"Thank you all for coming. I especially want to thank our great Democratic leadership team: Whip Steny Hoyer, Caucus Chair Bob Menendez, Caucus Vice Chair James Clyburn, and Assistant to the Democratic Leader and Ranking Member on the Budget Committee John Spratt. John is the master of the budget and I thank him for his outstanding effort.
"We gather today on the brink of war. But just as the President and Congress have responsibilities abroad, we also have responsibilities here at home. And the most important of those domestic responsibilities is to draft a budget that reflects Americas values, and funds our priorities.
"Last month, President Bush proposed a budget that is reckless and irresponsible. It explodes the deficit, fails to create jobs, and fails to invest in the education and healthcare initiatives that this country needs for long-term economic growth.
"Tomorrow on the House floor, we will debate a budget put forward by the
House Republicans that takes the Presidents blueprint and by every measure
makes it demonstrably worse. It has been opposed by the Farm Bureau, by the
Disabled Veterans of America, and by many other groups. And rightfully so.
"Instead of offering a budget that creates jobs, the House Republican budget incorporates the Bush tax cut plan, which the Economic Policy Institute says would cause a net loss of 750,000 jobs by 2013. The nation has already lost 2.5 million private-sector jobs since President Bush took office. Unemployed workers deserve better.
"Instead of a fiscally responsible budget, the Republican budget piles
up record deficits - the worst ever on record. These exploding deficits will
create a drag on the economy and pass on record debts to future generations.
Our children and grandchildren deserve better.
"Instead of providing adequate resources for a meaningful prescription drug benefit, the Republican budget includes only $28 billion in new money for a Medicare prescription drug benefit, and envisions cuts in both Medicare and Medicaid that put hospitals, seniors, children and the disabled at risk. Americans deserve better.
"In contrast, the Democratic budget alternative drafted by Mr. Spratt balances the budget, creates jobs, provides a meaningful prescription drug benefit through Medicare, and keeps our promise to seniors, veterans, farmers, and the working families of America.
"The Democratic alternative invests in our children. The Republican budget indebts them.
"The Democratic alternative gives the American people the responsible budget they deserve. The Republican budget is reckless and irresponsible.
"With that, Im pleased to introduce the architect of our Democratic
budget alternative, my distinguished colleague from South Carolina, the Ranking
Democrat on the Budget Committee, John Spratt."
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