Carper Votes Against Budget, Centrist Democrat Voted for Original Resolution But Says Today’s Bill ‘Breaks Our Promise to Improve Public Education’

WASHINGTON, DC – The Senate missed its chance for real bipartisan action and set back the journey to improve public education with today’s budget vote, Senator Tom Carper said. The centrist Democrat expressed “real concern that the compromise budget that passed today abandoned the Senate’s commitment to improving education and could lead to a return to deficit spending.” “This budget compromises our commitment to fiscal responsibility, bipartisanship, and improving health care opportunities and education,” Carper said. “By voting for the Senate budget resolution last month, moderate Democrats reached out to Republicans to build consensus. Today, our offer to work towards responsible tax cuts was rejected.” Carper voted for the original Senate budget resolution that cut taxes by $1.18 trillion and provided an additional $300 billion in education funding than the compromise budget that passed today. This week, Carper worked to galvanize centrist support against this budget and he attempted to build support for a plan that cut taxes by $1.2 trillion and invested in public education and health care. “The real tragedy is we could have had a broad bipartisan agreement on a tax cut of a trillion dollars,” Carper said from the Senate floor. “We could have invested in education, defense, and made needed investments in health care. We could have had a real, bipartisan majority for that. My fear is we have, in the end, shortchanged the states, the schools, and the kids about whom we say we care so much.” Carper, who cut taxes seven years in a row as Governor, voted for the original budget resolution and its $1.18 trillion tax cut as part of an effort to build bipartisan consensus. But the $1.18 trillion was, for Carper, a “ceiling, not a floor.” Carper favors a smaller tax cut that reduces marginal rates, eliminates the marriage penalty and increases inheritance tax exemptions. “I fear we are going to end up cutting taxes more than we ought to and, in the end, come back and say we need to spend more money than we can afford. We went down that path in 1981, and my fear is we are going to go right down that same path in 2001,” Carper said. A SATELLITE FEED OF THE SENATOR’S FLOOR STATEMENT WILL BE AVAILABLE AT: Time: 4:55-4:58 pm / Telstar 5 / Transponder 23 / D-L 4160 The Senator’s statement will be available this afternoon at: 1-800-511-0763, box # 2038