Boyle Opening Statement at Budget Committee Hearing on Fiscal State of the Union

Mar 29, 2023

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Pennsylvania Congressman Brendan F. Boyle, Ranking Member of the House Budget Committee, delivered opening remarks at the Budget Committee hearing on the “Fiscal State of the Union.” Ahead of the hearing, Budget Committee Democrats also released a preview video and a report on how the American Rescue Plan changed the trajectory of our recovery and secured our economic outlook.

Remarks as prepared below:

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And thank you for holding this hearing today. I’d like to welcome our panel of witnesses, we really appreciate you taking the time to be here.

The first thing that must be said when considering the “Fiscal State of the Union” is that we are having this discussion from a place of economic stability and strength that would have been unimaginable two years ago. And I know I began our last hearing by reciting this, and I’ll do so again because it is worth remembering. In March 2021, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office was projecting that unemployment would remain above 4 percent for the entire decade.

But after the passage of the American Rescue Plan, that picture changed dramatically. Unemployment fell rapidly, and the speed and size of our economic recovery made America the envy of the world. Experts at Moody’s Analytics found that the American Rescue Plan helped create 4 million additional jobs and doubled GDP growth in 2021. 

Today, American workers have benefitted from a record 12.4 million jobs created since President Biden took office. So, there is no doubt that the American Rescue Plan dramatically changed our fiscal state for the better. But it was a response to a once-in-a-generation pandemic and economic crisis — not a permanent fix to address underlying issues impacting our society and our economic outlook. Which brings me to my next point.

We agree — our nation faces long-term fiscal challenges. 

Our population is aging, so health care, Social Security, and Medicare costs are rising. Rising inequality is making our country more vulnerable to recessions and other economic shocks and hampering growth. Climate disruptions are becoming more frequent and more expensive. And we lag peer nations in investments in children, especially in the early years of their lives. And yes, debt and deficits are projected to reach record highs. 

We are all seeing the same picture. But we have very different ideas as to where the solutions lie. Democrats have used our fiscal space to make responsible, pro-growth investments that strengthen our communities and our economy while paying down the deficit.

That’s why Democrats followed up on the success of the Rescue Plan with historic legislation to set our nation and our people up for long-term success: including the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the CHIPS and Science Act, FY22 and FY23 appropriations bills, and the Inflation Reduction Act. 

I do want to address where I think there is some disagreement. Republicans believe we can cut our way to a balanced budget. That is not only false, it’s dangerous.

Analysis from the nonpartisan CBO proves this. An attempt to balance the budget without touching Social Security, Medicare, defense spending, veterans mandatory spending, and without increased revenues, would require eliminating every program, every service, and every investment Americans count on. In the end, it still wouldn’t balance the budget but it would gut government to the point society would no longer be able to function.

These types of proposals have devastating consequences. Dr. Zandi and Moody’s Analytics project similar policies would cause a recession in 2024, eliminate 2.5 million jobs and push unemployment to nearly 6 percent. 

We can’t escape the bottom line: to tackle our long-term fiscal challenges, we need to rebalance our tax code and prioritize investments with a high rate of return. And there is no better investment than investing in the American people.

With that, I want to thank our witnesses for being here, and I look forward to their testimony.