WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today voted against the conference report on the fiscal year 2010 budget (S. Con. Res. 13), after the House of Representatives approved it by a vote of 233-193 with no Republican support. Calling the budget "reckless," Senator Inhofe cited the trillions of dollars in new spending and taxes as his primary reasons for opposing the legislation. The Senate passed the legislation by a vote of 53-43.
"The budget approved by the Democrats takes this country in the wrong the direction, and I was happy to vote against it," Senator Inhofe said. "It is irresponsible; it is reckless; and it is a troubling sign that a Majority party with no checks and balances is going on a spending spree that will be paid for by the next generation. Today, on President Obama's 100th day in office, it is suiting that Congress passed the largest budget to date, further highlighting this administration's priority of massively increasing spending and the size of government.
"The conference report on the Fiscal Year 2010 budget includes deficits averaging nearly $1 trillion a year; a total of $9.3 trillion in federal borrowing over the next decade; doubles the national debt in 5 years to $12.6 trillion and triples it in 10 years to $17.2 trillion; and contemplates $1.4 trillion in new tax increases. On top of the $4 trillion we are spending this year, the budget increases spending by $2.5 trillion over ten years and increases the debt by $6.5 trillion over the same period to pay for it.
"Beyond the staggering expenses, this bloated budget includes extremely harmful policy provisions. The legislation recognizes the Administration's effort to enact a costly cap-and-trade energy tax, which would cost trillions of dollars and increase the cost of energy for households across the country. It provides instructions to fast-track legislation to enact government-run universal health care. Furthermore, as President Obama intends to cut vital defense programs, this budget is on track to grow this country's obligations to 22% of our GDP, while shrinking defense spending in relation to GDP from 4% to 3.01% by 2019, putting us on a path that leads to a weaker military that is poorly equipped.
"The budget also includes instructions to implement President Obama's proposal to eliminate the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program making the government the originator of all federally backed student loans." The FFEL program is a 40-year-old public-private partnership that allows private lenders to provide federally guaranteed funds, and this measure would have a direct impact on millions across the country as well as in Oklahoma. Since 1965, this program has assisted over 60 million students in paying for college, and is widely used in post-secondary institutions nationwide. In Oklahoma, all but two colleges and universities participate in the FFEL program. Furthermore, 213 individuals would lose their jobs in Oklahoma alone.
"I am, however, pleased that the budget addresses issues I have long worked to accomplish, such as accelerating the phase-in of concurrent receipt and eliminating the offset between benefits provided for our veterans under the Survivor Benefits Plan and Dependency and Indemnity Compensation," Senator Inhofe said. The legislation includes Senator Inhofe's amendment to provide advanced appropriations for Veterans Administration (VA) programs, which allows multi-year planning for VA funding priorities. That amendment was strongly supported by the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and Disabled American Veterans (DAV).