Grassley: Budget process back on track

Grassley-090507-18363- 0032By The Iowa Statesman


U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) took part in Monday’s meeting of the budget conference committee. He took the occasion to speak about the public’s expectation for government to “behave responsibly, live within our means, and at the very least, produce a budget.”

His full remarks follow:

I’d first like to congratulate both Chairman Enzi and Chairman Price on your efforts in this process.  You’ve both succeeded in drafting responsible resolutions that garnered a majority of support in your respective chambers.  This is no small feat.

There have been many times during the past six years that Congress completely failed in our obligation to produce a budget.  For many years in the Senate, there was no effort to produce a budget at all.

Even with our country on a fiscally unsustainable course, the Senate repeatedly shirked the responsibility to produce a budget.

The American people expect their government to behave responsibly, live within our means, and at the very least, produce a budget.  And, they want us to demonstrate prudence and responsibility by getting our budget to balance within 10 years.

Both budgets before us achieve that goal.

I’m glad to be here to get to work with our House colleagues to reconcile our differences on the fiscal year 2016 budget resolution.  This is regular order. This is how the process is intended to work.

There is an enormous amount of cynicism among the populace about dysfunction in Washington.  To regain the trust of the American people, we must demonstrate that we can work together to confront our fiscal challenges.

Rather than provide a responsible budget framework, the President’s budget proposal ignored our fiscal challenges, and was instead a political messaging document.  President Obama’s budget proposal was so bad, only one Democrat even voted for it.

President Obama’s budget would have increased taxes by nearly $2 trillion, increased spending dramatically, and added more than $7 trillion to the national debt.

His budget was criticized for ignoring the drivers of our long-term debt.  He was criticized for declaring that our debt problems have been solved.

One expert stated, and I quote:  “The focus on promoting investment today will do little good if our massive debt is choking the investments of tomorrow.”

Overspending will harm economic growth, prosperity and opportunity for future generations.  Increasing spending today, paid for by increasing the debt burden on our children and grandchildren, is the moral equivalent of selling a pig in a poke.

The promise of economic growth through unending deficit spending defies logic and common sense.

Balancing the budget will increase private investment and grow the economy.  Stronger economic growth leads to higher incomes and wages for America’s workers.

A balanced budget will help keep interest rates low, keeping more money in the pockets of hard-working Americans, and helping reduce the borrowing cost of college students.

A balanced budget will lead to reduced interest payments on the national debt, which means resources available for important priorities, rather than wasting them on interest payments.

We all want to help hardworking families and taxpayers.  We should help them by providing an efficient, effective and accountable federal government.  We should help them by growing the economy.

We should help them by demonstrating that Congress has the ability to put the federal government on a path to live within our means.

Deficits and debt matter.  They matter to our economy.  They matter to hard-working Americans.  They matter to job creators.  And they matter to future generations of Americans that will suffer from our overspending and fiscal carelessness.

It’s time to safeguard the American dream for future generations.

This is not just a fiscal issue.  It’s a moral issue.  I hope my colleagues will recognize the responsibility we have to ensure that future generations have the opportunity to achieve even greater prosperity than our generation.

Again, I’m glad that we’re finally engaged in this process.  It’s time to get to work to find sound fiscal solutions to our nations’ challenges.