February 27,2001

Statement of Sen. Chuck Grassley on President Bush's Budget Outline

The President's budget is like quality Iowa beef. It's lean where it should be, and fat just where it counts. It's principled, fair and restrained. For those reasons, it's rock-solid.

The President's plan funds our nation's priorities. It improves education. It preserves all Medicare and Social Security dollars for Medicare and Social Security. It provides the largest debt reduction in history. It gives fair and responsible tax relief. It's a plan I can present to Iowans with confidence.

I think many Iowans want the kind of balance the President's budget contains. A 35-year-old man doesn't want a big tax cut at the expense of his grandmother's Medicare. His grandmother doesn't want prescription drug coverage at her grandson's expense. A mother of two doesn't want a child-care credit if it means cutting successful programs for the poor and the hungry.

Like other Americans, the Iowans I've talked to are giving and fair-minded. They're over-taxed, but they don't want tax cuts in a vacuum. Our mission in government, then, is to deliver the most bang for the taxpayer's buck. President Bush understands this. The President has a good eye for efficiency. He'll consolidate duplicative programs and make them work better.

President Bush's budget also reflects an egalitarian spirit. His tax relief plan acknowledges that needs are widespread, but each American's circumstances are unique.

He understands that taxpayers include an 85-year-old woman from Keokuk, Iowa, who pays $6,000 of taxes on $32,000 of income. She's worked hard to save money so she won't be a burden on her family or her government. Taxpayers include an Urbandale, Iowa, couple who spends $305 a week -- $15,875 a year -- to keep their two children in day care. Taxpayers include a father from Rock Island, Illinois, who wants to contribute more to his 2-year-old's education IRA than the law allows. They include a young working couple from Marion, Iowa, who pay more taxes as a married couple than they would if they never married. They include a retired 80-year-old farmer from Belmond, Iowa, who's worried about the tax bite his four children will face when they inherit his land.

The President is showing forward-looking leadership. I like his call for the creation of a bipartisan Social Security commission. I have some ideas myself on how that commission would operate, and I look forward to working with him to get something done quickly. The longer we wait, the more difficult it will be to get the job done.