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Public Statements

Unanimous Consent Request--S.16

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SESSIONS. Madam President, the proposal of my friend the majority leader--and I know he has a tough job--is how the Nation goes broke, how the Nation loses the confidence of the people we serve.

In August of 2011, this Nation agreed to the Budget Control Act. My friend Senator Reid said the Budget Control Act was as good as a budget. It is not, but it has some teeth to it. What it did that is indisputable, it limited the growth in spending.

We said we would raise the debt ceiling $2.1 trillion immediately, which has already almost been spent--we have run up that much debt since August 2011, another $2 trillion--but in addition, we would reduce spending over 10 years by $2.1 trillion.

The sequester involved $1.1 trillion of that if the committee didn't reach an agreement that would have specified cuts across the board. They are not wise cuts. We shouldn't have done it that way, but it was a reasonable amount of money for sure. So in the Budget Control Act that was passed, spending would have gone up from a flat $37 trillion over 10 years to $45 trillion over 10 years instead of going up to $47 trillion over 10 years. So the growth would be from 37 to 45 and not 37 to 47. That is not a real cut in spending. It is a reduction in the growth in spending.

Now the sequester comes along, and we have proposed many solutions where we could alter these cuts and give flexibility to the cuts so they are not as sharp and as unwise as the sequester called for, so long as the spending stays within that level.

We also agreed--and the President signed it and it was passed by both Houses and Democrats and Republicans and the leader voted for it--it had no tax increases. It was simply an agreement that would reduce spending a little bit over 10 years and that we would raise the debt ceiling by an equal amount. There were no tax increases in that.

Then the President submits a budget, and he wants to do away with the sequester and pay for it with tax increases. That is what the Democratic Senate budget did also. It had increases in taxes and increases in spending and a chunk of that was wiping out the sequester we just agreed to.

We told the American people: Look, we made a little reduction in the growth of spending, American people. Forgive us for raising the debt ceiling. A lot of people didn't want to raise the debt ceiling at all. But we promised we had done something good. We were proud of ourselves.

Before the ink was dry, the President in January submitted his budget on 2012 that wiped out those cuts and spent more money, and his budget and the Senate Democratic budget this year does the same thing.

How can we possibly ever get spending under control if we don't comply with what we promised?

The majority leader has said: The war costs are coming down in the future. We will just score that as savings and, therefore, we don't have to raise taxes. We will not have the sequester take effect. We will just spend all that money, and we will pretend we saved it by not fighting a war 10 years from now.

Let me tell you what experts have said about this gimmick.

Maya MacGuineas, with the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget--and they worked very hard in a bipartisan way to deal with these issues--said this: ``This is such a glaring gimmick at such a serious moment.''

Robert Bixby of the Concord Coalition out of New Hampshire, a long-time respected bipartisan group, said this: ``The mother of all budget gimmicks.''

To pretend we are saving money because we are not spending emergency money on a war that ends, we could still be saving money on World War I at that rate.

Washington Post reporter Lori Montgomery said:

"Counting money not spent on wars that the nation is already planning to end is widely viewed as a budget gimmick.'' And it certainly is.


Mr. SESSIONS. Basically our colleagues say: We cannot even reduce spending growth, even that much. We cannot stand any of that. We refuse to lay out alternatives to make the cuts less painful. We want them to be as painful as possible so we can attack those and oppose even modest reductions in the growth of spending, and we are going to punish the American people because they dared to reduce the growth of spending.

They basically say, the Government is saying: It is not our fault we have a problem. It is yours, American people. You didn't send enough money. You send more money. You send more money. We refuse to reduce the growth of spending.

I yield the floor and thank Senator Coburn for objecting to the proposal of the majority leader.


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