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Senator Stabenow Delivers Opening Statement at Budget Conference Committee

Wednesday, Oct 30, 2013

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow delivered her opening statement at today's opening of the bipartisan budget conference committee.  The full text of her remarks as prepared for delivery can be found below.


U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow's Opening Statement

2013 Budget Conference Committee

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And I want to thank Chairman Murray for her important leadership as well. It is critical that we are sitting down in a bipartisan way to focus on our priorities as a nation.

We know that government needs to do more with less - and we are. We are streamlining government by getting rid of programs and policies that don't work and don't make sense.

We have already cut $2.5 trillion from the $4 trillion goal we set for reducing the debt over the next ten years. Together, we have the opportunity to take the next step in meeting that goal. A step that needs to be balanced in its approach, using smart decisions - not reckless ones.

As you know, I chair the Senate Agriculture Committee and we took this same approach with the Senate Farm Bill. When it becomes law, it will reduce the deficit by at least $20 billion by consolidating and streamlining programs, ending wasteful subsidies, and eliminating waste, fraud and abuse while setting the right priorities to support farmers and families.

I served in the House the last time we actually balanced the budget. President Clinton was in office and we balanced the budget for the first time in 30 years by making tough choices to grow our economy and strengthen the middle class - and we can do it again with a reasonable, balanced plan that doesn't sacrifice the future and doesn't sacrifice opportunity and prosperity for middle class families.

As you know, a budget is a blueprint for the country we want to build together. It is a statement of our national priorities. And for me, the most important goal is to make sure the right people and the right priorities are at the front of the line.

That means making sure our children have access to a world-class education, from pre-school to college.

It means that when those children grow up, they can get good-paying jobs so they can own a home, buy a car, and raise a family.

It means rebuilding our middle-class by creating jobs and opportunities for small businesses, advanced manufacturing, and the innovative jobs that will fuel our economy for decades to come.

And it means standing up for our seniors and retirees, protecting the Medicare and Social Security benefits they have earned after a lifetime of hard work.

This budget needs to be about jobs and our economic plan for moving our country forward. Because we will never get out of debt with 11 million Americans out of work.

To move our country forward it is essential that we stop the reckless policy of sequestration. The sequester blindly cuts everything - things that are working and things that aren't. Things that are important as well as things that aren't.

It recklessly cuts health care for our veterans.

It recklessly slashes funding for life-saving medical research.

It recklessly cuts investments in education and innovation. And because of that reckless approach, we have seen sluggish job growth that is holding our economy back. That makes absolutely no sense.

So I strongly agree with Chairman Murray that our number one goal needs to be replacing the reckless sequester policy with a balanced, smart plan that continues the work we have done on deficit reduction while growing our economy for the future.

I look forward to the work of our conference committee. People across America are urging us to come together to pass a bipartisan budget that puts middle class families at the front of the line.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.



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