FOR YOUR INFORMATION
Eds. and producers note: Sen. Nelson’s remarks at the bipartisan budget-conference committee’s first meeting today will be streamed live on C-SPAN’s website. You can watch by clicking here circa 11:00 a.m. today.
FYI: U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) will deliver remarks at the first meeting of the bipartisan budget-conference committee today at approximately 11:00 a.m. His remarks will be streamed live on C-SPAN’s website which you can view by clicking here.
Here’s a copy Nelson’s advanced prepared remarks:
Bill Nelson’s opening remarks (as prepared for delivery)
Bipartisan Budget Conference
Oct. 30, 2013
Mr. Chairman, I approach the task we’re beginning today with the knowledge that our fellow Americans are counting on us to find solutions to some of our nation’s most pressing financial ills.
I plan to address the serious issues before us with candor, an open mind and a willingness to listen to all views. And I am heartened to know the other public servants who make up this committee will, too.
President Kennedy was fond of saying that he preferred to find not Democratic or Republican answers – but, the right answers. And that’s what I hope we’re able to do here.
The way I see it, the only certain hurdle we have to overcome is ourselves. The only thing that could derail a bipartisan agreement is excessive partisanship and rigid ideologies.
We all share a responsibility to put aside any partisan political differences in favor of finding bipartisan solutions. Our country simply can’t afford this excessive partisanship any longer.
By nature, I am an optimist; and as such, I’m optimistic that a new bipartisan spirit will guide us through this effort.
I’m hopeful as well that we can talk openly and honestly about how to move our country forward.
Now – to me – some of the questions seem to have obvious answers.
For example, we need more targeted budget cuts of wasteful government spending coupled with realistic tax reform.
We need to close some of the loopholes that allow some of the wealthiest individuals and most-profitable corporations to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. And we need to find ways to prevent the so-called offshore tax dodges.
In concrete terms, the difference between the House and Senate budgets is about $90 billion. Believe it or not, that’s just about what published reports say the Treasury loses every year, alone, from these offshore tax havens.
Just these few examples could save more than enough to resolve the differences in the House and Senate budget plans, at least in the first year.
While we go about trying to negotiate this budget plan, I also would ask that we be mindful of the need to support and grow a strong middle class, especially by promoting affordable education, housing and access to affordable health care.
And I don’t want to do this on the backs of Medicare and Social Security beneficiaries that paid for those programs all their working lives.
Meantime, let’s stay focused on the problem – and not our differences. Let’s judge ideas not as Republican or Democratic, but as a good idea or a bad idea.
And let’s get this job done.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.