WASHINGTON-U.S. Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) today made the following statement in response to the final passage of the FY 2005 Concurrent Budget Resolution (S.Con.Res. 95) that passed the Senate early this morning with a 51 to 45 vote. “I applaud the efforts of my colleague Senator Don Nickles (R-Okla.) for his hard work in crafting a fiscally responsible budget that will cut the federal deficit in half over the next three years while providing adequate funding to keep America safe and moving forward. As conservatives we focused on three main goals going into the budget process: 1) to provide funding to keep our nation safe and secure, 2) maintain fiscal discipline by cutting the deficit and 3) reject costly tax increases for working American families. The Senate met two of these three objectives today. “We provided for the long-term protection of our nation by increasing funding for defense and homeland security by 7 and 15 percent respectively. Every American has realized the freedom isn’t free and that we must provide our men and women in the military with all they require for their continued success. “Chairman Nickles’ budget will cut the deficit from $477 billion in FY04 to $223 in FY07 and $202 by FY09. Also, in an effort to bolster this deficit reduction plan, this budget holds non-defense, non-homeland security spending to an increase of less than 1 percent. “I am extremely disappointed however, that the Senate voted to raise the vote threshold for extending the Presidents tax cuts or any other expiring tax provision. Mandating a super-majority threshold for these provisions all but ensures that the child tax-credit will expire, the marriage penalty will reemerge, and the 10-percent income tax rate for low waged workers will not be extended. These are all components of the President’s Jobs and Growth Package that we passed last year, which continues to show positive results everyday. Allowing these tax cuts to expire can do nothing but hamper our economic recovery. Our nations unemployment is down and GDP has grown at its fastest quarterly rate in two decades. Now is not the time to impede effective economic stimulus.”