During the Senate debate on a five-year deficit-reduction plan that would save $500 billion, Senate Minority Leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) offered the following observations about the budget summit and the current fiscal crisis:
We have had our ups and downs. We have had our problems, and we had the summit, and we have been out at Andrews Air Force Base. A lot of us were frustrated, and some of us are still frustrated.
Some of us want to reduce the deficit; but do not touch Social Security, do not raise taxes, do not touch Medicare, do not touch agriculture -- but $500 billion is not enough, the same speaker will say.
I have heard all those speeches, and they are great. But they do not reduce the deficit. And those who say no new taxes, that is fine; that is your position, stick with it. Some of us who would not take pledges on taxes remember certain things that happened. . . .
They have a $13 billion cut for agriculture in this, if you look at the budget summit agreement. . . . Thirteen billion dollars is a lot of money for agriculture, but so is paying additional interest for farmers, and so is inflation for farmers. . . . My farmers want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
Gas tax -- oh, that is a bad idea, but that is only why we are over in the Persian Gulf, or in the gulf; the gulf crisis is all about oil. So we do not want any good policy. Do not have a gas tax because people do not like a gas tax. They are for cigarette tax, business taxes, liquor taxes, beer taxes and wine taxes, unless they smoke or drink.
But a lot of people drive. And you take a poll and say: Do you want to contribute to the gulf crisis and help our boys over there? Oh, yes, 89 percent. Do you want to pay 1 penny more in gas tax? No, 73 percent.
I do not know what the answer is unless we have leadership. I have a feeling the American people are about six months or a year ahead of us and have been and continue to be, and they are fed up with this whole process, because they do not understand it.
We were out at Andrews Air Force Base so long we could have been called up or retired. I went over to the Officers' Club one night and there were some civilians over there, retired officers. They said, "What are you guys still doing here? You have been here all week." That was only the fifth day. They were still eating over there on the 10th day. They like it there. The rates are good. And we were still there the 10th day. They did not understand it. They are only normal human beings.
Senate Minority Leader Robert J. Dole