Remarks to the National Federation of Republican Women

*** As Prepared for Delivery ***

"Hello and thank you for inviting me to join you today - and talk about all the interesting things going on in Washington these days. Not only do you all have your careers and families to care for, but you've also made time to do your civic duty and be leaders in your communities. I know of no better organization that allows Republican women this opportunity than the National Federation of Republican Women. Know that I am grateful to be with you all today.

"As of late, AIG has been stealing the news headlines for their egregious spending of taxpayer money on employee bonuses. But Washington has had its fair share of irresponsibly spending other people's money and doing it in what many Americans are beginning to realize is a fiscally irresponsible manner. A trillion here - hundreds of billions there - it seems that leadership in Washington has been throwing around a lot of your money in hopes of fixing the economy. Yet we haven't seen much of an impact in our housing markets, our job markets and in consumer and business lending. The Dow and worldwide indices continue to show signs of insecurity, and a state like mine that relies largely on oil revenues, continues to see the price of oil at levels much lower than last year.

"As many of you know, I didn't support the stimulus measure because I believe, as did every single Republican House member and most all of my Republican colleagues in the Senate, that this money spent in this legislation is misguided. Even worse, the bill didn't provide any tax measures that would give a quick infusion of cash for individuals to go out and purchase a car, or for small business owners to use that tax credit to hire - or at least stop laying off their employees.

"Not only does this bill spend money we don't have on things we don't need, but it does so at unprecedented spending levels, with no focus on fixing the real problems of our economy. We need to repair a broken borrowing and lending system -- create incentives that prevent employers from enacting hiring freezes or layoffs -- and ensure that Americans have confidence in our credit system so rather than waiting, they will go out and make those large purchases, such as homes and autos that they've been putting off.

"Until Americans have more confidence and faith that they won't lose their jobs and faith in our credit and borrowing systems, the economy will not recover. Only by fixing these broken systems will we be able to stimulate the economy and get America back on the road to economic recovery.

"The budget is another major issue coming up - as you may have heard, the Congressional Budget Office - our neutral, non-partisan agency that makes independent assessments of the costs of legislative action recently said that their budget deficit projections are $2.3 trillionMORE that the White House had predicted:They are predicting that President Obama's budget will produce an outrageous $9.3 trillion in deficits for the next ten years, which is $2.3 trillion WORSE than the White House predicted in its own budget.

"These deficit projections are worse than expected by top Democrats,which in my opinion, makesenacting Obama's budget really cumbersome, even with Democrats controlling both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. My sense is that we're going to have to have some scaling back of this very massive bill and to get our sense of priorities straight because the Federal government can be everything to everyone.

"A few other issues I'd like to discuss; Energy. As the Ranking Republican member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, we must further utilize our role as the "loyal opposition" to make sure that any energy bill we pass not only looks to renewables, alternatives and efficiency - but to increased domestic production.

"Our troops - we must ensure that our troops continue to have the best resources available to them to continue to fight to protect our country and that their families know we love and appreciate them.

"Health care reform - we must fight every effort to impose excessive and onerous taxes on small businesses to offset the costs of providing health care for all. Unless we address the rising costs of health care in America -- $2.2 trillion in 2007 and expected to rise to $3.1 trillion by 2012 -- we will never have a sustainable health care system. Any health care reform proposal must ensure quality care that provides real and meaningful access and choice in who they see for their medical care.

"Thank you to the women of this party for all that you do and for sharing our vision for a safe and secure America. Thank you for choosing not to saddle future generations with excessive debt to pay for massive government expansions and bailouts. And thank you for fighting for the principals of the party of Lincoln and Reagan."

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