From a statement by Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan (D-N.Y.) on Senate action on the Gramm-Rudman amendment:
Oct. 9 was an eventful day in the history of American politics. A majority of Democrats agreed to dismantle the domestic policies of Franklin D. Roosevelt, in return for a majority of Republicans agreeing to dismantle the defense policies of Ronald Reagan. . . .
Let me cite coments on the floor:
From a Democratic sponsor: "Well, this wrecks the president for good and all. Next January he will have to send us a budget that provides an additional $25 billion for defense, if he is to maintain the 3 percent growth rate, $30 billion more in interest, $20 billion more for cost-of-living adjustments and $15 billion more in health. That's an extra $90 billion on top of a near $200 billion deficit. He can't do it."
From an exchange with a Republican budget expert: "When this is all over, do you think we might get a flow chart or something to show what we have decided?"
"Well, not from me. I don't understand the ----thing."
From a Democratic defense expert: "This means five years of zero growth in the defense budget -- that is, if we are lucky and don't have a recession. . . . this puts the president's defense policy on a direct collision course with his tax policy."
The problem (is) the radical inconsistency at the heart of Mr. Reagan's program: to shrink one-half of government, domestic policy, while expanding the other half, defense. . . . What is so painful is the realization that huge damage is inevitable. Within years -- months, almost -- the United States will be the world's largest debtor with a flat or declining defense budget.