trillion in additional interest we would have to pay on the debt for each percentage point over a 10-year period of time. So you can begin to see very quickly how payment of interest and payment of mandatory programs would quickly crowd out everything else, including national defense expenditures.

A serious long-term fiscal plan must include three elements: progrowth tax reform, which we stand ready to do; structural Medicare reform, which we stand ready to do because we believe we need to preserve and protect Medicare for future generations; and, No. 3, a realistic strategy for reducing our long-term debt burden before we experience a European-style debt crisis. Unfortunately, President Obama's budget does none of that.

Last year, speaking about America's national debt, President Obama's Treasury Secretary told the Republican chairman of the House Budget Committee:

We're not coming before you to say we have a definitive solution to our long-term [debt] problem. What we do know is we don't like yours.

Since that time, our national debt has grown by $1.4 trillion. Now more than ever, America needs a definitive solution to our debt problem. Now more than ever we need a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, like one that has been cosponsored by every Member on this side of the aisle. Now more than ever, amid the longest stretch of high unemployment--the highest unemployment--since the Great Depression, we need innovative, progrowth tax reforms that encourage investment and private-sector job creation. Yet the President is still offering more of the same--more taxes, more spending, and more debt. To paraphrase a famous diplomat, it seems the President never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity.


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