Sen. Grassley: Congress Established Spending Principle

Wednesday, 03 Aug 2011 04:07 AM

By Hiram Reisner

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Sen. Charles Grassley says even though he voted against the debt-reduction deal, he believes Congress has set a principle of cutting out-of-control spending. The Iowa Republican also told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Tuesday the question remains whether Congress will “stick to its guns.”
Grassley said cutting $900 billion over the next 10 years is “not a bad deal” — if it is carried out to fruition — adding Congress has a propensity to “change things along the way.”

“The only advantage is this: We have established a principle — and I say this even if I voted against the bill,” Grassley said. “If the principle is established that we are going to reduce expenditures, dollar for dollar, for an increase in the debt of a dollar, then we’ve established a principle that if that goes on for 10 years, at the end of 10 years, we’ll have a $10 billion surplus.

“But again . . . you got to always raise questions: Is Congress going to stick to its guns? And that’s always a question that’s out there,” he said. “And since it’s kind of like a bird in a hand — it’s not necessarily a bird in the hand, [it’s] like we’re two in the bush, you know.”

Grassley voted against the deal because “it delays meaningful spending reductions, fails to address entitlement spending in a way that will save the programs for future generations of retirees, and leaves open the possibility of tax increases,” he said in a statement released by his office.

Van Susteren asked with all the doubt surrounding the debt deal should Americans think the country is now on the right path to restoring fiscal solvency and there actually has been structural change in spending — or just promises.

“There would be structural changes in the 15 percent that is discretionary, no structural changes yet in entitlements — 44 percent of the budget — very little change in the 20 percent of the budget that is defense,” Grassley said. “And if you’re really going to make changes, they’re going to have to come in the area of defense and the area of entitlements.

“Now, I don’t say in the area of entitlements just to save money — it’s a case [of]: Are you going save the program for our children and grandchildren? They're paying for it today, they ought to have some benefit from it,” he said. “But they won’t have any benefit from it if we don’t make structural changes.”

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