One of our nation’s most important challenges is growing our economy while enhancing broad-based economic opportunities for every American. I support creating a strong economy that allows all Americans to thrive, fulfill their ambitions, and provide for their families. Since the economic recession, many hardworking Americans have been pushed out of the economy because they can’t find a job or have one that doesn’t pay enough to make ends meet. Only a small percentage of Americans are sharing in economic growth and income inequality has reached heights not seen since before the Great Depression. Our nation needs a budget that is focused on expanding economic opportunity, investing in innovation and infrastructure, and creating jobs to strengthen the middle class.
In recent years, Congress has moved away from the regular order of enacting budgets and then passing twelve separate appropriations bills to fund the government. Instead it has moved towards a cycle of governing through budget crises, which have created harmful uncertainty for Americans and the economy. During the disastrous debt ceiling debate in 2011, Congress passed the Budget Control Act, which I opposed. While that legislation temporarily addressed the debt limit, it also stipulated that if Congress did not find $1.2 trillion in savings, harmful and indiscriminate cuts would take effect. These cuts were designed to be so damaging to our national defense, the economy, and other important federal programs, that Congress would be forced to act. Since then, Congress has only been able to make progress with limited-term budget agreements; particularly the two-year Murray-Ryan budget deal in 2013 that raised spending caps put in place by the earlier Budget Control Act in 2011.
Moving forward, Congress must eliminate arbitrary budget cuts, as I have long called for, and implement a long-term spending plan that provides certainty to our economy, the Department of Defense, and the entire federal government. That is why I introduced the Relief from Sequestration Act, to eliminate the mechanism of sequestration entirely after 2018, so Congress can come together to discuss a long-term spending and deficit reduction plan.
As the debate continues about the budget and our nation’s priorities, Congress has a responsibility to the American people to address our fiscal issues in a balanced and effective way. I will continue to work to create greater certainty for the economy with a responsible budget that supports our working families, invests in innovation and infrastructure, advances comprehensive immigration reform, and creates jobs and strengthens the middle class.
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