Alexander on Spending Bill: “Will We or Will We Not Stop Spending Money We Don’t Have? That’s the Question”

Votes to Cut $57 Billion in Spending Over Next Seven Months

Posted on March 9, 2011

“The House [Republicans are] willing to take difficult steps, the Democratic majority says that we can only [save] an amount that equals the debt we’re piling up in one 24-hour period, and the President is missing in action.” – Lamar Alexander 

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today voted for H.R. 1, a bill that would reduce government spending by $57 billion between now and the end of fiscal year 2011 (Sept. 30), calling the legislation “a surer step toward a bright path for America’s future.” Alexander voted against a competing spending proposal by Senate Democrats that would have reduced government spending by just $4.7 billion over the same time period.

“Our friends on the other side suggest that we solve a problem of this dimension by reducing spending by $4.7 billion—by tomorrow about this time, we’ll have piled up as much more debt as they propose to save. That’s not urgent, that’s not responsible, that’s not dealing with difficult decisions in the way people expect us to,” Alexander said. “The Senate will have its own priorities when we pass a bill, but I applaud the Republicans in the House of Representatives for stepping up and making difficult decisions.”

Speaking on the floor of the Senate today, Alexander said: “The question is: Will we or will we not stop spending money we don’t have? Do we have the courage and the common sense and the sense of responsibility to make difficult decisions for the future of our country when it comes to spending and debt?”

“Forty cents of every dollar the federal government spends is borrowed—much of it from China. Here’s another fact: We’re piling up new debt at the rate of $4 billion a day. Here’s another fact: Last month was the shortest month of the year—February—this year’s deficit in just that month was the largest in history: $223 billion.”

“The Republicans in the House of Representatives have stepped up and have made difficult decisions: we may not agree with every single detail of the decision and the Senate will have its own priorities when it passes a bill, but I and I think many others on this side of the aisle are going to vote for HR 1 because it is a surer step toward reducing spending and stopping our country from spending money we don’t have.

“The purpose of the vote I’ll cast today is to say we have an urgent need that needs to be addressed. We have a sense of responsibility toward that decision—we can’t solve much of it today, but we can solve some of it today, and I believe the time to start addressing this urgent need is now.”

“This is an urgent need facing our country: 40 cents out of every dollar is borrowed; $2.2 trillion coming in, $3.7 trillion going out; 47 top economists two weekends ago saying it’s the most urgent need facing our country; the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff saying it’s our biggest national security threat—the debt. Debt costs jobs—debt at this level costs about a million jobs a year.”

“I ask, where is the President of the United States of America in this debate? His debt commission came out months ago—recommended $4 trillion in savings. No support from the President. … The president offered his budget a few weeks ago—no plan for reducing the federal debt.” 

“The House is willing to take difficult steps, the Democratic majority says that we can only find an amount that equals the debt we’re piling up in one 24-hour period, and the President is missing in action. Mr. President, I respectfully say, that is not leadership. We need the President of the United States to join us in an effort to stop our country from spending money that we don’t have, making difficult decisions about spending so we can assure the strength and future of our country.”

“The other side says we can find $4.7 billion to save. We say we can start with $57 billion. I will vote for the $57 billion and against the $4.7 billion because that is a surer step toward a bright path for America’s future.”

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