Senate Votes on Sen. Pauls FY2013 Budget: A Platform to Revitalize America
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the U.S. Senate voted on several budget resolutions including one introduced by Sen. Rand Paul. Also known as A Platform to Revitalize America, Sen. Paul's resolution would balance the federal budget in five years, reform entitlement programs, and fix the tax system. Though the resolution did not pass the Senate with a vote of 16-83, it received 16 more votes than President Obama's budget. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats refused to offer a plan of their own. Prior to the vote, Sen. Paul spoke on the Senate floor and urged his colleagues to support the plan.
Below is the video and transcript of his speech.
We're currently borrowing $50,000 a second. We borrow $4 billion a day and we're borrowing over $1 trillion every year.
The situation has gotten out of control, and I think the situation of our deficit in our country threatens our country, and in fact I think it is the number-one threat to our national security and our security as a nation is this overwhelming burden of debt.
Many economists have said that this burden of debt is actually causing us to lose a million jobs a year. It crowds out private investment because we've got to take care of financing this enormous debt.
Amidst all of this, we have rules in place. There's a budget act that we've had in place since the 1970s that requires that this body put forward a budget. The problem is that we have no budget and had no budget for three years.
Now, you would say, how can this be when we have a law that says that the majority party has to have a budget? And yet we have no budget. They are in defiance of the law. Then if you come to us and you say, well, we want money spent on "x" item, we can't even do anything about it because there are no appropriations bills.
If you don't have a budget, you don't have appropriations bills; you can't alter up or down the appropriations bills because we don't have a budget to go by. In fact, every bit of spending that we do up here is in defiance of our own rules, because we're supposed to compare the spending bills to the budget, and we have no budget.
Now, many of us have been promoting something new. This would be a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, because we don't seem to be doing a very good job balancing a budget.
Now, you in your families, when you have less money coming in, you spend less money. Every American family has to do this. Why can't Washington simply spend what comes in? Shouldn't be that complicated.
But they aren't obeying their own rules, so I think we need stronger rules. That would be an amendment to the is that you says you must balance the budget. We had a vote on it - 47 of us on our side of the aisle voted for it, and no one on the other side voted for it.
Our Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution would require that the budget balance within five years. In that vein, what our office has done is put together a budget that does balance in five years, and it actually over a ten-year period would reduce the deficit by $2 trillion.
Ours is the only budget that will balance in five years and begin paying down the debt over ten years. Right now Congress has an approval rating of 11 percent. Maybe that has something to do with the fact that we aren't doing our job, we aren't passing any budget, much less a balanced budget.
If people vote for our budget, we would balance in five years and begin paying down the debt. I think the stock market would be ecstatic to hear this.
Now how do you do this? In order to balance the budget, you have to tackle entitlement reform. Currently Social Security is $6.2 trillion short of money. The taxes you pay into in Social Security are less than what we pay out. Social Security is essentially insolvent.
Now, you ask, how come my check keeps coming? Your check will always keep coming. As the bankruptcy grows deeper and deeper, your checks will come will, but they won't buy anything.
You're already seeing this at the pump. Gasoline prices have doubled. It is because gas is more precious? No, it is because the value of your dollar is shrinking. The value of your dollar is shrinking because we print up all this new money, to pay for this massive debt.
It is unsustainable and one way or another it is going to come to a head. Will it come to a head through the destruction of our currency paying for this debt? I don't know, but we certainly need a budget. Ours will be a budget that balances in five years.
People say, 'why don't you compromise with the other side?' We will, but they have to have a budget. If ours balances in five and the other side will promote one that balances in 10, compromise would be seven and a half.
But if the other side doesn't have a budget, or if the other side has a budget the President put forward a budget, we will vote on that, too. His never balances, so we've got infinity for their side and we've got five years on our side.
What's -- how do you get halfway from infinity to five years? If you're going to compromise, they have to come to the table. We have to engage in a debate.
Entitlements are 65 percent of the budget. They call it mandatory spending and nobody wants to do anything about it. Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid - 65 percent of the budget. If you don't tackle entitlement reform, you can't fix it.
We have a proposal on the table. Social Security reform -- we fix Social Security. The way we fix it is we gradually let the age rise of eligibility to 70 over about 20 years and we means-test the benefits. Not on the current people, but on the next wave. My generation will have to wait longer.
Why? Is it because we want to change things? No it's because we're living longer. We all have a longer life expectancy and then we had smaller families.
This isn't anybody's fault. It's not Democrats' fault. It's not Republicans' fault. We just had a bunch of large families after World War II, they're retiring and each subsequent generation had less children.
It's a demographic fact. Combine that with the fact that we're living longer. You have to make changes, but we have a proposals on the table. We will fix Social Security. How do we compromise if the other side won't come up with a proposal? $6 trillion short. Social Security is $6 trillion in the hole.
Medicare -- $35 trillion to $40 trillion in the hole. We have a solution. We will give every Senior Citizen in the country the same health care plan I have, the same health care plan that every Senator and Congressman has. We're willing to give it to them.
