Senate Republicans Have Abandoned Years of Concerns About the Debt and Deficit To Push a Tax Giveaway to the Wealthy and Corporations

December 1, 2017

NYT: The Senate’s Official Scorekeeper Says the Republican Tax Plan Would Add $1 Trillion to the Deficit. “Senate Republicans’ $1.5 trillion tax cut would not pay for itself, according to a report released on Thursday by the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation. The report is a significant setback for Republicans, who have asserted that the tax cuts would grow the economy enough to cover the cost of the plan. The report of the committee, Congress’s official tax scorekeeper, is the latest in a number of analyses that have found that the cuts could add a significant chunk to federal budget deficits, a move that would seem counter to years of Republican criticism of the deficits accumulated under the Obama administration.”

THE REPUBLICAN TAX PLAN WOULD ADD $1 TRILLION OR MORE TO THE DEFICIT – AFTER YEARS OF REPUBLICAN STATEMENTS THAT THE DEBT AND DEFICIT IS THE MOST URGENT CRISIS FACED BY OUR NATION

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “If the president pursues that kind of agenda, obviously, it's not designed to bring us together and certainly not designed to deal with the transcendent issue of our era, which is deficit and debt. Until we fix that problem, we can't fix America and we cannot leave behind for our kids the kind of America our parents left behind for us.” [Washington Post, 1/22/13; Press Conference, 1/22/13]

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY): “At what point do we anticipate getting serious here about doing something about deficit and debt? We think we ought to pay for it,” McConnell told reporters last week. “Regardless of whether these kinds of things [payroll tax cuts] have been paid for or not paid for in the past, we are where we are. We're running another trillion-dollar deficit for the fourth year in a row.” [The Hill, 2/17/12]

Senate Republican Whip John Cornyn (R-TX): “Please, let's deal with this threat in a responsible sort of way that we all agree we should, but let's do so in a fiscally responsible way as well. There's just no reason to gratuitously add to the deficit and the debt. We can do this in a responsible way, both from a public health standpoint and fiscally as well.” [Press Release, 5/17/16]

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi (R-WY): “It is clear our $18 trillion debt is an ‎anchor that will sink us if we don’t change course.” [Press Release, 1/26/15]

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT): “You have my commitment to continue to fight to cut our national debt so our nation’s security is not put in harms way.” [Message to Utahns, 2/6/12]

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN): “We should stop passing laws that add to the debt,” Sen. Alexander said in a meeting this week with reporters and editors of the Times Free Press. We should not be passing our irresponsibility on to our grandchildren, the senator said. [Times Free Press, 4/3/10]

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO): “There’s no doubt that Washington is broken. Our federal debt has reached a record high – and is growing.” [Column, 10/6/11]

Sen. John Boozman (R-AR): “With a twenty trillion dollar debt, five six hundred billion dollar deficit every year adding to that debt, I think that’s something that we simply have to get under control.  So this will be a good opportunity.” [Talk Business & Politics, 8/6/17]

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC): “Paying off our debt will fall on your children and your children's children simply because it (debt) grows like a snowball.” [Jefferson Post (NC), 5/19/09]

Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA): “The U.S. is at risk of becoming a sub-prime borrower." [Baton Rouge Advocate, 5/2/11]

Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV): "This is an awful lot of debt for our children and grandchildren to assume," Capito said. "Put another way, this puts on $6,700 new debt for every household, so it is vital that we do it the right way." [Martinsburg Journal, 1/29/09]

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS): “Our country remains in a perilous fiscal situation, with debt levels projected to continue to rise to historic highs.  The President’s budget does not address that fact, and would actually increase our debt by trillions of dollars over the next 10 years.” [Press Release, 2/2/15]

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME): “Our national debt now stands at an almost incomprehensible $16.4 trillion,” Collins said during her annual speech to the Bangor Rotary Club, of which she is an honorary member. “The tab for every man, woman and child tops $52,000, and is our legacy for future generations.” [Bangor Daily News, 2/19/13]

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR): “I pledged throughout my campaign to confront America’s debt crisis and today I upheld that pledge by voting against legislation that would have added another $10 billion to our staggering national debt because it did not offset that funding for the national flood-insurance program with equal spending cuts.” [Arkansas News, 1/4/13]

