“Congress has a duty to enact a budget that responsibly invests in our nation’s future and grows our economy for all Americans. Unfortunately, the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget proposal released by House Republicans earlier this week would take our country in the wrong direction by demanding the most devastating cuts ever proposed by Republicans on the Budget Committee. The Republican budget pushed through the House Budget Committee yesterday despite opposition from every Democrat on the committee, calls for $6.5 trillion in spending cuts that cripple important investments in education and infrastructure and breaks our promise to our seniors by ending the Medicare guarantee. The proposal slashes funding for our nation’s core priorities, stifles future economic growth, and comes at the expense of our middle class.

“I support the approach laid out by President Obama earlier this year. The President’s vision for a strong future creates broad-based economic opportunities for all Americans while keeping our nation safe.  The President’s budget follows the funding levels agreed to in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA). Although enactment of the BBA began to address our budget challenges in a more balanced way by providing necessary relief from sequestration in FY 2016 and FY 2017, it does not completely address our long term budget challenges.  The BBA does not compensate for the damage already inflicted by arbitrary cuts imposed by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), and it only provides for short-term relief.  Sequestration levels remain in effect for discretionary funding for Fiscal Years 2018 through 2021.  To truly address our budget challenges, Congress must eliminate sequestration and repeal the BCA caps.

“As Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, I know that national security involves much more than defense.  We must also properly resource diplomacy and development so that our budgets reflect a holistic approach to national security itself.  I recognize that while we must invest in a budget that responsibly addresses our national security challenges, focusing on defense priorities alone would be insufficient. We need to repair and improve our infrastructure, incentivize research and innovation, increase access to education and health care, invest in housing and training our workforce, all while supporting small businesses and working families. These important aspects of our nation’s economy contribute to our enduring national strength.  

“We must empower the American people and those charged with protecting our nation’s security by giving them the means to plan.  Moving forward, the House, Senate, and the President must work together to eliminate sequestration altogether and implement a long-term spending plan that provides certainty to the Department of Defense and our Armed Forces, as well as to the entire federal government.  It is critical that we provide hard-working American families the tools they need to succeed.”