You know whose idea this was? Senator John Kerry from Massachusetts, a Democrat. We've taken his idea and put it forward, but we can't get anybody on the other side to talk us to. They have given up. It is an election year. They are not going to do anything this year. We didn't do anything last year.
So we haven't done anything to fix entitlements. We've done nothing to fix Social Security, nothing to fix Medicare. How do you compromise with a side that has no proposition, that won't put anything forward?
Well, we have a five-year plan that balances in five years and we fix Social Security, we save Social Security in perpetuity, which I laughingly say is a long time.
We also fix Medicare. We save Medicare. Medicare is face being a $35 trillion to $40 trillion deficit and we're willing to save it, but the other side has to come to the table and nobody is showing up to debate these things. No one is proposing any budget on the other side. No one is proposing any entitlement Social Security.
In our budget, we save Social Security, we save Medicare, and we go one step further -- we have tax reform that would help the country, would make it fair.
Some on the other side say, let's get rid of all those special loopholes for special interests. We do it. We do a flat tax of 17 percent for all businesses, 17 percent for all personal - you get to deduct your kids and your house and that's it. No other deductions. No other special interest exemptions. No other special credits for any special business or special enterprise. A flat 17 percent for everybody.
You would see a boom in this country like you've never seen if we would do it. Would what compromise be? Maybe the other side wants 25 percent and I want 17 percent and we go in the middle and do 22 percent.
That would be compromise, but how do we compromise with the other side when there is no budget, there is no entitlement reform proposed from the other side, there is no tax reform proposed from the other side.
How do we compromise if there is no other side? If the other side has decided not to show up this year, if this year is going to be a waste of time and everybody's going to just run for office, maybe we shouldn't be paid this year.
Maybe you shouldn't pay your Congressman; maybe you shouldn't pay your Senator this year if we're not going to have proposals from both sides.
This means we should be talking about entitlement reform, talking about tax reform, talking about budgets, and it would be give and take. But the only way to get give and take in our country is people need to show up for the debate. We need to do our job.
Why is there not a committee in Washington, not any committee, why is there not any committee meeting every day on how to fix and save Social Security? Nobody's talking about it. There is no such committee.
Why is there not a committee discussing Medicare reform? Meeting every day, Republicans and Democrats talking and figuring out a way out of this. There is no such committee.
Why isn't there a committee on tax reform discussing how we could make our tax code simpler and make it easier for people to figure out and make the rates lower so we could spur the economy.
Every time we've lowered interest rates, unemployment is cut in half. When we had an upper rate of 90 percent, Kennedy lowered it to 70 percent, unemployment was cut in half. When Reagan lowered the top rate from 70 percent to 50 percent, unemployment was cut in half. When Reagan lowered it again from 50 percent to 28 percent, unemployment was cut in half.
But we as a country have to decide that we don't want to punish rich people; we don't want to punish corporations. We work for these people. We want them to do better.
The oil and gas industry employs 9.2 million people and pays $86 million a day in taxes. We want them to do better. Let's don't punish them with more taxes regulations, let's make their taxes lower and regulatory burden lower, so they can drill for more oil in our country and employ more people in our country.
So these are the decisions we have to make as we go forward. We have a budget that can balance in five years. It's what our country needs. I think people would react, and the marketplace in particular would react in a tremendous fashion if we would move forward and vote for a budget.
The Republicans will have four or five budgets presented, some of them that balance in five, some of them balance in eight, some of them balance in 28, but at least we're trying, we're showing up and we're presenting budgets that would balance, at some finite period of time.
I tell people if it's never going to balance, it shouldn't even be presented. If it's not going to balance in your lifetime, if you say it's going to balance in somebody else's lifetime, when somebody else is going to be here in Congress, you've abdicated your responsibility.
We can do better than this. The American people expect us to do better than this. The American people expect us to show up and do our job.
We will today vote on these budgets, and what I would ask the American people is look see how your Representatives vote. Look and see how your Senator votes. Look and see whether or not your Senators believe in balancing the budget. Or if they think doesn't matter, we'll just print up more money.
But realize if their answer is to just print up more money, if their answer is that deficits don't matter, if that is their answer, I want you to get mad and I want to you get angry and I want to you get even.
Every time you go to the gas pump and pay four bucks for pump gas, I want you to know why your gas price is rising, not because the gas is more precious, but because your dollar is less valuable. Your dollar is less valuable because of the massive debt we run and the irresponsibility up here that nobody is willing to tackle it.
I want you to know there are some on our side who are willing to make the tough decisions. Is it easy to stand here and say to the people in Kentucky and the people in America that the only way we can save Social Security is by letting the age of eligibility rise?
You think that's popular? You think I'm saying that to pander and try to get votes? I'm saying that because it's the only thing that will save Social Security and the only thing that's going to save our country is we have to make difficult decisions.
And so think that's what needs to happen. People need to say are you willing to make the tough decisions? Are you willing to stand up and say this is how we would fix Social Security; this is how we'd save the system. This is how we would correct this deficit that's dragging us all down.
One side is willing to do that. I'm willing to do that, and I hope that my fellow Senators will today consider voting to balance the budget. Thank you Madam President, and I yield back my time.