Carper Says Senate Budget Not Focused on Right Priorities

Deficit Would Continue to Increase; Important Social Programs Unfairly Targeted

WASHINGTON (March 18, 2005) – Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., issued the following statement after the Senate passed, 51-49, its fiscal 2006 budget resolution. Carper voted against the measure, which does not carry the force of law but acts as a blueprint for the federal government’s spending and tax policies. The resolution will now have to be reconciled with a corresponding House version. “This year’s budget is about misplaced priorities. The Senate budget unwisely backs the president’s plan to bankrupt Amtrak and cut spending on critical domestic priorities, many of which help the least-fortunate among us. Republicans say they are targeting these programs in the name of deficit reduction, but if you look closely, these cuts do little – practically nothing – to reduce the deficit or restore fiscal sanity in Washington. When President Bush took office, we were on track to pay off our publicly held debt by 2008. Under this budget, our debt will total $5.9 trillion by then. Instead of coming up with a plan that made difficult but necessary choices about spending and tax cuts, this budget continues to ignore reality. It doesn’t estimate the long-term costs of our peacekeeping missions in Iraq or the cost of expiring tax cuts that will likely be extended and add to our mounting debt. Sadly, my colleagues refused to pass amendments this week that would have forced us to pay for new spending and tax cuts if we really want them. I believe if it’s worth doing, it’s worth paying for. That principle seems to be out of style now in our nation’s capital. But there is a price for living beyond our means. We are not going to enjoy the standard of living that we do today if we continue to spend ever more money than we raise. I think that if you’re in a hole, you should stop digging. In the late 1990s, President Clinton and Congress sat down and mapped out a strategy that put us on the road to budget surpluses. I would urge this White House and my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to work with Democrats to put this country back on the road toward fiscal sanity and get us out of the very deep hole we’re in.”