Statement on the Proposed Federal Budget

June 18, 1987

On Monday night I called on the Congress to come up with a responsible budget and to offer meaningful reforms on the Federal budget process. Some of the response from Capitol Hill was that ``The President is playing politics.'' Well, the Congress heard part of the message, and yesterday reached an agreement on a spending plan. But it is clear that there are differences in our priorities. These differences will be resolved once we have a credible, reliable, and enforceable budget process.

The budget Congress is about to adopt raises taxes $21 billion next year and $73 billion over the next 3 years. On the spending side, there is an additional $43 billion for domestic spending and no new funding for defense. In fact, if Congress has its way, national security will decline in real terms for the third year in a row. Their price for meeting our national security needs is this: For every $1 of defense, it will cost $10 in new taxes; that's an offer I can refuse.

And what about reducing the Federal deficit? Only through new taxes, and not through spending restraint, can Congress come up with a plan. That is why I said we are at a breakpoint. The American people don't want more spending; they want better results. And anyone who tells you we can't cut the deficit without raising taxes or attacking defense is just not telling you the truth. This budget battle is all about making the next 4 and 8 and 20 years as good as the last 4. Continued opportunity and growth for a generation -- that's what is at stake.