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Yarmuth Opening Statement at Members’ Day Hearing on FY19 Budget

May 10, 2018

Washington, D.C. – Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth, Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, gave the following opening statement at today’s Members’ Day hearing on the FY19 budget. Remarks as delivered are below:

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. I am pleased to join you in welcoming our witness – at  least, our one witness - for Members’ Day. This annual hearing is a great opportunity to hear from Members about their priorities for our country. 

As we all know, the budgets we debate in this Committee are about choices….choices that directly affect our constituents and the nation as a whole. Each decision has consequences, sometimes good, sometimes bad, that American people have to live with for decades to come.

Unfortunately, last year’s Republican budget fell squarely in the “bad for the American people” category. It paved the way for a partisan tax law that overwhelmingly benefits the wealthy and big corporations at the expense of hard-working American families. At the same time, it increases our deficits by nearly $2 trillion.  But that’s not an unintended consequence, it’s part the GOP’s three-step plan that has failed the American people again and again. First, Republicans give huge tax cuts to the wealthy. Second, they cry and feign outrage about the skyrocketing deficits they just created. Third, they insist the new deficits are purely a spending problem and call for extreme cuts to programs that are vital to American families.

But what we need from this Committee, what the American people need from us, is an honest debate about the fiscal challenges facing our nation, a truthful process that acknowledges that we cannot produce a responsible budget without considering the revenue side of the balance sheet.  Our constituents look to us to protect the national and economic security of our country.  They rely on retirement benefits and access to health care.  They want to see investments in education, job training, innovation, and infrastructure. And they want us to pay for it in a fair way.

I look forward to hearing from our colleague on his priorities for the budget. Thank you, Chairman Womack, and I yield back the balance of my time.