Durbin Applauds President Biden’s FY24 Budget Proposal

Durbin: This plan protects Social Security, strengthens Medicare, provides reliable health coverage, invests in affordable housing and child care, and more

WASHINGTON – In a speech on the Senate floor today, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) highlighted President Biden’s outline of his Fiscal Year (FY) 2024 budget proposal.  The proposal protects Social Security, strengthens Medicare, adds 25 additional years of solvency to the Medicare trust fund, improves access to affordable and reliable health coverage, including savings on prescription drugs, and invests in affordable housing and quality child care.  The budget proposal also restores the enhanced child tax credit that helped cut the child poverty rate in America nearly in half, as well as provides additional funds for a “cancer moonshot” to end cancer as we know it.  

The President’s plan also strengthens border security and the U.S. immigration system; increases defense spending to ensure that our nation can deter threats from China, Russia, Iran, or any other such potential adversary; and maintains our commitment to the brave fighters and people of Ukraine following Putin’s unjustified and unprovoked war. 

Durbin said, “When tornadoes rip across your state or hurricanes devastate your communities; when a cold snap takes down the electric grid in your state or blazing heat sets off raging wild fires; when a freight train hauling toxic chemicals derails and explodes into a raging fireball, you don’t find a platoon of Ayn Rand-quoting ideologues that really come to the scene and want to be heard, people want to see FEMA and other government agencies on the scene helping as quickly as possible.  They want to know that their government is there to help when it’s needed.  When it gets right down to it, we Americans face a fundamental choice.  Do we want a federal government that is there when we need a hand?  Or do we want a government that will preach to us:  ‘Sorry, you’re on your own, Mr. Taxpayer?’  Do we want a government that is far-sighted enough to plant the American flag on the industries and inventions of the future?  Or do we plan to leave the transformative discoveries – the ‘moonshots’ of this century to China?  President Biden told us last week where he stands on these questions when he proposed his budget to Congress.” 

Durbin also highlighted President Biden’s proposal to make the Earned Income Tax Credit for childless workers permanent, to lift millions of low-wage workers out of poverty.  President Reagan called the Earned Income Tax Credit the best anti-poverty program ever invented. 

“You say you believe in the dignity of work?  You say you respect those men and women who take the early bus and work two or even three jobs to make ends meet?  Here’s a chance to show your respect for work: support the Earned Income Tax Credit,” Durbin continued. 

Durbin also spoke about continued funds for a “cancer moonshot” to end cancer as we know it. The budget proposal also honors our veterans by investing in their health through the PACT Act, legislation to care for veterans sickened by service-connected exposure to burn pits and other toxic hazards.  

“Because what family hasn’t known the heartache personally or among friends or family members, and frequently, the financial devastation of cancer?  Not many.  I hope that we will not only embrace the Administration’s ‘cancer moonshot,’ but we will continue the five percent real budget growth for medical research – including at the National Institutes of Health – that this Senate has supported on a bipartisan basis for nearly a decade,” said Durbin.

According to the White House, if you earn less than $400,000 a year, the President’s plan won’t raise your taxes one dollar.

“The President pays for his plan by making the ultra-wealthy and big corporations finally pay their fair share of taxes.  When 55 of the largest corporations in America paid no taxes – zero – last year, that’s not conservative. That’s just a big con.  And it’s not fair,” said Durbin.

Durbin continued by asking his Republican colleagues what their budget plan is.  During the last Administration, Congressional Republicans voted to add nearly $8 trillion to the national debt.  Most of that $8 trillion in new debt was piled on before the pandemic.  A lot of it was spent on tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy and major corporations.

“We will, undoubtedly, see alternative proposals from both sides of the aisle.  That’s the nature of negotiations and debate.  But it takes two sides to negotiate,” said Durbin.  “I join the Democratic Leader in the Senate and say, ‘Speaker McCarthy where’s your budget?’ You talk big but don’t produce anything.”

“Now, they say they want to eliminate the deficit in a decade.  What’s the plan to do that?  Put it on the table and let’s see it Speaker McCarthy.  Are you going to cut education?  Health care?  Medical research?  Aid for veterans?  FEMA?  The President’s plan is on the table.  Republicans have a responsibility to come up with a serious counter-offer, and not just bumper sticker solutions,” Durbin concluded.  

Video of Durbin’s floor speech is available here. 

Audio of Durbin’s floor speech is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s floor speech is available here for TV Stations.