Rep. Maloney Statement on House Passage of Federal Budget
Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney released the
following statement on this year’s federal budget, which passed the
House yesterday by a vote of 233 to 196. The Senate approved its
version of the budget yesterday, as well; a conference committee to
resolve difference between the two bills will be scheduled for later
The House budget resolution will reduce the federal budget deficit by nearly two-thirds, from the $1.8 trillion this year -most of which was inherited from the Bush administration- to $588 billion by 2013. The resolution advances many of President Obama’s top objectives, including a tax cut for 95% of Americans and significant investments in health care, education, and energy. The legislation also creates a federal reserve fund to help pay for programs to treat those who were injured or made sick by the 9/11 attacks and to help pass the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, one of Maloney’s top legislative priorities.
“This budget is the blueprint for strengthening our economy and putting people back to work,” said Maloney. “I’m proud to say that the House has met President Obama’s call to address the challenges facing our economy by making investments in accessible, affordable health care, energy independence, and quality education. The investments we make now will pay off later, as we emerge from this current crisis stronger and better prepared for challenges of the 21st century.”
“I would like to thank Chairman Spratt and the Budget Committee for including a deficit-neutral reserve fund in the budget resolution for 9/11 health programs, which will help pass the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act and ensure it is fully paid for. We have a moral responsibility to care for the heroes and heroines of 9/11, and this reserve fund is an important step toward fulfilling our obligation.”
Below are the full remarks Rep. Maloney delivered on the House floor on April 1st in support of the budget resolution.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney
Remarks on the House Budget Resolution
April 1, 2009
Madam Speaker, as Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, I am pleased to speak in the time reserved by the Budget Act for a discussion of economic goals and policies. I rise today to put our fiscal problems into a broader economic context.
Our budget is an important blueprint for getting our economy back on track by making critical investments in health care, clean energy, and education that will create jobs and enhance our global competitiveness. We will also restore fiscal responsibility by cutting the deficit by nearly two-thirds by 2013.
Throughout this budget debate it has been generally acknowledged that President Obama inherited a fiscal mess.
The previous administration had taken office facing a robust economy and a fiscally sound government. In January 2001, President Bush inherited a projected surplus of $5.6 trillion. We stood poised to deal with the budget challenges posed by the retirement of the baby-boom generation, and prepared to invest in improving the future standard of living of our children and grandchildren.
Under President Bush’s management, our economy set record after record – but they were all the wrong kind. His administration’s policies produced:
--Historically poor levels of job growth.
--The greatest gap between the haves and the have-nots since the 1920s.
--Record numbers of uninsured Americans (47 million in 2006, 45.6 million in 2007)
--A record $10.6 trillion federal debt when he left office and the largest single-year deficit in U.S. history ($459 billion in 2008 and left over a $1 trillion deficit in 2009).
--Record oil prices ($131/barrel June 2008, the highest since April 1980 after accounting for inflation).
--Record current account deficits
--Record declines in housing prices and home equity that are have left families owing more than their homes are worth (18.23% drop from 4th quarter 2007 to 4th quarter 2008).
As you can see in this chart, through a series of disastrous choices and flawed policies, the Bush administration squandered surpluses and left us with record deficits.
President Bush presided over a tragic and unprecedented reversal of fortune for our nation and for American families.
As this next chart shows, the eight year tenure of President Bush was a period of the slowest job growth of any administration in 75 years. His administration left us with a mere 2 million more jobs than when he came into office. Compare that to the eight years under President Clinton where nearly 23 million jobs --- more than ten times as many--- were created.
Despite his frequent assurances that his policies were working to make the economy stronger, President Bush earned the dubious distinction of presiding over not one, but two recessions.
After a jobless recovery from the recession in his first term, the economy fell back into recession in December of 2007, and has been shedding jobs at an alarming rate ever since. By nearly every measure, the 2001 to 2007 recovery period was among the weakest in the post-World War II period.
There were warning signs that all was not well. Over the recovery two measures that should have captured the positive growth effects President Bush was heralding – overall economic growth and the growth in fixed non-residential investment—grew more slowly than during other expansions, including the expansion of the 1990s when taxes were raised, not cut.
Consumption, net worth, wages and salaries, and employment also grew at remarkably slower rates during the Bush recovery than during other expansionary periods.
The one bright spot for some in the recovery was the large growth in profits that went to corporations -- driven in large part by the ever increasing productivity of the American worker.
However, the increases did not translate into bigger paychecks for hard working middle-class families. Unlike the expansion of the 1990s, under President Clinton, where workers’ productivity and compensation grew in tandem, during the 2000s recovery under President Bush, workers’ compensation lagged far behind their robust productivity growth. The increased wealth just went to a very few at the top of our economy, exacerbating the divide between the “haves” and “have nots”.
