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Congressman Bobby Scott

Representing the 3rd District of Virginia

WHAT DO WE HAVE TO LOSE: $54 BILLION IN DOMESTIC SPENDING

March 27, 2017
Floor Statements

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, the budget is about choices, and those choices involve arithmetic. Apparently, the Republican strategy on the budget does not recognize arithmetic. When you start with a deficit, their strategy to deal with the deficit is to increase defense spending and to pass massive tax cuts. That will not end up helping the deficit.

   As we have seen with the choice in health care, they made bad choices. Whatever you think about the Affordable Care Act, their plan was demonstrably worse. Their plan would increase the number of people uninsured by 24 million, bring higher prices and worse policies, but tax cuts for millionaires.

   What I couldn't understand was not what were the ups and downs for politics, but who was for that--24 million more uninsured, higher prices, and worse policies?

   Democrats will work with Republicans to improve the Affordable Care Act, but we are not going halfway and saying only 12 million uninsured and slightly higher prices and slightly worse policies. If we are going to have a policy to increase the number of insured, lower prices, and provide better policies, we will work.

   We can also produce a better budget. For almost an hour, we have heard the problems with the budget introduced by the President of the United States. The Congressional Black Caucus is not just about complaints. We have a budget, and it is a responsible budget.

   We make choices. The choices avoid those devastating cuts that we have heard about. The Congressional Black Caucus budget is realistic. It requires $3.9 trillion in additional revenues, but it outlines over $10 trillion in choices that could be made to come up with that money, possibilities like canceling the Bush tax cuts. That is $3.9 trillion right off the bat. Over $10 trillion in total choices.

   First, with that revenue, we cancel the sequester both for nondefense and for defense. Then we make investments in the future of American families with investments in education, job-creating infrastructure, the environment, scientific research, and maintain a strong social safety net. In the end, we reduce the deficit by a cumulative amount of an over $2 trillion reduction in the deficit.

   So let's be clear. we are going to make choices with the budget, choices like we made a few years ago. People say a lot about the proposal by Senator Bernie Sanders and $900 billion for free college. Could we afford that? Just think, a couple of years ago, we passed, with one vote, an extension in tax cuts of $3.9 trillion. We could have, with the same amount of money, extended $3 trillion in tax cuts, and with the money left over, free college, but we didn't make that choice. All $3.9 trillion went to tax cuts. The $900 billion could have gone to free college.

   Make no mistake about it, we are making choices. This year, again, we will make choices with our budget: massive tax cuts, or we can focus on a better feature and produce a more humane and responsible budget. I would hope that this year we make the right choice.