CONCURRENT RESOLUTION ON THE BUDGET FOR FISCAL YEAR 2006--CONFERENCE REPORT -- (Senate - April 28,
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. KERRY. Mr. President, the federal budget should be a reflection of American values. It should be an honest document, it should be responsible, and it should create opportunity. This budget fails that test. It is dishonest because it ignores significant funding obligations. It is irresponsible because it greatly increases our national debt and ignores pressing needs. And it fails to invest in our future and create opportunity for all Americans.
Using an accounting trick that would land a CPA in jail, this budget ignores billions of dollars that the Nation must spend in the coming years. It excludes the cost of ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, which may amount to almost $400 billion over the next 10 years. It excludes the cost of the President's Social Security privatization plan, which would cost more than $750 billion over the next 10 years. It excludes the $600 billion it will cost to repeal the alternative minimum tax over the next ten years. It even excludes the interest on the debt. And yet, the Republican leadership continues to mislead the American people by telling them that this budget will cut the deficit by half.
The budget significantly increases our national debt. If you include the expenditures that the budget omits, the operating deficit in 2006 will be $579 billion and rise to $595 billion in 2009. Thus, the budget will add close to $600 billion a year to our national debt, debt that is increasingly financed by foreign countries and businesses. In fact, foreign holdings of our debt have increased 92 percent since this President came into office. By doing so, this President is ceding financial control to foreign interests, and that undermines America's fiscal and economic stability.
The budget calls for substantial new tax cuts while significantly cutting essential domestic programs. The reconciliation instructions call for a $70 billion tax cut, which will likely lead to a 2-year extension of the capital gains and dividends tax cuts enacted in 2003 and slated to expire in 2008. In 2005, slightly more than half of these tax cuts will benefit household with incomes over $1 million, only 0.2 percent of all households.
These tax cuts come at the expense of working Americans. Over the next 5 years, over $121 billion will be cut from education, veterans health care, environmental protection, housing, and other important programs. This budget fails to fully fund No Child Left Behind. It fails to help our troops by insuring that all members of the National Guard and Reserves have health insurance. It fails to help military families meet the inevitable expenses when a loved one is deployed. And, it sets in motion a backdoor legislative process to auction the Arctic Refuge to oil companies, while failing to adequately fund investments in domestic, reliable and renewable energy.
This budget also hurts manufacturers and small businesses by eliminating the bipartisan Snowe-Kerry amendment which restored $78 million to the Small Business Administration, an agency whose budget is a mere 3/100ths of a percent of the total budget, yet which has been cut the most of any agency since this President took office.
This budget makes the wrong choices for Americans. It hides the real costs of this administration's priorities. It significantly increases our national debt, debt held by foreign entities and passed on to our children. It provides tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans while cutting those programs most needed by working families. I do not agree with these choices, and I do not support this budget.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT