Thank you Chairman Enzi.
I’d like to begin by commending you for putting forward a realistic and responsible budget.
I know that many competing priorities were taken into account.
You made difficult choices and came up with a plan with necessary spending restraint to put us on a path to budget balance.
The budget provides a reasonable and realistic path to budget balance, which we do need to reach.
Our debt is unsustainably high and growing.
During the Obama administration, debt held by the public more than doubled. It increased by more than $8 trillion.
We saw deficits well above $1 trillion for four straight years. Three of those years were after the recession ended.
Our deficits and debt have been driven overwhelmingly by unsustainable spending, most of which is mandatory.
As I have said before, and as CBO has warned for quite some time now, federal spending is on an unsustainable course.
And, with all due respect to my colleagues on the other side, there isn’t enough revenue available from taxing the so-called rich to fund our existing spending promises. Let alone to fund an expansion of those promises.
The budget includes provisions that relate to the Finance Committee, which I Chair. It includes an instruction for $50 billion of deficit reduction over five years.
The Finance Committee has wide-ranging jurisdiction and covers programs amounting to trillions of dollars of federal receipts and outlays.
The way that we’d get deficit reduction would have to be the result of bipartisan cooperation and compromise.
And the Finance Committee is already underway with bipartisan efforts to try to bring federal health spending down by tackling high and confusing drug prices.
The budget also includes several reserve funds for various purposes. One is for promotion of economic growth and prosperity for American workers.
One way to promote growth and continue to help workers is, as the budget recognizes, extending parts of tax reform that applies to individual income taxation.
In tax reform, we cut tax rates and made the individual taxes even more progressive. We reduced the tax burden on lower- and middle-income taxpayers and small businesses.
The tax-rate cuts, doubling of the standard deduction, and expanded child tax credit give real benefits to hardworking American workers and families.
Make no mistake, tax reform is fueling the economy.
I’d be remiss, in light of recent catastrophic flooding that hit Iowa and our neighbors in Nebraska and Missouri, not to highlight for my colleagues two budget amendments that I have put forward.
One is designed to increase cooperation among various departments, agencies and state governments in disaster response, recovery, and mitigation.
And another gives focus to flood control for operations of the Missouri River.
Disasters are difficult. Disaster response can use improvement.
Once again, Chairman Enzi, I commend you for the hard work you have put in to deliver a responsible and reasonable budget to put the country on a path to budget balance.