California Senator Barbara Boxer made the following statement regarding the proposed 2006 Federal Budget:
|STATEMENT OF SENATOR BARBARA BOXER|
FISCAL YEAR 2006 BUDGET CONFERENCE REPORT
Mrs. BOXER. Mr. President, I oppose this budget and will vote against it. All of my colleagues should. It sets the wrong priorities. It breaks promises to the American people. And it is the height of fiscal irresponsibility.
Let me begin with the priorities. The priorities of the American people are not the priorities of this budget. It is quite clear what the priorities of this budget are: tax cuts for the wealthy. In just one year, this budget provides a tax cut for millionaires totaling $32 billion. Meanwhile, education funding is cut almost $1 billion below the services we are providing now. A total of 48 education programs are eliminated. The promise that was made in the No Child Left Behind Act is broken by $12 billion. Mr. President, we should be increasing our commitment to our children, not cutting it.
Veterans programs – for those brave men and women who served our country and are currently serving our country in Iraq and Afghanistan – are cut $500 million. As more and more veterans return to this country, the demands on the VA system will only grow. This budget ignores them.
This budget provides no funding for additional police officers on the street. And two major programs to help local law enforcement are eliminated.
Medicaid – the health care program for the poor and disabled, a large portion of whom are children – is cut $10 billion.
Funding for the Centers for Disease Control – to prevent diseases and to fight outbreaks – is cut 9 percent.
The promise we made to our farmers in 2002 is broken with cuts of $3 billion.
Mr. President, what is going on here? Our children, our veterans, the safety of our streets, and the health of our people – all are taking a back seat to tax cuts for millionaires. This budget helps the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans at the expense of 99 percent of Americans.
Now, you would think that with all of these cuts in spending for important programs, at least the budget would be balanced –or at least would be more fiscally responsible than it has been in the past four years. You would be wrong. This budget increases our debt by $3.1 trillion over the next five years. In 2010, the federal debt will be over $11 trillion. That figure is so high, it is nearly incomprehensible. So let me put it another way: $11 trillion is $1 million every day for 30,000 years.
And, Mr. President, $11 trillion in debt is not the whole story. This budget does not include the almost $400 billion in costs for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This budget does not include over $700 billion in costs for the President’s plan to privatize Social Security. This budget does not include over $700 billion to ensure that middle-class Americans are not hit with the Alternative Minimum Tax. Why aren’t these included? Because it would mean even more debt. Debt upon debt upon debt upon debt. And most of it owed to those from foreign countries. We are borrowing from the Japanese, the Chinese, the British, and others – and sticking the bill to our children and grandchildren.
And speaking of the President’s plan to privatize Social Security, I find it ironic that the President again tonight tried to scare the American people by saying that Social Security was going “bankrupt,” when at the same time, this budget steals $2.5 trillion over 10 years from the Social Security Trust Fund. Instead of tax cuts for millionaires, we should be paying back the Trust Fund.
Finally, Mr. President, this budget sets the stage for opening up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. It has nothing to do with the budget. It has nothing to do with increasing our energy independence. It has everything to do with destroying one of America’s most environmentally pristine areas.
This budget has the wrong priorities, bankrupts our country, and destroys our environment. It should be soundly and overwhelmingly rejected.
If I wasn't already married to the most incredible woman in the world, I'd try to steal Mrs. Boxer from her husband.