Senator Lamar Alexander on Thursday made the following statement on President Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018:
“The president has suggested a budget, but, under the Constitution, Congress passes appropriations bills. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee my priorities are national defense, national laboratories, the National Institutes of Health and national parks.
“We will not balance the budget by cutting discretionary spending, which is only 31 percent of spending and is already under control because of earlier budget acts.
Runaway entitlement spending – more than 60 percent of spending – is the real cause of the $20 trillion federal debt. With Medicaid reforms in the health care bill, Congress is taking an important step in addressing entitlement spending.”
Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a member of the Senate Budget Committee, said, “I sincerely appreciate the Trump administration’s effort to cut waste and encourage efficiency, but the fact is that until the president and Congress are willing to address the real drivers of our debt – Medicare and Social Security – we will be complicit in shackling future generations with the financial burden of our own lack of discipline. That is not a legacy I want to leave.
“I truly believe we can solve our mandatory spending problem without harming those currently dependent on these programs, and I have offered numerous legislative proposals toward that end. I am hopeful that the complete 2018 budget to be delivered in May will include appropriate reforms because until we address this problem head on, discretionary spending will continue to be under severe pressure.”
Senator Corker also commented on the proposed budget blueprint for the U.S. Department of State.
“Our team remains in close contact with the State Department. Secretary Tillerson has said he willingly accepts this challenge, and I look forward to sitting down with him soon to discuss this proposal and how he believes he can accomplish his work at these budget levels. At the end of the day, while the administration proposes a budget, ultimately it is the role of Congress to dispose it and fund government. I believe we can strike an appropriate balance that recognizes the critical role of diplomacy in keeping our military out of harm’s way and appropriately advancing our nation’s interests while ensuring taxpayer dollars are used in the most efficient and effective manner.”