Smith Statement in Opposition to Budget Bill
“I could have supported most, if not all, of the funding in this bill but for the fact that just two months ago, we cut taxes by $2 trillion dollars. This legislation is like quitting your job and only then deciding that you want to buy a new house and a second car. I am supportive of spending the money necessary to meet our country’s needs. I am not in favor of continuing to borrow it; I want to raise the revenue necessary. For this reason, I not only opposed the tax cut we passed in December, but I have also long insisted that we need to increase revenue to fund the priorities that are included in this bill.
“For the most part, the priorities contained in this legislation, such as disaster relief and modernizing infrastructure, are very important. While the defense spending it provides is higher than I would have preferred, we need to increase defense spending given the wars we’re fighting and the readiness crisis our military is facing.
“As a country, we have to be prepared to pay for the critical programs we need instead of putting them all on a credit card and sticking future generations with the bill. Ten years from now--even twenty years from now--I have no doubt that we will face national security threats, have disasters, and need to invest in infrastructure and health care. Where will the money come from when we are 25 or 30 trillion dollars in debt? We have to be fiscally responsible both in the way we spend and generate revenue. This legislation, combined with the recently passed tax cuts and all of the other tax cuts we’ve enacted in the last seventeen years, simply does not meet that test and puts us further down a fiscally irresponsible path that I cannot support.
“The other problem with this bill is that it does not address DACA or take action to help DREAMers. DACA remains a very important and deeply frustrating issue for me. Eighty percent of the country supports the DREAMers and enacting a clean fix for DACA into law. More than a majority of the House has expressed support for solving this crisis, yet Speaker Ryan refuses to allow a vote for the democratic process to play out. Democrats alone cannot force him to do that. Instead, we have to look for leverage to compel him to do what he should. Unfortunately, we are limited in our ability to drive the agenda. Even after the Senate did not provide the votes to keep the government open last month, Speaker Ryan still refused to allow a vote on DACA.
“I will continue to look for every conceivable point of leverage to push Speaker Ryan and the Republicans to do the right thing on DACA. Ultimately, only the Majority can make that decision. Everyone in the country--in addition to the Democrats in Congress--needs to continue to put pressure on Speaker Ryan to act on clean DACA legislation. I will continue to do my part.”