Carper Statement On President’s Budget

Carper Disappointed Over Misleading Budget Plan

WASHINGTON, DC – Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., today issued the following statement on the president’s fiscal 2005 budget proposal: “The president promised in his first budget three years ago to keep the budget balanced and to pay off the national debt. But he has not submitted a single balanced budget since, and the debt is now projected to increase by $4 trillion under his watch. Now the president tells us that he has a plan to cut the deficit in half. But that plan is evidently a secret plan because he provides us with no indication of how he is going to offset the trillions of dollars it will cost to extend all of his tax cuts and continue the occupation of Iraq. He simply doesn’t include these costs in his budget. How, then, are we supposed to take this budget plan seriously? Instead of trying to come up with a sensible approach to balance the budget, the president instead has proposed a “smoke and mirrors” document that systematically ignores the reality of our budget situation in order to make it look like he’s showing fiscal restraint when the opposite is really true. The president says Congress can take care of the deficit by controlling spending on domestic programs such as education, veterans benefits, environmental protection, and law enforcement. But the budget situation has gotten so bad under this president’s watch that you could literally eliminate every one of these domestic programs and the budget would still be in deficit. The Bush administration failed to plan adequately for the post-war occupation in Iraq, and if the administration’s budget is any indication, they are still failing to plan ahead. The budget includes no estimate of the funding requirements in Iraq past this September. No military commander believes that our troops will be home by September, but that is evidently the assumption this administration is counting on. The tragic thing is that the budget is in such a state of disarray now that even the president’s own flagship priorities are being thrown overboard. The president pledged in his campaign to promote efforts to raise student achievement in our public schools. Yet the No Child Left Behind Law is underfunded by $7.1 billion in his budget and special education programs are underfunded by $11.4 billion. The President pledged in his campaign to treat those who have worn the uniform with the respect and dignity they deserve. Yet among the few ideas he offers for reducing the deficit is to cut programs like veterans health care. This budget is many things – misleading and irresponsible come to mind first. One thing it is not is a serious plan to balance the budget or to meet our responsibilities as a government and a society. No one thinks the budget is going to balance itself. We in Congress have to make tough decisions and determine our priorities. But the president must lead on this issue if we’re to be successful.”