As Prepared for Delivery
Good morning and thank you to everyone for being here.
We meet today to consider the Fiscal Year 2016 budget resolution and I want to thank everyone who has been a part of developing these positive solutions to address our nation’s fiscal and economic challenges.
When we look at America today, we see a nation that is not living up to its economic or leadership potential. Too many of our neighbors are out of work or living paycheck to paycheck. Too many hardworking taxpayers are learning to do more with less while Washington is unwilling or unable to solve challenges with positive solutions.
We know we can do better and we must do better on behalf of the individuals, families and job creators all across this great country that get up every day and do their part to make our communities safe and strong.
The budget proposal we are considering here today is a plan to make Washington more efficient, more effective, and more accountable to those we serve – to create genuine opportunity and a healthier economy. Our plan honors our commitments to the American people so that we deliver real results.
First and foremost, we balance the budget. We achieve $5.5 trillion in savings over 10 years, eliminate annual deficits so we can begin to pay down the debt and avoid the fiscal crisis that is threatening our nation’s future.
This is not just some accounting exercise. Remember: every dollar paid in taxes and every dollar borrowed by Washington is a dollar that can’t be used by the people of this great country to buy a car, pay the rent, send a child to college or technical school, buy a house, or expand a business. Getting our debt under control will create meaningful and measureable results that will benefit every American. A balanced budget means a healthier economy where folks can have more confidence and certainty in the future. It means we avoid an out-of-control growth in the nation’s debt, in interest payments on that debt which by themselves will swallow critical spending priorities. We avoid future tax increases and true austerity measures that would harm families and job creators.
Our budget sets forth positive solutions to save, strengthen and secure programs like Medicare and Medicaid so they can actually deliver on the commitments that have been made to the American people.
In our budget, we ensure we are meeting our responsibility to provide for the defense of our nation – so we have a stronger, safer and more secure America. The brave men and women who protect our freedom need the resources to complete their missions. This budget honors our commitment to them, their families and to the veterans whose proud legacy they carry with them.
In a dangerous world, a future fiscal crisis would make the job of protecting and defending the American people that much more difficult. The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen has called our debt “the single, biggest threat to our national security.” That’s a threat our budget aims to defeat head-on. There can be no national security without economic security.
As we all know, too often Washington focuses on short-term political considerations rather than real problem solving – where rhetoric takes the place of real results. In our budget, we take an honest look at our vital government commitments – whether it is seniors on Medicare or veterans who have served this nation with honor and distinction – and we make sure that promises are kept and real results are achieved.
When it comes to controlling spending, we do not ask the American people to bail out Washington with higher taxes and more debt. We take our responsibilities seriously and genuinely address the drivers of the debt.
Our budget puts a premium on accountability, efficiency and effectiveness in all areas of the federal government. We streamline government functions and regulatory authority to stop taxpayer dollars from being wasted on programs that are not working.
We also acknowledge that the best ideas do not come from Washington. Year after year, we see more power concentrated in Washington where decisions are made with a one-size-fits-all approach.
America is a diverse nation. Our cities, states and local communities know best how to develop solutions that will best serve their people. Our budget realigns the relationship the federal government has with states and local communities by respecting and restoring the principle of federalism. From health care to education, states will be empowered to create their own solutions, free of onerous Washington mandates or overregulation.
This plan, A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America, is a blueprint for how we solve our nation’s fiscal and economic challenges. The success of these ideas is dependent on the courage and common sense of policymakers to break away from the failed policies of the past and pursue a new course. We are ready to turn these words into actions and produce real results for the American people.
Again, I appreciate very much the diligent work of the members of our committee and their staffs on this important endeavor, and I look forward to an open, honest and productive conversation here today.