Washington, D.C. - Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke on the House floor this morning in strong support of the final House-Senate budget resolution for fiscal year 2010. The resolution passed the House by a vote of 233 to 193 and is expected to be approved by the Senate later today. It does not require the signature of the President. Below are the Speaker's remarks:
“Madam Speaker, it is indeed an honor to call Mr. Spratt a colleague. We say that from time to time about our Members, but never is it truer than in the case of Chairman John Spratt of South Carolina. He is a gentleman who has brought the values of our country, the principles of our great democracy to bear on writing a budget.
“Because of his leadership, today for the first time in many, many years, we have a President's budget on the floor that is a statement of our national values. What is important to us as a nation is reflected in this budget. It is a very happy day for our country, Mr. Spratt, because of your leadership.
“I thank all of the members of the budget committee for their hard work, expressing their views, coming forth with a budget that is a blueprint for the future. I also want to commend our conferees -- Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro and Congressman Allen Boyd for assisting in the conference process.
“Starting at the beginning of this year, this Congress passed a stimulus package to take our country in a new direction. Since that time -- we have been on a sprint to create jobs, to lower the deficit, to cut taxes for the American people. This blueprint -- this budget -- is a bookend to that stimulus package. It is though, the foundation for how we go forward into the future.
“In the first 100 days, it enables us to make the claim with these two pieces of legislation and bills that have come in between -- for example the SCHIP -- the children's health insuring 11 million children in America -- the public lands bill -- the biggest conservation bill in many, many years -- other initiatives contained in our agenda in the past three months -- enable us to say that more has been done in this period of time for health care than in decades, since Medicare was passed in this Congress and signed into law.
“More has been done on education than in generations, since the GI bill was passed during World War II and even more than that. And in terms of energy, there's absolutely no contest. It's far out there in terms of breaking ground and reducing our dependence on foreign oil, creating new green jobs for a green future for America's economy, for honoring our moral responsibility to protect God's beautiful creation and to keeping our environment clean and healthy for our children.
“These three -- education, health care and energy -- are what the business community and other sectors of our community tell us are the investments that we must make in order to turn our economy around.
“So here we are today, with a budget before us that creates jobs, reduces taxes, and takes us on a path toward lowering the deficit. It does so in the most transparent way of any budget in our country's history and certainly in this Congress' history. And as it does so, it focuses on those three pillars of the Obama agenda -- education, health care and energy.
“In terms of energy, in this first 100 days, an article in Fortune magazine of April 29th states that, ‘this is the greenest budget ever.' The Obama $3.55 trillion dollar budget is a one-two punch for clean-tech. It boosts funding for renewables while slashing tax breaks for fossil fuels. Obama's wish list -- now this is another organization called ‘Climate Progress' -- ‘Climate Progress' calls the Obama wish list the ‘first sustainable budget in U.S. history.'
“This is in addition to the initiative that was passed early on in the recovery package, known as the stimulus package -- it's called ‘Greener Stimulus.' Signed in February, the stimulus package is chalk full of clean-tech goodies with $43 billion dollars in grants for clean power, extensions of tax credits for solar wind, geothermal and energy efficiency programs, smart-grid funding, weatherization programs, and a new tax credit for clean-tech hardware manufacturing.
“I mention that because we must see that this budget in the context of the issues in which we are trying to advance. Of themselves, they are worthy. They have their justification -- as I mentioned in the case of energy -- but they are also investments that will grow our economy and create jobs.
“When it comes to health care -- another pillar of the Obama budget. As the President says, health care reform is entitlement reform. As we go forward with universal quality, accessible health care for all Americans -- which this budget will lead us to -- we'll be reducing the cost of health care for the American people and in lowering those costs we will lower the costs to our budget and cost to the deficit of Medicare and Medicaid.
“This is not just about the personal health of the American people -- that would be justification enough -- the personal well-being of our country. And it's not only about health care; it's about the health of the American people. It's about prevention. It's about diet, not diabetes.
“So we are moving in a path that lowers costs, makes America healthier. And in doing so, as I say, it will not only help individuals with their health and personal well-being, but we are helping businesses to compete. Health care costs are a competitiveness issue. And if we're going to compete domestically and internationally, we must lower health care costs for businesses.
“It's about costs to our economy. Of all this money spent on health care, and not having the commensurate health of America should go with it. And again, it's about lowering the cost of reducing entitlement. Health care reform is entitlement reform.
“In terms of education, this budget calls for innovative approaches from early childhood, to tax credits for cost of college as well as increasing the funding for Pell Grants and making college for affordable for us. So from earliest childhood to higher education and then beyond, this budget is a path -- not only again -- for self-fulfillment of the American people, but the innovation of America. Innovation begins in the classroom.
“So having said that, this is a budget about the future.
“I was very tempted when I saw the Minority Leader with his voting card -- to bring a picture of my granddaughter -- my dear little granddaughter just little over a month old -- to the floor. Oh, we do have it here. I won't resist the temptation for two reasons. First of all, I can't take my eyes off of her and second of all: this is what our commitment is about. It's our commitment to the future -- to these children.
“As we go forward, we must take the country in a new direction and in doing so, reduce the deficit. We are not here to heap mountains of debt on our children and our grandchildren. That is what was done in the last years in the Bush Administration. This budget calls a halt to that and says ‘no.' It says no more debt; we're going in the opposite direction. We're reducing the deficit as we create good paying jobs in our economy, as we cut taxes for the middle class in our country.
“This is a magnificent blueprint for the future and again, I salute Chairman Spratt for his extraordinary leadership in bringing it to the floor today and urge all of my colleagues to vote ‘yes' for a new direction for our country.”