Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Tuesday regarding the lack of a budget proposal by Senate Democrats:
“Sometime before the end of this week, Democrats in the Senate will have wrapped up their efforts for the current work period and flown home for the Memorial Day recess.
“So it’s not too early to ask what they’ve accomplished over the past several weeks.
“More specifically, what have they done about a looming fiscal crisis in the six weeks since one of the co-chairs of the President’s debt commission called it the most predictable crisis in history?
“Well, the short answer is not much.
“Six weeks after the Democrat co-chairman of the President’s own debt commission told us that our nation’s deficits and debt are like a cancer that threatens to destroy America from within, and nearly a year after the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff declared our debt to be the single biggest threat to our national security, Democrats are ready to call it a work period.
“After producing no budget, after offering no plan, and with no plan in sight.
“Well, evidently Democrats have decided that avoiding this crisis helps them in the next election.
“That’s why they plan to vote against every budget plan that comes to the floor this week — including the President’s.
“Democrats are apparently operating under the assumption that if they’re on the record opposing everything, it helps them politically.
“So, in other words, we might not leave here this week with a solution to our nation’s looming debt crisis, but Democrats are pretty confident they’ll leave with some good material for campaign ads.
“Here’s how the Senior Senator from New York put it yesterday in a moment of candor:
`To put other budgets out there is not the point,’ he said, `this issue will have staying power and be a defining issue for 2012.’
“They aren’t even pretending to put principle over politics here.
“According to Senator Schumer, their focus is on an election — that’s still almost two years away!
“Well, my suggestion is that Democrats start thinking about putting their names on something other than an attack ad.
“They could start with a budget.
“How about that?
“Right now, America is on pace to spend about $1.6 trillion dollars more than it takes in this year — that’s three times the biggest deficit we ever had before President Obama took office.
“The President’s plan is to keep deficits like this in place for years to come.
“That’s the scenario Admiral Mullen and Erskine Bowles are worried about.
“Meanwhile, entitlement spending is growing faster than inflation — meaning sooner or later these programs will either consume all the money we have or these programs are forced to change.
“Members of the President’s own cabinet admitted this last week when they signed a report showing that Medicare is running out of money and urging prompt reform of the program.
“So the question isn’t whether these programs need reform — the question is how it’s done.
“Do we do it now, together, or do we wait until we’re absolutely forced to do it?
“There is no other choice.
“Congressman Ryan has shown a lot of courage by proposing a budget that would tackle a big part of the problem. Democrats are showing none by ignoring our problems altogether.
“This is the contrast Americans will see in the Senate this week.
“Republicans will vote on several possible approaches to our fiscal crisis this week, including the Ryan Plan.
“Democrats will vote against every one.
“We’ll also have a vote on the President’s budget, which Democrats also plan to oppose.
“They say they prefer the ideas the President outlined in a speech he gave last month.
“Well, unfortunately, we can’t vote on a speech.
“But if that’s what it takes to get Democrats engaged in this debate, maybe we should revisit the rules.
“More than two years have passed since Democrats have produced a budget of their own.
“This is a complete and total abdication of their responsibilities as a majority party.
“And there is no excuse for it.
“Every year, Congress appropriates nearly $100 million to support the Office of Management and Budget.
“This money supports a staff of 529 people.
“OMB’s job is to put together a budget.
“Why exactly haven’t they been able to turn the President’s speech into a budget we can vote on?
“They’ve had six weeks to do it.
“What’s the problem?
“If Democrats can’t get 529 people to put some numbers together based on the budget plan the President outlined in his speech, then they’ve got problems over there.
“Either that, or Democrats are just looking for excuses so they don’t have to vote for anything of their own. And they’d rather put together political ads than a solution to this crisis.
“And this is inexcusable.
“We have an obligation to our country to come up with a plan.
“Democrats are officially abdicating that responsibility this week.
“But Americans will remember.
“As the crisis approached, Democrats did nothing.”