“Republicans have finally engaged in constructive conversations that have produced a two year bipartisan budget deal. This agreement, reached by House and Senate leaders, would increase funding equally for defense and non-defense investments and will help ensure that our economy continues to grow while providing opportunities for middle-class Americans. Unfortunately, this deal does not eliminate cuts mandated by sequestration and does not fix our core budget problems in the long-term.
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, sequestration would take effect. Sequester 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.
Ideally, a budget must support our working families, invest in innovation and infrastructure, and advance comprehensive immigration reform. A responsible budget must create jobs and strengthen the middle class. This budget agreement is not perfect and much of it needs careful review, but it is a move in the right direction. This agreement is preferable to governing from budget crisis to budget crisis and will allow for the American people to plan for the future.
This budget deal is paid for in a balanced way by ensuring that Wall Street pays the taxes they owe and cuts billions in wasteful spending. Furthermore, this agreement protects critical priorities, keeping intact programs that working families depend on and protecting Social Security and Medicare beneficiaries from harmful cuts. The deal will avoid cuts to the Social Security Disability Insurance program that are projected to take place at the end of next year and also avoids an increase in Medicare Part B premiums.
I have long called for Congress to permanently address the sequester. While the bipartisan budget agreement does not eliminate the sequester, this deal is a necessary compromise. The agreement will more reasonably fund our national and economic security through 2017, while ensuring the full faith and credit of the United States is not put at risk. Moving forward, Congress must eliminate sequestration altogether and implement a long-term spending plan that provides certainty to our economy, the Department of Defense, and the entire federal government.”