Chairman Womack Opening Remarks at Hearing on President’s FY19 Budget Request

As prepared for delivery during today’s hearing:

Good morning and welcome to the House Budget Committee’s hearing on President Trump’s budget request for fiscal year 2019.

During our hearing, we will hear directly from Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Thanks for being with us today, Director Mulvaney. Your insight will be very helpful in our understanding.

Receipt of the President’s budget each year marks the beginning of the federal budgeting process, or “budget season” as we call it, and the White House officially kicked it off earlier this week.

While Congress ultimately controls the purse strings, the President’s budget request is still an important document for lawmakers to consider along the way.

Each fiscal year, the Administration’s budget documents the President’s policy and spending priorities.

These recommendations to Congress are important for the Budget Committees in both chambers to consider as work crafting a budget resolution begins in earnest.

Without question, there are plenty of worthwhile ideas included in the President’s budget request this year.

First, I am encouraged that the Administration prioritizes and boosts the investment in our national defense.

With mounting threats to our security both at home and abroad, it is critical that we provide for a strong and capable military.

And we must ensure our warfighters have the necessary resources and training to complete the missions with which they are tasked today and those with which they will be tasked in the future.

I am also glad to see the Administration confront head on the issue of opioid abuse, which has turned into a nationwide epidemic.

More than 115 Americans die every single day from opioid overdose, so we can all agree this is a serious, rampant problem that can no longer be ignored.

Additionally, the Administration’s budget request calls for enhancements in security at America’s borders, reflecting President Trump’s commitment to address our broken immigration system.

There is no question that America’s infrastructure is in dire need of attention.

This request also proposes funding for an infrastructure overhaul – more detail on the initiative was also released earlier this week.

I welcome President Trump’s plan to cure decades of neglect and ultimately build a safe, fast, reliable, and modern infrastructure to meet the needs of the American people and the economy.

Last in this list of examples but certainly not least, I appreciate that the President’s budget – An American Budget – acknowledges fiscal reality and takes significant steps towards reducing the deficit.

The President’s budget projects $3 trillion in deficit reduction, including $1.7 trillion in mandatory savings, bringing us to within one percent of GDP in the 10-year window.

The budget emphasizes the need for efficient, effective, and accountable use of taxpayer dollars and takes real steps to target waste, fraud, and abuse in government.

These are all good things for our country, and we will certainly consider embracing the President’s best ideas.

However, it’s important to remember that even with the positive economic impact of tax reform that is being felt across the nation by hardworking Americans, the financial state of our country is still undeniably grave.

And the President’s budget certainly highlights this sobering reality.

While there are many worthy policy proposals in this budget request, it’s also very telling of our financial situation that the proposal does not get to balance.

It should always be the goal to get a budget to balance.

Every year we neglect to do so, the task becomes more daunting and difficult.

In order to slow down and ultimately pay down our nation’s unsustainable debt, we have to make tough choices.

And so as our work writing the budget resolution begins within the House Budget Committee, balance remains our goal.

However, today and in the coming days, our committee will carefully consider the President’s suggestions and work to incorporate many of his budget ideas.

Thank you, and with that, I yield to the Ranking Member, Mr. Yarmuth.