Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) Statement on the President’s Budget

“The President is right to put a spotlight on entitlement spending, which is growing much too fast and already consuming over 50 percent of the budget. Members of Congress should work together to fix this problem while keeping our taxes low.”

Posted on February 4, 2008

U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today issued the following statement after President Bush released his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2009: “The President is right to put a spotlight on entitlement spending, which is growing much too fast and already consuming over 50 percent of the budget. Members of Congress should work together to fix this problem while keeping our taxes low. As we debate this budget, I hope we’ll seize the opportunity to promote universal access to health care, give schools more flexibility and students more options, and maintain our brainpower advantage in math, science, and technology so that we aren’t losing good jobs to other countries. “The President deserves high marks for investing in education. His budget would provide funding to help low-income students and families that are stuck in struggling schools with the Pell Grants for Kids program and restore money for Reading First to help low-income children learn how to read. He also significantly increased funding for Pell Grants to make college more affordable for low-income students.” Alexander also highlighted the following items from the President’s budget: - Funding to increase the number of Border Patrol agents by 2,200 and the number of detention beds by 1,000. - $100 million to continue to expand the electronic employment eligibility verification system, which will help employers to ensure their employees are legally in this country. - $12.2 billion total for the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy’s Office of Science, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology that keeps the President’s promise to double funding for physical sciences in the near term to keep America’s brainpower advantage. This represents a funding increase of 15 percent above the 2008 enacted total of $10.6 billion. - $100 million for the President’s Centennial Challenge that will go toward operations and maintenance of the 390 parks across the country and could be boosted by up to $100 million more in matching funds if private groups invest in our parks. This program may result in over $2 billion in investments in our National Parks over the next 10 years. - $368 million to the Department of Energy’s Computing office, including about $86.7 million of that specifically for the Leadership Class Computing facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. - $42 million for construction of the new Chickamauga lock on the Tennessee River that, when completed in 2010, will be able to process significantly more shipping and lead to potentially more than 100,000 trucks off I-75 each year.