Carper Calls on Senate to Pass Pay-As-You-Go Rules

Mounting Debt Means Congress and White House Need to Start Living Within Means

WASHINGTON (March 14, 2006) – Given record budget deficits and ever-growing national debt, Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., today called on the Senate to pass budget enforcement rules that would help keep federal spending in check and encourage a greater sense of fiscal discipline in Congress. Carper said the so-called “pay-as-you-go” rules would make it more difficult to pass new spending or tax cuts unless Congress found a way to pay for them. These pay-as-you-go rules were instrumental in helping Congress and then-President Clinton reduce budget deficits in the 1990s, but the rules have since expired under the Bush administration. The Senate, which is debating its fiscal 2007 budget resolution this week, was expected to vote later on Tuesday on an amendment, cosponsored by Carper, to reinstate these rules. “Congress should live by the same rules as regular families,” said Carper. “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth paying for. If a particular tax cut has merit, then let’s find a way to pay for it. If we think a particular program deserves a big increase in spending, then let’s find a way to pay for it. If we don’t, we’re going to continue to run up these huge deficits that simply aren’t sustainable.” Later this week, the Senate is expected to take up and pass a $781 billion increase to our nation’s debt limit to keep the U.S. government from defaulting. If approved, this will be the fourth time in the past five years that the Bush administration and Congress have approved an increase to the debt limit. Those increases have cost almost $3 trillion. “We’re in a hole and we need to stop digging,” Carper said. “We’re running up bills that will be left for our children and grandchildren to pay. We simply cannot continue down this path. A fiscal policy based on cutting taxes, increasing spending, and then borrowing whatever is needed to make up the difference cannot be sustained.”