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID): “There is no question that our nation's burgeoning debt crisis continues to place a strain on the economy and the country's fiscal future," said Crapo.  "Our national debt has grown nearly 70 percent since the President assumed office, now surpassing a staggering $18 trillion.  Absent action, this dangerous level of debt poses a threat to our national security.  Over time, the interest payments on the debt alone will soon threaten the federal government's ability to meet its most basic of functions.” [Press Release, 1/20/15]

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX): “Debt is out of control. And, it is jeopardizing future for our kids. I have got two little kids, who are 4 and 2. And, the idea of handing them a $16 trillion debt, I think is immoral. And, unfortunately, this is a man who doesn't seem to know where jobs come from.” [Fox News, 2/12/13]

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT): “It’s past time for Washington to get serious about reining in our national debt.” [Press Release, 1/19/16]

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA): “We have known for months that this day was coming, and yet this backroom deal was crafted to rack up more spending and debt without regard for the future. … As a mother, I will not stand silently by and allow more than $57,000 to be passed on to each of my daughters and grandchildren. We need to work towards real solutions that hardworking Iowans and folks across this country deserve, to solve this problem for our children and grandchildren.” [Statement, 10/30/15]

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE): “Our national debt is out of control and now stands at over $18 trillion.” [Weekly Column, 2/9/15]

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ): “And that will force us, I hope, to sit down, go through regular order, sit down with our colleagues across the aisle and actually solve something because the bigger issues, as I mentioned before, are debt and our deficit. That's going to require some kind of grand bargain, something along the lines of the Simpson-Bowles kind of approach. And no one party in control of both chambers and the White House is going to risk that on their own. You have to reach across the aisle.” [MSNBC, 8/3/17]

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC): “When you're $16 trillion in debt, the only pledge we should be making to each other is to avoid becoming Greece, and Republicans -- Republicans should put revenue on the table. We're this far in debt. We don't generate enough revenue.” [ABC This Week, 11/25/12]

Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV): “Washington D.C. must not turn a blind eye to the consequences that runaway debt poses for our nation. Moving forward, Congress must enact a long-term solution that addresses our nation’s spending problem and places our country on the path to economic stability.” [Press Release, 1/31/12]

Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND): “The national debt has grown to $17.2 trillion, and we need to reduce it for the sake of our country today and for the well-being of future generations.” [Press Release, 2/12/14]

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK): “But as things stand, our $15 trillion debt is weighing us down. And now the President wants the authority to add another $1.2 trillion to it.  We cannot allow this to happen. Massive government debt levels crush economic growth.” [Remarks as Prepared for Delivery, 1/26/12]

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA): “I would respectfully disagree that the debt is not a crisis. It is a major crisis. And one of these days the water is going to go over the roof and we’re caught, bad.” [Senate Foreign Relations Committee Meeting, 4/6/16]

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI): “16 trillion dollars of debt means spending in Washington is completely out of control.  16 trillion dollars means our economy is not growing as it should.  16 trillion dollars means jobs aren’t being created.  16 trillion dollars means the Obama administration is leading America down the path of economic disaster and continued suffering for the American people.” [Press Release, 9/4/12]

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA): “We borrow a million a minute – 1.4 billion a day.  If I thought for a second that this bill is going to add to the deficit, I wouldn’t vote for it.” [MSNBC, 11/28/17]

Sen. James Lankford (R-OK): “I’m actually not comfortable with increasing the debt. This is something that’s been a behind-the-scenes conversation for a long time. It’s one thing to be able to cut taxes, it’s another thing to be able to say, ‘how are going to deal with our debt and deficit?’” [NBC, 11/5/17]

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT): “We’re taking in about $1.7 trillion in new debt. What this translates into are thousands and thousands of dollars per person every single year that the government’s borrowing against us. We can’t do that. It’s costing us jobs. It’s costing our economy the ability to heal itself.” [Fox News, 3/7/11]

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ):  “We can no longer sit idly by while saddling future generations of Americans with an ever-growing deficit. If we are serious about our commitment to reduce our debt and eliminate our deficit, then Congress needs to start making some tough decisions about our national priorities, and we need to start now.” [Arizona Republic Op-ed, 7/15/10]

Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS):  “CBO projects 4th straight year with deficit greater than $1 trillion and higher unemployment. Yet another wake-up call for Congress.” [Tweet, 1/31/12]

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK):  “Our nation is approaching the $16 trillion mark when it comes to our debt, and we need a road map that puts us on the right path towards solid financial footing.  As I told Alaskans during my economic town halls last fall, we must take action and unfortunately that action is going to impact us all.” [Press Release, 5/16/12]

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY):  “The number one threat to our country's future is our debt. The number one threat to our national security is our debt.” [Floor Remarks, 10/30/15]

Sen. David Perdue (R-GA):  “’Whether it’s $19.9 [trillion] or $20 [trillion], it is probably the most important crisis that we have in front of us right now,’ said Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.), who keeps in his office an electronic ‘clock’ that tracks the debt. ‘It threatens the ability to fund our military. It threatens our ability to provide safety nets to the people who really need it. It really threatens our viable position as a leader of the free world.’” [Bloomberg BNA, 3/6/17]

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH):  "Our country cannot afford to add trillions of dollars to our national debt over the next decade.” [Press Release, 4/18/14]

Sen. Jim Risch (R-ID): “America has faced many major crises during its 235 years of existence, but none as dangerous as the spiraling debt now confronting us.” [Editorial, 4/1/11]

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS): “We have met the enemy and he is us. The enemy today is our unsustainable debt. I am privileged to represent the people of Kansas, and the people of Kansas are rightfully angry over the endless political posturing regarding yet another increase in the national debt. That’s right, another increase in the debt limit. Rather than pay our debts down, the White House and our friends on the other side of the aisle want to increase our debts. We have met the enemy.” [Press Release, 7/21/11]

Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD): “Continuing to kick the can down the road only exacerbates the problem for future generations. Congress must begin its work on a long-term solution to balancing our books.” [Weekly Column, 1/30/15]

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL): “And a debt crisis is not a good thing for a country that’s trying to grow. It doesn’t inspire confidence in the future.” [Remarks on the Economy, 7/7/15]

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE):  “Cutting the deficit’ isn't enough. We must cut the debt to ensure economic solvency for future generations.” [Tweet, 3/5/14]

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC): “We must stop saddling our kids and grandkids with more and more debt, and instead take steps to grow their opportunities. Though the constant gridlock may make it appear to be, finding solutions is not rocket science.” [Press Release, 10/16/13]

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL): “I believe this is a great country, if we don’t throw it away,” … “This is the richest country in the world. We don’t feel rich today, none of us do, but it is. And, we have done so many things for our people and probably for the world, too. But, if we don’t get our economic house in order and quit borrowing money and borrowing money and borrowing money, we’re going to go bankrupt. I thought I would never say that, but it’s true.” [Times-Journal, 3/7/10]

Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL): “It is high time for the federal government to balance its budget like the hardworking families of Alabama, and I remain committed to reaching a long-term solution on the debt ceiling.” [Press Release, 9/7/17]

Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK): “One of the most important things, when you look at the debt and the deficit … from my perspective there’s a lot you can do to address it.’” [Alaska Public Media, 10/10/17]

Sen. John Thune (R-SD): “We need to start tackling this debt, and we need to start doing it now.” [The Hill, 9/21/10]

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC): “I still believe that we have a debt that we have to deal with, so reducing revenues, even if you were to reduce spending, you’ve got to come up with a credible way to start retiring the debt.” [Remarks on Congressional Goals & Agenda, 2/2/15]

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA): “It is time for members of Congress to have a serious, adult conversation about solving our deficit and debt problems instead of using scare tactics to avoid dealing with the budgetary reforms that are desperately needed.” [Press Release, 5/9/11]

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS): “If we fail to act, our children and grandchildren will be left to pay our national debt.  I will continue to work with my colleagues to address our unsustainable deficit.’” [Press Release, 3/10/11]

Sen. Todd Young (R-IN): “But we can’t assume unreasonable rates of economic growth or we’re being fiscally irresponsible. … My own party needs to be realistic with what can be accomplished through tax reform alone." [Indiana Business Journal, 10/11/17]