Remarks as prepared for delivery:
Good morning, and thank you everyone for being here.
I want to especially thank Mr. Mulvaney, the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, for being here today to discuss the President’s budget and spending priorities. We look forward to hearing his remarks.
While Article I of the constitution gives Congress the power of the purse, the federal budget is a collaborative process.
The Administration, this committee and our counterparts in the Senate work together to build a budget that reflects our unified priorities.
For the last eight years, we’ve seen budgets from the White House that reflect the status quo of more spending, more regulation and never even trying to achieve balance.
Over the same period, economic stagnation led the Congressional Budget Office to continually downgrade their projections for economic growth.
And what’s the result of more spending, more regulation and slower economic growth? It’s a larger debt burden on future generations of Americans, a burden that reflects a moral failure to face challenges head on.
This administration and this committee agree wholeheartedly on our responsibility to improve our country’s fiscal situation and put us on a path to a balanced budget that allows us to start paying down our national debt.
Our friends across the aisle will no doubt defend the status quo of the Obama years, where the national debt increased by over $9 trillion, the largest increase for any presidency.
Their solutions – which are to simply keep doing what we’ve been doing – are not only unsustainable, they are an abdication of our responsibility to current and future generations.
Our fiscal situation is not just problematic, it is dire. According to the CBO, the federal debt held by the public, which currently stands at 77 percent of gross domestic product, will rise to 150 percent of GDP in the next 30 years if we do nothing.
Over that same period of time, deficits will rise from 2.9 percent of GDP to 9.8 percent of GDP. These are levels of debt and deficits that have never been seen before in American history and are well beyond what economists predict would result in crisis.
The CBO says that maintaining the status quo would “reduce national saving and income in the long term; increase the government’s interest costs, putting more pressure on the rest of the budget; limit lawmakers’ ability to respond to unforeseen events; and increase the likelihood of a fiscal crisis.”
Let me repeat that last line; doing nothing and continuing the status quo will result in a fiscal crisis.
Put simply, the status quo is not an option. This committee and this administration are committed to building a federal budget that begins to deal with our out-of-control spending, incentivizes economic growth through tax and regulatory reform, and makes sure that government works for the people, not for bureaucrats.
Our committee and this administration also agree on a commitment to funding our military.
The threats to our national and homeland security continue to grow. The previous administration left the world less safe and secure, with growing threats from all corners of the globe.
Ensuring the safety and security of our nation is the first and foremost responsibility of the federal government, and we should give our men and women in uniform the resources they need to complete this mission.
I applaud the president for making our national defense a top priority once again.
As our committee and our Senate counterparts go through this process of building our budget resolution, the input from Administration officials, such as Mr. Mulvaney, is an invaluable resource to provide information, background and details on the goals of President Trump.
Balancing the budget over ten years presents major challenges, but also great opportunity.
For the first time since I’ve been serving on the Budget Committee, we have a president who is willing to take action to reform government and get our fiscal house in order.
Our budget resolution is no longer a vision document; it is a blueprint for building the better America we’ve promised our constituents for years.
It is our opportunity to show real progress in limiting the size and scope of government, ensuring our children and grandchildren aren’t burdened by unsustainable levels of debt, and preserving a safe and strong America.
I know that working together we can find the right solutions for the American people.
Thank you, and with that, I yield to the Ranking Member, Mr. Yarmuth.