Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor ahead of President Biden releasing his budget for Fiscal Year 2024. Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:
Today, as we all know, President Biden will release his budget for Fiscal Year 2024.
As promised, the President’s budget is set to be a bold, optimistic, and serious proposal for strengthening our economy and creating opportunities to climb into the middle class, as well as helping people stay there once they get in the middle class.
The President’s budget succeeds where Republicans have failed, by presenting a realistic blueprint for lowering the deficit without cutting benefits tens of millions of Americans rely upon.
Unlike Republicans, the President’s plan actually protects Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, while building on Democrats’ work to lower prescription drug costs and save taxpayer dollars. Again, Republicans love to talk about deficit cuts and saving tax dollars, but Democrats are the ones actually getting it done.
The President’s budget prioritizes a strong defense. It offers robust support for Ukraine, which after last night’s brutal missile barrages, remains as urgent as ever.
Unlike Republicans, the President’s plan invests in America instead of starving it. The President’s budget invests in advanced manufacturing and high-tech jobs and scientific research, job training, education, apprenticeships.
And the President’s budget asks the wealthiest Americans to pay just a little more of their fair share in taxes, so programs like Medicare remain solvent for decades. Just about all Americans think this is just plain fair, because there is no justification for the ultra-wealthy to have a lower tax burden—on a percentage basis—than teachers and nurses and cab drivers and firefighters.
I want to thank President Biden for laying down an optimistic, forward-thinking vision for our country. This is what Americans want. They want real stuff. They want positive thinking about the future and help for those in the middle class to stay there, and for those struggling to get to the middle class, to make it a little easier to get there.
But I really want to thank my Republican colleagues who’ve done a great job highlighting all the ways they want to cut health programs and give the ultra-rich yet another payday. I’m impressed at how effectively Republicans are making the argument on Democrat’s behalf.
Because while Democrats want to help average Americans, a group of House Republicans are working, right now, with former Trump budget director Russel Vought to carry out a budget outline with drastic cuts that would harm tens of millions of people. Mr. Vought is a hard-right guy. He hates government—even when it helps people.
According to the New York Times, Republicans in the House are considering proposals that would cut hundreds of billions from everything from the FBI, to things like Pell Grant eligibility and even Medicaid.
I recently saw one House Republican frame spending cuts as a matter of “courage.” That’s what one House Republican said. There’s nothing courageous about taking SNAP benefits away from hungry kids.
There is nothing courageous about cutting national security or constricting Pell Grant eligibility. There is nothing courageous about cutting housing and funding for police and firefighters while doing nothing—nothing—to get wealthy Americans to pay their fair share. How dare Republicans say it's courageous to make those cuts.
Finally, the ball is now in Speaker McCarthy’s court. Today is March 9th, and there is still one big question all of us are asking: Speaker McCarthy, where is your plan?
The debt ceiling must be raised soon. House Republicans say they won’t do it without painful cuts to our country, which Democrats fiercely reject.
But to this day, Americans have no idea where Republicans truly stand on federal spending cuts—whether it's dealing with the debt ceiling or proposing a budget itself. All we have are various proposals like Mr. Vought’s which if passed would wreck our country and do huge damage to working families.
Speaker McCarthy, again—where is your plan?
Where is your plan in regards to the debt ceiling? Where is your plan in regards to the budget?
The President has done his job by showing where Democrats stand. Speaker McCarthy needs to come clean with the American people and spell out, precisely, what cuts he plans and explain how these cuts will put the pain on average families.