March 26,2003

Baucus Votes in Favor of Senate Budget Resolution; Applauds Moderate Size of Economic Stimulus Package, Expresses Concern Over Medicare Funding

“After weighing the pros and cons, I decided to vote in favor of the budgetresolution today for a number of reasons. Most importantly, the bill contains guidelinesto hold an economic stimulus package to $350 billion. I worked closely with Sens.

Breaux, Snowe and Voinovich to have this amendment included in the budget resolution,which will provide us with enough funding to assist the economy without furtheringburdening the deficit as the original $726 Billion proposal would have done. $350 billionis a reasonable level of stimulus, especially given the ever-increasing war costs we’refacing.

I was also pleased with the inclusion of provisions such as increased coverage foruninsured people and additional funds for expired State-Children’s Health InsurancePrograms.

One of my top concerns with the bill is the insufficient level of funding that wasallocated for Medicare reform and prescription drug coverage. The bill includes $400billion for Medicare prescription drugs, reform, and provider payment adjustments,which is a good start. But we must go further. I’m dedicated to searching for additionalfunding to ensure that both urban and rural seniors have access to a universal,comprehensive prescription drug benefit and that we’re able to enact common senseMedicare reforms. We should never use carrot and stick tactics to force seniors intoprivate plans that don’t work for them.

In the end, the positive aspects of the budget resolution outweighed the negatives.Passage of the bill will allow Congress to move forward with our other importantpriorities, such as crafting the exact provisions of an economic stimulus package andmaking Medicare work more effectively for seniors across the country.”