WASHINGTON, DC (March 12, 2004) -- The Senate early this morning passed its version of a fiscal 2005 budget resolution on a 51-45 vote. The resolution 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, which is set for debate next week. While Carper was instrumental in securing language in the bill that would force any new spending increases or tax cuts to be paid for with corresponding offsets elsewhere in the budget, Carper nevertheless criticized the resolution for failing to address our nation's mounting debt and voted against final passage. The following is the senator's statement on the resolution: "The budget resolution the Senate passed today isn't real. Like the president proclaims in his budget, the Republicans in Congress contend that they have a plan to cut the deficit almost in half over the next five years. But the resolution ignores the demands we have on domestic spending, refuses to estimate the costs of our peacekeeping efforts in Iraq, and simply doesn’t calculate the cost of expiring tax cuts that Congress will have to fix to protect middle-class families." "Instead of passing fictional budgets, we should be working on finding a way to get rid of our growing debt. By 2014, our national debt could reach almost $14 trillion - nearly double what it is today. 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." "One bright spot in the resolution is a provision I cosponsored that would force us to pay for any new tax cuts or spending increases. Such a tool would help us reduce the deficit or at least not let it get any worse, and we should keep that in any final version of the budget we pass."