Since January 2009, the Democratic-led Congress has been working to restore fiscal responsibility and accountability - after the years of fiscal irresponsibility of the Bush Administration.
BUSH-REPUBLICAN RECORD: MOST FISCALLY IRRESPONSIBLE RECORD IN HISTORY
Here is the record of fiscal irresponsibility of the Bush Administration:
- President George W. Bush had the worst fiscal record of any President in American history. Under President Bush, the national debt nearly doubled.
- When he took office, President Bush inherited from President Clinton a projected 10-year budget surplus of $5.6 trillion. When he was inaugurated, President Obama inherited from President Bush a deficit of $1.3 trillion for FY 2009 alone and $11.5 trillion more in deficits over the next 10 years.
- Congressional Republicans refused to pay for the new policies they were enacting. In 2002, Republicans let PAYGO lapse in order to more easily spend trillions of taxpayer dollars on such items as the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, two wars, and the new Medicare prescription drug benefit - all unpaid for.
- Furthermore, in the Bush years, waste and fraud in federal spending spiraled out of control - with no-bid, cost-plus contracts going to politically-connected companies, such as Halliburton.
RECORD OF DEMOCRATIC-LED 111TH CONGRESS-WORKING TO RESTORE FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY
Since January 2009, the Democrats in Congress have fought for fiscal responsibility - voting time and time again for measures that reduce the deficit, crack down on wasteful government spending, and impose tough fiscal discipline. For example, a key priority of the 111th Congress was to reinstate Statutory PAYGO, which Republicans had let lapse in 2002; and Statutory PAYGO is now once again the law of the land.
One of the first things that the 111th Congress did in February 2009 - at the urging of both Democratic and Republican economists - was enact a Recovery Act to prevent a complete collapse of the economy. A recent bipartisan report by two prominent economists, including an advisor to the McCain for President campaign, concluded that the Recovery Act and the actions of the Fed had been critical in helping prevent the country from going into a second Great Depression. And without this aggressive action, our budget deficit would be $3 trillion worse over the next three years, according to this report.
Since the enactment of the Recovery Act, the 111th Congress has been focusing on eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in government spending; making the government more efficient; ensuring every taxpayer dollar is well-spent; and passing both short- and long-term measures that will begin bringing down the deficit. Indeed, House Democrats have passed measures cutting the deficit by more than $160 billion over 10 years.
Following is a partial list of some of the bills that House Democrats have passed to cut the deficit and to crack down on wasteful spending:
- The Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act (enacted into law), which reinstituted a requirement to offset new policies that increase mandatory spending or reduce revenues, giving it the force of law. Pay-as-you-go principles created the record budget surpluses the nation enjoyed under President Clinton. President George W. Bush and a GOP-controlled Congress let it expire in 2002. All House Republicans voted NO.
- A new House rule (sponsored by Rep. John Tanner (D-TN)) to require periodic hearings on waste, fraud and abuse by House committees to ensure that tax dollars are spent wisely. All House Republicans voted NO.
- The Affordable Care Act health insurance reform (enacted into law), which includes cracking down on waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid and, according to CBO, will cut the deficit by $124 billion over the next 10 years and by $1.2 trillion over the following 10 years. All House Republicans voted NO.
- The Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (enacted into law) which, according to CBO, will cut the deficit by $19 billion over the next 10 years. All House Republicans voted NO.
- The American Clean Energy and Security Act which, according to CBO, will cut the deficit by $9 billion over the next 10 years. 95% of House Republicans voted NO.
- The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (enacted into law) which, according to CBO, will cut the deficit by $3.2 billion over the next 10 years. 98% of House Republicans voted NO.
- The Small Business and Infrastructure Jobs Tax Act which, according to CBO, will cut the deficit by $2.7 billion over the next 10 years. 98% of House Republicans voted NO.
- The Children's Health Insurance Program Reauthorization (enacted into law) which, according to CBO, will cut the deficit by $1 billion over the next 10 years. 77% of House Republicans voted NO.
- The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (enacted into law) which, according to CBO, will cut the deficit by $1 billion over the next 10 years. 56% of House Republicans voted NO.
- The Weapon Systems Acquisition Reform Act (enacted into law), which saves taxpayers money by cracking down on Pentagon waste and cost overruns, which GAO says amount to $296 billion just for the 96 largest weapons systems.
- The Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (enacted into law; a bill by Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA)) which cracks down on improper federal payments and will help achieve the President's goal of reducing wasteful, improper payments by $50 billion between now and 2012.
- The Government Efficiency, Effectiveness and Performance Improvement Act (a bill by Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX)), which cuts hundreds of millions of dollars in government waste by shining light on ineffective federal programs.
- The IMPROVE Acquisition Act (a bill by Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ), which cleans up DOD acquisition spending for the 80 percent that is for services and other non-weapons items, saving taxpayers an estimated $27 billion a year.
- The Surface Transportation Savings Act (a bill by Reps. Tom Perriello (D-VA) and Mark Schauer (D-MI)), which rescinds $107 million in unspent contract authority for certain transportation programs - thereby ensuring that these funds will not be used to increase spending in the future.
- The Surface Transportation Earmark Rescission, Savings and Accountability Act (a bill by Rep. Betsy Markey (D-CO)) which rescinds $713 million in unobligated funding for 309 earmarks contained in previous surface transportation authorizations - thereby ensuring that these funds will not be used to increase spending in the future.
- The Budget Enforcement Resolution, which sets a limit on discretionary spending for FY 2011 that requires spending cuts of $7 billion below the President's budget and $3 billion below the Senate resolution. All House Republicans voted NO.
- The Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act (enacted into law), which protects U.S. taxpayers by giving the Justice Department enhanced authorities to fight fraud in the use of TARP and Recovery Act funds, including increased penalties.
- Special Inspector General for TARP Act (enacted into law), which strengthened the oversight of the TARP program by expanding the authorities of the Special Inspector General to crack down on waste, fraud and abuse in the use of U.S. taxpayer dollars. Additionally, Democrats demanded taxpayer repayment in the original TARP bill signed by President Bush; those monies are being repaid.
- A package of $6.7 billion in rescissions of FY 2010 spending in order to help pay for an Education Jobs Fund, which will better ensure that America's children have access to a quality education this fall by preventing the layoffs of 161,000 teachers. 99% of House Republicans voted NO.
- A package of $1.1 billion for program integrity activities for FY 2010, (enacted into law) to crack down on waste, fraud and abuse in such programs as Medicare and Medicaid - with research showing that for every $1.00 invested in identifying and eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in government spending, we get $1.50 back. All House Republicans voted NO.