Statement Of Sen. Alexander - Budget

Posted on March 10, 2005

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, commented on the chairman’s mark following the budget hearing last night. “The most important thing about this $2.6 trillion budget is that it accomplishes the president’s goal of cutting the deficit in half over the next four years. It also: · Makes $5 billion available for the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act; · Supports increases in Pell grants for low-income students to attend college by $100 bringing the amount available to $4,150 and rewards those students receiving Pell grants who graduate in 4 years with $4,000 in loan forgiveness; · For the first time ever designates $350 million each year for 3 years to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Forest Legacy Program and the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program from revenues generated from drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge; · Allows Tennesseans to deduct our state and local sales taxes for five more years; · Makes it more difficult for Congress to impose new spending programs on state and local governments. This is not an easy budget. This budget requires fiscal discipline, but it also funds a number of priorities for Tennessee and this country. In areas where there is lower growth in federal spending, I will continue to argue strongly to give states more flexibility on how to spend that money.”