|Washington, D.C. – U.S. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said despite repeated attempts by some senators to add amendments that would increase spending and ultimately raise taxes the Senate passed a budget late last night that plans for the future while taking care of today's priorities.
Enzi and Senate colleagues passed the 2005 Budget Resolution by a vote of 51-45. In addition to setting taxing and spending parameters for the next year, the resolution aims to cut the federal deficit in half in three years from $477 billion in 2004 to about $224 billion in 2007.
Enzi, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, said the resolution would help bolster the economy through provisions to create and strengthen jobs in the U.S.
One provision, an amendment successfully offered by Enzi, would provide an additional $250 million to the nation's job training programs to address the growing skills gap that threatens the nation's ability to compete and succeed in a more complex, knowledge based economy.
"We've talked about the loss of American jobs because of increased globalization and productivity. It's time we talked about how to keep high paying jobs in America's factories and businesses and on America's shores," said Enzi. "America is being challenged to equip our workforce with the skills needed for jobs in the new, global economy. My amendment would increase the job training budget to help close the gap between the demand for highly-skilled workers and our supply."
Enzi said unlike other amendments that would have required a tax hike to pay for their cost, his amendment would be offset by other spending reductions.
"This investment in our nation's job training and employment system is an important investment in our future. However, like any investment of the taxpayers' money, the investment in federal job training programs must be fiscally responsible and generate results. While I support an increase in resources for job training, it cannot come at the expense of fiscal discipline," said Enzi.
The resolution would also extend the personal tax relief currently scheduled to expire at the end of 2004, namely for the $1,000-per-child tax credit, the 10 percent income tax bracket expansion, and the marriage penalty relief.
In addition, the resolution provides more funding for the No Child Left Behind Act, individuals with disabilities, and Pell grants to students who want to take their education one step further.
Enzi said some senators seemed to confuse the budget process with the authorization and appropriations processes.
"What the budget really does is set up spending targets or limits. After those are established the specific authorizing committees arrange the bull's eyes within that target for their priorities. Finally, the appropriations committees shoot the real bullets at the targets, or spend the real money," said Enzi.
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Don Nickles said of Enzi's efforts, "This is a challenging budget year. The deficits we face are unacceptable and we have to bring them down, while still providing for defense and security efforts and making sure families aren't hit with a tax increase during this economic recovery. I appreciate Senator Enzi's hard work on the Budget Committee to write a budget that achieved those objectives. His contributions and leadership were critical as we worked to restore fiscal discipline and meet important national priorities."
Once the House passes its version of the budget a conference committee will next meet to work out the differences between the Senate and House versions.
Enzi's statement, submitted for the record, follows.
Statement for the record