Senator Ayotte: “I know we’re better than this”
United States Senator Kelly Ayotte, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, announced her opposition to the debt agreement today in a speech delivered on the Senate floor during the debates.
Ayotte voiced her strong concern that the reduction of $917 billion in the deficit would actually result in an $830 billion increase in discretionary spending. She said a minimum reduction of $4 trillion is needed to stabilize debt and preserve AAA rating.
“If you just look at the reduction from what we will spend in fiscal year 2012, it’s really only a $7 billion reduction in spending between what we will spend in 2011 and 2012. We borrow $4 billion a day to sustain our government, so the spending reductions between what we spent in 2011-2012 is not even two days of borrowing for the United States of America. Many of the cuts are in the out years [beyond 2015], and you know what happens in Washington when the cuts are in the out years? Unfortunately, our history has been that they don’t get done. That’s why I’m concerned about the $917 billion claim in reductions, which is not a reduction in spending.”
The NH Senator mentioned the US Government Accountability Office reports that came out in March revealing hundreds of duplicative federal programs. Ayotte stated that reduction in the size of the government and elimination of duplication would save “billions and billions” and these cuts were not included in the agreement.
Ayotte concluded saying the agreement would bring an additional trillion dollars in debt each year and does not commit the necessary reform to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
“Finally, does it change the trajectory of where we are going with our debt to preserve our country? No, under this agreement we will continue to add about a trillion dollars a year to our debt, a debt that is already $14 trillion, and it does nothing to strengthen our entitlement programs. We know from the trustees of Medicare that that program is going bankrupt in 2024. We know from Social Security that that program is going to be bankrupt in 2036. Yet we have not taken on that fundamental problem in this agreement, which is, how do we reform those programs to preserve them for Americans that are relying on them and to sustain them for future beneficiaries?”
“While I appreciate that we are beginning to change the discussion here in Washington, I cannot support this agreement. I appreciate that it’s very important that we avoid default, but I know that we are better than this. I know that we can do more to make sure that we preserve the greatest country on earth. We need to take on the fundamental problems, the chronic overspending in Washington. We can’t continue to say that a reduction is a reduction when it’s not, when we’re continuing to spend more money because at home people look at that and they say give me a break, that’s not how I do my family budget. We have to tell the truth to the American people and make the hard decisions. I know that we can come together and get something done here that will fundamentally change the direction that we’re headed in. That’s why I’m disappointed about this agreement, because it doesn’t do that.”