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 that began 7 years ago reduced the amount of revenues the government has taken 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, however, federal budget deficits have dropped substantially from 2009’s record $1.4 Trillion. The 2013 deficit was $680 billion, for example, while the 2014 and 2015 deficits are projected
to be $492 billion and $469 billion, respectively. In other words, we have cut the deficit by more than half over the last 6 years despite the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression
. This improvement has given us a remarkable opportunity to make jobs and economic growth our top priority as we make decisions about federal spending levels for Fiscal Year 2015.
Last December, Congress approved the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, which set federal budget levels for 2014 and 2015. Consequently, there was no need to pass a 2015 budget resolution this year – just the annual spending (“appropriations”) bills.
Nevertheless, the House took up and passed a budget resolution earlier this year. The House voted on a number of different budget proposals in April – 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:
The Congressional Black Caucus Budget (“the Fudge substitute”)
for more information on the CBC Budget
The Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget (“the Grijalva substitute”)
for more information on the Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget
The official House Democrats’ Budget (“the Van Hollen substitute”)
for more information on the House Democrats’ alternative budget
Unfortunately, all these budgets were defeated.
I voted against the budget (H.Con.Res. 96) supported by the House Republican Leadership (“the Ryan Budget”) because it would make deep cuts in important government investments and safety-net programs
. This bill would slash 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 imposing so much austerity at once, this budget would substantially reduce aggregate demand in our economy – killing American jobs and choking off economic growth. Nevertheless, H.Con.Res. 96 was approved on a vote
of 216 to 205.
for more information on the Ryan Budget.
As the debate over the 2015 federal budget continues, I will continue to work to enact legislation that places its top priority on job creation and economic growth.