February 12,2004

Senators Call for Greater Action on Escalating Deficit

Baucus, McCain, Feingold, Lindsey Graham and Bayh Contact President to Urge Balanced Budget Efforts

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) U.S. Senators Max Baucus (D-Mont.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), RussFeingold (D-Wisc.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Evan Bayh (D-Ind.) today commendedPresident Bush for his recent comments expressing support for reducing the budget deficit, butthey called for further action to balance the budget.

"Our budget deficit is at unprecedented levels, which could defeat many of our efforts tostrengthen the economy," Baucus said. “These budget deficits will raise the costs of mortgages,student loans, and business investments. We need to balance the budget, or Americans will havea poorer standard of living.”

The Senators today called for steps to be taken to strengthen the federal budget process asa key to reducing the deficit. The first step needed, they stated, is the reinstatement of the payas-you-go requirements for both spending and revenue. This requirement would ensure that alllegislation passed must be fully offset and not contribute to the federal deficit.

"We're in a much different place tha n we were just a few years ago and we must takeaction now to stop our slide further and further into the red," Baucus added. "As elected officials,it's the responsibility of every single one of us to ensure we don't leave this deficit as a legacy toour children and grandchildren. I encourage the president to work together with Congress to getour budget under control."

Full text of letter follows:

February 12, 2004

The President

The White House

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

We write to support greater action to reduce the budget deficit.
We commend your State of the Union statement that "we should limit the burden of governmenton this economy by acting as good stewards of taxpayer dollars." We welcome your recentbudget’s increased attention to reducing the deficit.

The Government should go further. The Government should commit to a sustainable path tobalance the budget.

We compliment the position stated by your Administration before your recent budget (forexample, in the Analytical Perspectives section of your fiscal year 2004 budget and in theJanuary 22, 2004, Statement of Administration Policy to the Senate on H.R. 3108, the PensionFunding Equity Act) that "[t]he Administration supports the extension of [the BudgetEnforcement Act's pay-as-you-go requirements] in a manner that ensures fiscal discipline . . . ."

The Government needs to restore and strengthen the Federal budget process by, among otherthings, enacting statutory pay-as-you-go requirements for both spending and revenues.We look forward to working together -- across party lines, Congress and Executive -- to reducethe deficit. Thank you for your increased attention to this important matter.

Most Respectfully,

Max Baucus

John McCain

Russ Feingold

Lindsey Graham

Evan Bayh