"Mr. President, within the last 20 minutes, I have heard on the floor comments about the sequester. A previous speaker on the Democratic side of the aisle said the sequester was hurting small business and said the sequester was causing economic uncertainty. Another Senator on the other side of the aisle made reference to the Washington Post.
"Well, I would draw the attention of this body to the Washington Post of this morning, a front page story in the Washington Post of today, Thursday, March 21: 'Health-care uncertainty weighs down small firms'--not the sequester, uncertainty about the health care law. `Requirements under 2010 law sow confusion, fear among businesses.' That is the problem that is driving the fear and the anxiety and the lack of new business starts and the failure to expand business.
"In this article, there is a small business owner of an air-conditioning firm in Richmond. He says:
"In speaking to them, I am convinced--
"He is talking about other customers, he is talking about other businesses--
"I am convinced that the primary reason we aren't seeing a robust economic recovery is the uncertainty and costs associated with this health-care law.
"`Looming health-care changes hold back small businesses.'
"Another quote from the article:
"It's already hard out there right now. ..... This may be--
"`This': the health care law--
"'the straw that breaks the camel's back.'
"Not the sequester, not made-up confusion by the Democrats, it is the health care law that is hurting our economy. Even the Federal Reserve, in their Beige Book, said so this past month.
"So I rise today to speak on the fiscal year 2014 budget and the choice we face over whether we are going to grow the economy or just grow government bureaucracy.
"When I travel home to Wyoming, as I did last weekend and will again this weekend, I hear from hard-working American taxpayers that they do not believe Washington is spending their tax dollars wisely. They think Washington has become far too inefficient, ineffective, and unaccountable. It is not just the people in Wyoming I am hearing it from. According to Gallup, Americans across the country estimate that the Federal Government wastes 51 cents of every dollar it spends. More than half of all taxpayer dollars are wasted is what the American people believe. So when people look at the Federal budget--and the debate that we are having today in the Senate--it is no wonder they are concerned. They want to know how this budget is going to affect them and their quality of life.
"Looking at the Democratic budget, I think the American people have every reason to be skeptical and every reason to be concerned. This budget is just more of the same--more taxes, more spending, and more debt--and it never reaches balance, not this year, not 10 years from now, not ever.
"This budget does far too little to heal our ailing economy and far too much to expand Washington bureaucracy. The budget the Democrats have put forward would increase taxes by $1 trillion. That is on top of the trillion dollars in tax increases in the President's health care law. It is also on top of the tax hikes the President demanded in the January deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. In contrast, the Republican plan from the House Budget Committee will not increase taxes at all.
"The Democrats' budget will also rack up $7.3 trillion in new debt over the next decade. Since President Obama took office 4 years ago, he has added more than $6 trillion to our national debt. For 4 years, he has run budget deficits of over $1 trillion each and every one of those 4 years. Now Senate Democrats want to throw good money after bad and add another $7 trillion on top of that. The President has simply wasted too much of the American taxpayers' money. The American people have been stuck with an enormous bill as well as an anemic economy and economic growth that has been very slow.
"The American people think more than half of all Washington spending is wasted, and the Democrats cannot find a single dollar that they think should be saved. Democrats actually want to increase Washington's spending by another $645 billion.
"This budget would spend $46.4 trillion over the next 10 years. Apparently, President Obama thinks the only things which need to be cut from our budget are White House tours.
"Well, Republicans and the American people know there is a lot more we could be cutting. Taxpayers are demanding Washington finally get serious about our budget and stop the political games and political gimmicks. It is time for Washington to do what families across the country have always needed to do, live within their means. Democrats still don't seem to get it. They continue to insist the rules don't apply to Washington, and they should not be held accountable for their spending choices.
"Like their other failed policies of the past few years, the Democrats' plan is very much a statement of their priorities. It does nothing to stop the overregulation which is destroying jobs and strangling our economy. It protects failing government programs from reform. It does nothing to preserve and protect Medicare and Social Security for future generations. It spends more money so Washington Democrats don't need to make a single tough choice. They have made their priorities clear, but they are the wrong priorities for America.
"Republicans have offered a plan which starts to rein in Washington's spending and getting it back in line with revenue. This is what we should be doing. With a debt of more than $16 trillion, it is why, and it is way beyond the time to balance the budget.
"We need to finally start to ease the burden of that debt on future generations. We need to reduce our obligations to countries such as China. We need budget reforms which help to grow our economy and create jobs, or we can go in the opposite direction the Democratic way. The Democratic budget never balances. It never even comes close to balanced.
"The smallest deficit it ever achieves would be more than $400 billion in 2016, and then the deficit begins to climb again. It continues Washington's unrestrained borrowing and spending and continues the damage 4 years of failed Democratic priorities have done to our economy. According to one independent analysis, the Democrats' budget would cost America 853,000 jobs. Total economic output would be $1.4 trillion less because of this budget. Private investment would be $82 billion less per year.
"As bad as this budget is, at least we finally have a Democratic budget to debate. This is the first time in 4 years the Democrats have even bothered to offer a budget in the Senate.
"President Obama has not even submitted a budget. Where is the President's budget? It was due on February 4. Now the White House says they will finally produce a budget maybe sometime in April. This is more than 2 months late.
"What we have to work with is an unserious budget plan written by Senate Democrats. It is inadequate to the challenges we face as a country. It is out of touch with what the American people want, and it is a slap in the face to the hard-working taxpayers who will need to pay for it.
"If President Obama truly believes we can take a balanced approach to our budget, he should publicly oppose this wildly unbalanced budget which harms America. We need a serious budget, one which grows the economy, not government bureaucracy."