Welcome all to this important hearing on the difficult fiscal and economic challenges before us.
I welcome Congressional Budget Office Director Doug Elmendorf to the Budget Committee. I thank you Doug and your entire CBO staff for their hard work on the release of the annual Budget and Economic Outlook.
There is no question about it: The outlook is grim.
According to CBO’s outlook, 2012 will mark the fourth straight year of trillion-dollar deficits. Trillions more dollars will be added to the debt in the years ahead, putting a chilling effect on job creation today, and committing the next generation to a diminished future. CBO projects economic growth to remain sluggish and the unemployment rate to hover near 9 percent through 2014.
This report confirms what too many Americans are already painfully aware of: President Obama’s economic policies are not working.
The President and his party’s leaders successfully enacted much of their agenda, but they have failed to advance policies that get our economy growing and creating jobs. They have failed to advance solutions that get our fiscal house in order. In the Senate, they have failed to pass a budget in over 1,000 days.
The problems have been growing for years, and there is no question that the blame is bipartisan in nature. For years, politicians from both political parties have failed to be honest with the American people about the size and scope of the debt threat.
The new House Majority has worked to chart a new course with bold solutions. In this committee, we authored and advanced a principled reform agenda that provides a brighter fiscal and economic outlook. The House-passed budget strengthens our critical health and retirement security programs, repairs the safety net, reforms the broken tax code, and puts government spending on a sustainable path.
In response to our budget, the President and his party’s leaders have still not put forward a credible budget plan to tackle our problems.
We have big differences of opinion on the big questions of the day, but it is not enough to simply criticize. It is not simply enough to oppose – we need to propose real solutions instead of resorting to the same old false attacks.
Here at the Budget Committee, we’ve worked in a bipartisan manner to advance budget reforms aimed at reducing the deficit and improving accountability. There are ongoing efforts to build a bipartisan coalition on the critical need to save and strengthen Medicare. I invite the President and my friends across the aisle to join this conversation.
The CBO’s Outlook could not be more ominous. I look forward to your testimony, Director Elmendorf, which I hope can help inform and guide this committee as we work to advance solutions in the year ahead.
With that, I yield to Ranking Member, Mr. Van Hollen.