March 21, 2013

Warner, Kaine Push For Replacing Sequester By Passing Senate Budget

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine today discussed the proposed Fiscal Year 2014 budget on the Senate floor and pushed for passage to give agencies, businesses, and families certainty they deserve for the next fiscal year. During their exchange on the Senate floor, Warner and Kaine also noted the importance of passing the budget to replace deep, indiscriminate sequester cuts with a balanced approach to grow the economy and responsibly reduce the deficit. 

“There are smart cuts and there are stupid ways to cut and there could not be a more stupid way to cut than sequester,” said Warner. “Our budget, which replaces sequester with half revenues and half targeted spending cuts I believe moves us in that right direction. We in Virginia in many ways are ground zero of the effects of sequester,” he continued.

Warner and Kaine highlighted the ripple effects of sequester in the Virginia economy during their conversation, including the impact of furloughs for 90,000 Department of Defense civilian employees that will jeopardize economic growth in the Commonwealth.“When folks are furloughed and they see their pay reduced and they're going to spend less at the dry cleaner, they're going to spend less at restaurants, they're going to delay the purchase of the automobile that they had planned for this year, they're going to be doing all kinds of things to tighten their spending. That's going to affect shopkeepers and merchants in their area,” said Kaine. “When I was governor, early in my term, Ford decided to close a plant with a couple of thousand workers in Norfolk and the ripple of that throughout the economy, a couple of thousand workers, was very significant. To take 90,000 civilian DOD employees in a state like Virginia, heavily concentrated in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, and to furlough them and to reduce their salaries, this is going to be felt throughout this economy.”

The Senate budget plan takes a balanced approach to our fiscal challenges that includes an equal mix of responsible spending cuts and new revenue by closing loopholes and ending wasteful spending in the tax code. It builds on the $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction already done with an additional $1.85 trillion in new deficit reduction, surpassing the bipartisan goal of $4 trillion over 10 years.

Both Warner and Kaine praised the Chair of the Budget Committee, Patty Murray, on her leadership and contrasted the balanced approach of the Senate budget with the all cuts approach of the House budget.

“I’ve never once looked in a mirror and wished I was weaker,” Kaine said. “An all-cuts approach is like looking in a mirror and wishing you’re  weaker because an all-cuts approach makes you weaker in education, weaker in defense, by laying people off in jobs, it makes you weaker because your unemployment rate is higher. We have to be stronger. Can we make cuts? Sure we can and we have and we'll make more. But we ought to be focused on being stronger, about growing the economy and  growing jobs. And that's why the approach that the Senate takes is the right approach.”

“You can't cut and tax your way out of this problem, you've got to have a growth agenda. And any good company and any good country has a business plan. And any business plan and any country or company that's going to compete in the 21st century has to do at least three things. They've got to invest in their work force, they've got to invest in their infrastructure, they've got to stay ahead of their competition, and that's in research and development,” said Warner. “And I tell you, colleagues, there is no way a plan that says that America would only invest less than 5 percent of its public revenues in its education, infrastructure, and R&D, that is not a plan that will keep America the leading economic power in the 21st century. And if we want to honor our commitment to our children, we have to leave them not only a nation that does not -- is not riddled with debt and deficit, but also a nation that continues to be the economic leader in the world.”

A vote of the full Senate on the budget is expected this week.