Schumer Calls Out GOP on Deficit: "There They Go Again"
Republicans promised during the 2010 campaigns to reduce the deficit, but they're ignoring a number of pricey priorities that Democrats say will balloon the deficit by more than $1 trillion.
"So much for cutting the deficit," Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer told reporters at a press conference today. "On the first day on the job, Republicans are already spending trillions more than they plan to cut."
On the first day of the 112th Congress, Republicans passed new House rules, some aimed at fiscal responsibility. For instance, the "cut-go" rule dictates that any new federal spending must be offset by spending cuts elsewhere -- not by increasing revenues. The "cut-go" rule replaces the Democrats' "pay-go" rule, which said that any new spending had to be paid for.
However, Republicans are exempting some of their costly priorities from the new rules -- including a proposed permanent extension of the Bush-era tax cuts and a proposed extension of relatively low estate tax rates. They're also exempting the cost of the repeal of the Democrats' health care overhaul, which the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates will add $230 billion to the deficit over ten years.
"The new Republican Congress looks a lot like the last Republican Congress," Schumer chided, recalling when the budget surplus left under President Clinton was diminished and turned into a deficit. The GOP's addition of $1 trillion to the deficit "makes you just shake your head and say, 'There they go again,'" he said.
Schumer said that the House Republicans' "reckless" policies will be "dead on arrival" in the Democratic-led Senate.
"We know we have to reduce spending," he said. "We're going to actually do it, not just promise it and walk away from it on the first day."
Schumer, along with Democratic Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), focused particularly on the impact of repealing the health care overhaul. Durbin noted that the repeal is not only anticipated to add to the deficit, but it would leave tens of millions of Americans without health care. He called it a "personal family tragedy."
The major elements of the health care reforms have yet to be enacted, so most of the people expected to acquire health insurance because of the new laws are still lacking coverage. On CBS's "The Early Show" this morning, new House Majority Leader Eric Cantor called the CBO's projections about the overhaul's cost savings "budget gimmickry."
The newly-empowered Republicans are also aiming to scale back the Democrats' Wall Street reforms and have suggested they may not give the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) the increased budgets they have requested to meet their new responsibilities. Durbin warned that the hundreds of new jobs added to the SEC to prevent another Bernie Madoff-style scandal "would be on the chopping block."
Schumer warned that the markets will benefit from increased enforcement of the rules and Republicans would "rue the day they cut enforcement."
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