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U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement at Senate Budget Committee Hearing on Balanced and Responsible Budget Plan

Washington D.C. – The Senate Budget Committee held a hearing today to release, mark up, and vote on the Concurrent Resolution on the Budget for Fiscal Year 2014.  U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s statement as prepared for delivery appears below.

Statement of U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin

I want to thank Chairman Murray for continuing the process of tackling the dual challenges our country faces today – stabilizing our debt and deficit without shortchanging our future, and continuing to move our economic recovery forward.

In the past two years, we’ve made strong progress with a balanced approach that has achieved $2.4 trillion in bipartisan deficit reduction. Now we need to do more to reach our goal of reducing the deficit by $4 trillion. We also need to do more to grow our economy. With our nation’s unemployment at the lowest point in the past four years, now is the time to continue taking a balanced and responsible path forward. 

The budget released yesterday by my friend and fellow Wisconsinite doesn’t do that. Ryan’s approach is not a balanced or serious solution to the challenges we face. The numbers don’t add up. The promises we have made to seniors are broken. The burden of deficit reduction is placed disproportionally on the middle class. And Ryan’s budget puts up a road block for our economic recovery.

I have said repeatedly that our budgets are statements of our values and our priorities as Americans. For me and for the people of Wisconsin, that means strengthening the essential pillars of economic security for the middle class – quality education, affordable health care, a good paying job and retirement security. I want to see a budget that holds true to the belief that in America, everyone should pay their fair share and everyone deserves a fair shot.

The budget that will be offered by Chairman Murray meets this standard.

This is a budget that moves our economic recovery forward, puts Americans back to work, strengthens the middle class, and reduces our deficit. Instead of locking in the arbitrary cuts of the sequester that will slow our economic growth and cost our economy 750,000 jobs, the budget makes smart spending cuts and invests in our economy in way that will help us build off the 236,000 jobs our country created last month.

Unlike the Ryan proposal, our budget confronts wasteful tax expenditures for corporations that ship American jobs overseas. Instead of cutting the investment of Head Start for our children, we should close tax loopholes for hedge fund managers on Wall Street. And instead of breaking our promises to seniors we should cut spending in the tax code for millionaires and billionaires.

Our budget also builds on the $700 billion in Medicare savings included in the Affordable Care Act. Savings that extended the solvency of Medicare. We produce additional savings in Medicare that don’t cut benefits, and don’t shift the burden to seniors- increasing their out of pocket expenses. We have shown, and continue to show today that we can achieve costs savings without breaking our promises.

Stabilizing our debt and deficit are worthy goals and we are more than half way there. However, as the President said in the State of the Union, a deficit reduction plan alone is not an economic plan. While we are clearly facing a fiscal deficit that has been years in the making, we are also facing an infrastructure deficit, a workforce development deficit and a research and development deficit. Addressing these deficits will help set the stage for long-term economic growth.

Through a balanced and responsible approach we are moving in the right direction to reduce deficit and grow our economy. Today, with this budget plan we are staking a claim to the path of progress we are on. It is the right path forward for the economy and the right path for hard working middle class families.

Again, I would like to thank Chairman Murray and her staff for the work they have done in crafting this balanced approach and I look forward to tomorrow’s markup.