As this chart shows, the typical household’s income after accounting for inflation was actually $324 lower at the end of 2007, leaving them struggling to stay afloat even before the current recession hit.
It is now all too clear that even the relatively weak economic growth during the Bush Administration was not broadly shared and was built on an unstable foundation.
The soaring housing prices that helped fuel our economic recovery now appear to have been a classic asset bubble. The disastrous effects of the collapse of that bubble have now spread throughout our entire financial system and around the globe.
When President Obama took the oath of office on the steps of this building just two months ago, he immediately inherited a deficit of over $1 trillion for fiscal year 2009, and trillions more in deficits over the next ten years. He became heir to an economy in the worst crisis since the Great Depression.
Almost four and a half million jobs have been lost in the last 15 months. As this chart shows, in the waning days of the Bush Administration, the economy shrank at an astounding annual rate of 6.3 percent in the 4th quarter of 2008 --- the fastest rate of contraction in over 25 years.
In 2008, the final year of the Bush Administration, $11.2 trillion of wealth simply vanished into thin air as housing prices fell almost 20 percent.
Our gross federal debt stands at more than $10.6 trillion – nearly $35,000 per person in America. And as a share of our economy, that’s the highest level since 1955, when we were still paying off debts from World War II.
This is the fiscal mess President Obama inherited, and we have our work cut out for us to clean it up.
One year ago I stood here in this same spot, as part of this same process and pointed out that when our opponents were asked how to address our financial problems, their answer was to cut benefits for middle-class families, and cut taxes for the wealthiest few. And our opponents still offer the same solutions.
We propose a different course.
Restoring growth is key to getting our economy back on track. And spurring growth takes investment.
Congress has worked closely with President Obama in his first 70 days to develop an integrated and multi-pronged attack to revive the economy.
Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we have provided relief to middle-income taxpayers, invested in infrastructure, renewable energy and education to create and save millions of jobs, and extended unemployment befits for millions of jobless Americans.
Congress has also acted quickly with President Obama to reauthorize and expand the Children’s Health Insurance Program so that it now covers 11 million low-income children.
The economic recovery packages we passed were aimed at boosting demand in the short-term, because consumers are reluctant to spend – but we were careful not to enact provisions that will exacerbate our long-term deficits and debt.
This budget builds on those policies by making important additional investments that will strengthen our economy, invest in the future, and put us back on a path of fiscal responsibility.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, “rising costs for health care [are] the single greatest challenge to balancing the federal budget”.
Clearly containing health care costs is critical to addressing the country’s long-term fiscal challenges and we must act now.
That is why a key priority of our budget is health care reform, which will expand coverage, improve the quality of care, and address those skyrocketing costs of care that are weighing down our economy and putting pressure on family budgets.
During the last administration, the growing cost of care pushed the number of uninsured Americans to record levels. At the end of the recovery in 2007, there were 46 million uninsured Americans -- 7.2 million more than when President Bush took office.
I would like to thank Chairman Spratt and the Budget Committee for including a deficit-neutral reserve fund in the budget resolution for the 9/11 health programs, consistent with last year’s budget conference agreement.
This will provide some legislative flexibility for the Energy and Commerce and Judiciary Committees to pass H.R. 847, the 9/11 Health and Compensation Act and to ensure it is fully paid for under PAYGO rules.
H.R. 847 would provide medical monitoring and treatment to WTC responders and community members whose health has been impacted by Ground Zero toxins in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.
We have a moral obligation to care for the heroes and heroines of 9/11, and this reserve fund is an important step toward fulfilling our obligation.
Our budget also makes investments in education a priority so that every child has the opportunity to receive a quality education.
According to a report by the Education Trust, the United States is now the only industrialized country where young people are less likely than their parents to earn a high school diploma.
Improving education and training will prepare our children to compete and succeed in the global economy.
This budget builds on investments with further support for early childhood education, setting high standards and the providing the tools to achieve them for elementary and secondary school students.
This budget reaffirms our commitment to making college affordable for every American by raising the maximum Pell grant award to help more students obtain a college degree.
Our budget also embraces the President’s goal of increasing America’s energy independence and energy security. Record gas prices last summer left Americans at the mercy of the gas pump.
We build on the funding and tax incentives in the Recovery Act by expanding our investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency that will reduce America’s dependence on foreign energy. And we provide new training opportunities to prepare workers for “green jobs” in a clean energy economy.
Our budget is the blueprint for strengthening our economy and putting people back to work.
After eight years of misguided policies, we must be mindful of the future as we take steps rebuild our economy.
President Obama has called on us to address the systemic challenges facing our economy by making investments in accessible, affordable health care, energy independence, and quality education.
The investments we make now will pay off later as we emerge from this current crisis stronger and better prepared for challenges of the 21st century.