Today, Mark Udall responded to the President’s Fiscal Year 2012 proposed budget – as well as legislation underway by House Republicans, which aims to make $100 billion in discretionary spending cuts. Neither plan makes the kind of cuts in spending – as well as investments – necessary to reduce our debt and grow our economy over the long term, Udall said.
Udall has called on Congress to consider the recommendations made in December by the President’s commission on reducing the national debt. The commission’s chairmen, former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, made it clear that we must have a more comprehensive strategy that addresses all aspects of our federal budget.
“Relying on cuts to discretionary spending in order to pay down the debt is kind of like taking a pickax to an iceberg,” Udall said. “We can’t simply rely on targeted budget cuts and strategic investments and hope that alone will make our economy rebound.
Udall is working as part of a bipartisan group of senators calling for an up-or-down vote on the Bowles-Simpson plan, as well as other proposals to control spending, including a presidential line-item veto, pay-as-you-go spending, a ban on earmarks, and a balanced budget amendment.
Udall’s full statement follows:
“There are aspects of the President’s budget proposal to like. Innovation has always been the hallmark of American economic strength. I agree with the President that investing in education, biomedical research and energy efficiency – among other economic drivers – are critical for us to win the global economic race. But our national debt is the single biggest economic and national security challenge we face. In that respect, I believe the President’s budget – and a proposal by House Republicans to cut $100 billion in discretionary spending – both fail to fully address the real problem at hand.
“The President’s own budget projects that the deficit will surge to an all-time high of $1.65 trillion this year. That reflects a tax-cut agreement negotiated in December, which I opposed because it would add $858 billion to our debt. Facing those kinds of numbers, relying on cuts to discretionary spending in order to pay down the debt is kind of like taking a pickax to an iceberg. We can’t simply rely on changes on the margins and hope that alone will make our economy rebound.
“The chairmen of the President’s bipartisan deficit commission, made it clear we have to tackle entitlement and defense spending – in addition to making cuts in discretionary spending – to make an impact on our debt. I’ve called for an up-or-down vote on the Bowles-Simpson plan, and I’ll continue working to see that it is considered by Congress.”