Grassley Comments on Budget Debate
I’d like to start off with the big picture. The Senate finds itself in an unusual situation.It’s split right down the middle at 50-50. Republicans have control because of Vice President Cheney’sauthority to break a tie.
In this historic 50-50 Senate, there is supposed to be an understanding of shared power and, justas importantly, shared responsibility. Now, let me say, the Finance Committee has operated in this fashion.Sen. Baucus and I have managed committee business in a spirit of shared power and shared responsibility.Under this 50-50 Senate, Republicans are responsible for getting the people’s business done,including President Bush’s agenda. I believe in a 50-50 Senate, Democrats also bear responsibility.
Therefore the votes they cast on the budget resolution should be accounted for, as well.
So in light of this shared responsibility, I think the American people should be aware of the SenateDemocrats position on the budget, including the tax cut. If we look at the Democratic budget position,there votes add up to a net tax cut of less than $400 billion. Let me repeat that point because it’s veryimportant. Democrats have reduced the tax cut by $1.2 trillion. That leaves $400 billion on the table fortax relief, only $400 billion.
Now, howdid I get to that figure? Democrats withthe laudable exception of Sen. Zell Miller and,insome cases, Sen. BenNelson, have voted to reduce the $1.6 trilliontax cut in the following amendments:Baucus, by $156 billion; Johnson, by $88 billion; Harkin, by $488 billion; Landrieu, by $93 billion;Stabenow, by $14 billion; and Conrad, by $418 billion
When you add it up, the Democrats have voted to cut $1.2 trillion off the $1.6 trillion tax cut.Now, Democrats have also increased government spending by $609 billion in those amendments.As Sen. Conrad himself says, the budget resolutionis about choices. Clearly, the choices have been madehere to cut taxes by about $400 billion, after all is said and done, and to raise spending by evenmore thanthat amount.
If Democrats say they’re for a tax cut of about $950 billion, then they have a responsibility toreconcile the votes they’ve cast, mostly in lock-step, on the budget.
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