The Federal Budget isn’t just a plan for the US Government’s spending the following year. It’s also a statement about the federal government’s priorities. As such, it is often the subject of lengthy and heated debate.
The financial crisis 9 years ago reduced the amount of revenues the government took in, while it increased government spending on essential safety net programs like unemployment benefits and food stamps. The result was trillion-dollar budget deficits for four years.
As a result of both economic developments and Congressional action, federal budget deficits have dropped substantially from 2009’s record $1.4 Trillion. The 2013 deficit was $680 billion, for example, and the 2014 deficit was $485 billion. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office calculated that the most recent deficit, in FY 2015, was $439 Billion.
Simply put, we have cut the deficit by more than half over the last 7 years, despite having suffered through the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.
This improvement provided us with a remarkable opportunity to make jobs and economic growth our top priority in Fiscal Year 2016. Unfortunately, the Congressional Republicans who control both the House and the Senate chose once again to focus on cutting government programs that provide opportunity and security to all Americans.
On March 25, the House took up and passed a budget resolution for the coming fiscal year (Fiscal Year 2016). The House voted on a number of different budget proposals that day – budgets with a wide range of priorities.
I voted in favor of the budgets that placed their top priority on creating jobs, putting Americans back to work, and increasing economic growth:
for more information on the CBC Budget
for more information on the Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget
for more information on the House Democrats’ alternative budget
Unfortunately, all these budgets were defeated.
I voted against the budget (H.Con.Res. 27
) supported by the House Republican Leadership (“the Price Budget”) because it would make deep cuts in important government investments and safety-net programs.
H.Con.Res. 27 would have slashed more than $5 trillion from the federal budget over the next ten years – much of it from Medicare, Medicaid, and other health care programs, and most of it from programs that help the poor
. By cutting government programs so much, this budget would have substantially reduced overall demand in our economy – killing American jobs and choking off economic growth. Nevertheless, H.Con.Res. 27 was approved on a vote
of 228 to 199.
On April 30, the House voted to approve a conference report on the Senate-passed budget (S.Con.Res.11) by a vote
of 226 to 197. I voted against this destructive budget, as did every Democrat present. In broad terms, it wasn’t much different from the version the House passed over my opposition.
for more information on the final federal Fiscal Year 2016 budget.
As the debate over the 2017 federal budget priorities takes place, I will continue to work to enact legislation that places its top priority on job creation and economic growth.