WASHINGTON, DC - U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) made the following statements regarding the Senate Budget Resolution (S.Con.Res.70):
“As our economy goes through a period of uncertainty, the family budget is becoming increasingly strained,” Inhofe said. “Prices for everyday goods are going up, food costs are sky rocketing, heating and electricity prices are rising, and the price of gas is breaking all-time records. The response to this should not be to add to that burden by raising the cost of the federal government. Yet the Democrat budget will radically increase the cost that families will pay for the federal government. This budget plan contains a $1.2 trillion dollar tax hike, increasing taxes by more than $2,300 each year for 43 million families with children. Now more than ever, we need to protect the family budget from the federal budget, and the Democrat budget with its massive tax increases does exactly the opposite.”
Senator Inhofe also introduced two amendments to the budget resolution. The first amendment (S.A. 4239) expresses the ‘Sense of the Senate’ that the annual defense budget should account for at least four percent of the United States’ gross domestic product (GDP), exclusive of wartime costs and supplemental appropriations.
“I have long believed that the United States needs to adopt a long-term defense spending strategy to ensure stability for the sustainment, transformation and recapitalization of our military,” Senator Inhofe said. “Our level of defense spending must consider the resources needed to meet current and future threats. We have many great leaders in our military, but no matter how great our military leaders, our strategic thinking will always be imperfect - there will always be unknowns. Congress must supply the Department of Defense with the certainty and stability that comes with a long-term defense-spending plan. Passage of this amendment will send a signal to our military, allies, and enemies alike that we are committed to the security of our nation and the preservation of freedom and democracy around the world.”
Inhofe’s second amendment (S.A. 4262) allows for the full phase-in of the ‘domestic production activities’ tax deduction at 9% to assist U.S. manufactures in creating jobs and investment. Since this provision (known as Section 199) was enacted as part of the ‘American Jobs Creation Act” in 2004, the IRS reports that 378,627 U.S. manufacturing firms were helped in 2005 and over 400,000 in 2006. Many of these firms are small businesses. Section 199 applies to domestic manufacturing, including gross receipts of U.S. oil and natural gas companies. Full phase-in of the Section 199 deduction would encourage more U.S. oil and natural gas production, increase investments in new petroleum refining capacity and result in more domestic energy production and the preservation of high-paying U.S. jobs.
“By Allowing U.S. manufacturers to begin taking advantage of the greater deduction more quickly, my legislation will provide incentives to businesses that expand their production,” Inhofe said. “This will mean more output and more jobs in the short term—exactly the kind of thing we need to help the economy—while at the same time maintaining lower tax rates on business in the long-term.”
Senator Inhofe also cosponsored Senator Jim DeMint’s (R-S.C.) amendment (S.A. 4347 ) creating a point of order against legislation containing earmarks for fiscal year 2009.
“It is the unfortunate nature of politics that less populated states, such as Oklahoma, are often overlooked when it comes to the annual appropriations process,” Senator Inhofe said. “Recognizing this reality, in my years as an elected representative for the State of Oklahoma, I have fought in a transparent and fiscally responsible manner to ensure that our state has not been ignored in the annual budget. I also firmly believe that providing funding for our national defense, crumbling infrastructure and unfunded mandates is the responsibility of our federal government. Therefore, in 2005 as Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, I authored the Highway Bill, which changed our state’s status as a ‘donor state’, and for the first time in history Oklahoma received as much in federal funding as it paid in taxpayer dollars.
“While I continue to believe that elected representatives, not just Washington bureaucrats, should be able to speak on the behalf of their constituents as to how their hard-earned taxpayer dollars are spent, I believe that the current process by which this is done is in dire need of reform. Oklahomans and all Americans deserve to know how their taxpayer dollars are being spent, and likewise deserve to have a say in the process. While I remain acutely aware that the needs of our state are great and deserve a strong voice in the halls of Congress, I believe that Congress needs a yearlong earmark moratorium in order to create reforms that will truly reform this broken earmark system.
“I will continue to fight on behalf of my Oklahoma constituents to bring greater transparency and openness to Congress, as well as eliminate wasteful spending and reduce the size of government.”