Reid: Rather Than Picking Fights, President Should Work with Congress To Complete Spending Bills

Washington, DCSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the following statement today in response to President Bush’s remarks this morning:

“Among other issues, this year the Senate has worked hard to change course in Iraq, strengthen homeland security, provide health care for our children and balance the budget.  The President has stood in the way every time. His comments today once again made clear that he is more interested in picking fights than problem-solving. Our differences amount to less than one percent of the budget, less than half of what the President wants to spend on tax breaks for those with incomes over $1 million, and less than what we spend in two months on the war in Iraq.

“Democrats are committed to completing these important spending bills – a priority made even more urgent by this Administration’s reckless fiscal policy that in six years has turned a $236 billion surplus into a $248 billion deficit, leaving key domestic programs unfunded or under-funded.  Instead of threatening vetoes and dodging accountability, we urge the President to work with us to fund our national priorities.”

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CHECKING THE RECORD: President Bush and the Budget

President Bush today criticized Democrats in Congress on fiscal issues. But the Bush-Republican record on fiscal responsibility is marked by rising spending, deficits and debt. Democrats are committed to returning to fiscal responsibility while fully funding our nation’s priorities, like providing for our veterans and ensuring our homeland security.

THE BUSH-REPUBLICAN RECORD: APPROPRIATIONS BILLS LATE AND OVER BUDGET

Republican Congress Failed to Pass Almost Half of Appropriations Bills. During Bush’s first six years in office, 38 appropriations bills were enacted individually while 36 were covered through omnibus spending bills, minibus spending bills or continuing resolutions. [Congressional Research Service]

President Bush Signed Legislation that Exceeded His Request. In each of the past five years, President Bush has signed appropriations levels that exceeded his request for total discretionary spending. [Congressional Research Service]

  • President Bush Signed Appropriations Bills That Far Exceeded His Request. In FY 2006, President Bush agreed to regular appropriations bills that exceeded his request by $53 billion – more than twice the increase proposed in this year’s Congressional budget resolution. In FY 2002, President Bush agreed to appropriations that were more than $19 billion over his request.  [Congressional Research Service]

President Bush Never Vetoed a Spending Bill from the Republican Congress. “Before Democrats took control of Congress from Republicans in January, Bush never vetoed any of these regular spending bills, even though they created record deficits and ran up the federal debt by about $3 trillion.” [Associated Press, 7/26/07]

President Bush Has Signed Just 7 Appropriations Bills Before the Start of the Fiscal Year. In his six years in office, President Bush has signed just seven appropriations bills before the start of the fiscal year. [Congressional Research Service]

President Bush Has Signed Just 3 Appropriations Bills Before the August Recess Since He Took Office. In his six years in office, President Bush has signed just three appropriations bills before the August recess. Only one of those three bills was a defense spending bill. [Congressional Research Service]

THE BUSH-REPUBLICAN RECORD: EXPLODING SPENDING, SOARING DEFICITS AND DEBT

President Bush and the Republican Congress Increased Federal Spending by 50 Percent.  Federal outlays in Fiscal Year 2001 totaled $1.86 trillion.  The Administration now estimates that outlays in Fiscal Year 2007 will total $2.8 trillion. [Mid-Session Review, Office of Management and Budget, July 2007]

On President Bush’s Watch, Record Surpluses Turned into Record Deficits. President Bush inherited a unified budget surplus of $236 billion, the largest surplus in American history. The Bush Administration took these surpluses, and turned them into the three largest deficits in US history, including reaching a record of $413 billion in 2004. [Office of Management and Budget] 

President Bush and the Republican Congress Increased Debt by More Than $3 Trillion. Under President Bush and the Republican Congress, our national debt has risen by $3 trillion to $8.9 trillion, or about $30,000 for every man, woman and child in America. [US Department of the Treasury]

President Bush and the Republican Congress Doubled Foreign-Held Debt. President Bush and the Republican Congress have doubled our foreign debt to more than $2 trillion. It took 42 presidents 224 years to build up the same level of foreign debt. [Senate Budget Committee] 

Republican Congress Failed to Adopt a Budget.  Last year, as in 2004, the Republican Congress failed to approve a budget resolution.  [CQ Budget Tracker]