WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed the Bipartisan Budget Act. Written by House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee chairman Patty Murray, the bill will provide $63 billion in temporary sequester relief and $85 billion in mandatory savings, according to a statement issued by the House of Representatives Committee on the Budget. It will eliminate waste, cut corporate welfare, and make needed reforms to autopilot spending, the statement said. On net, the bill will reduce the deficit by $23 billion over the next ten years. The Senate will take it up next week.
Upon passage of the legislation, Chairman Paul Ryan of Wisconsin made the following statement:
I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for supporting this bill. It reduces the deficit—without raising taxes. And it does so by cutting spending in a smarter way. It doesn’t go as far as I’d like, but it’s a firm step in the right direction.
This agreement will stop Washington’s lurch from crisis to crisis. It will bring stability to the budget process and show both parties can work together.
I want to thank Senator Murray for her hard work on this agreement. And I’m confident her colleagues in the Senate will pass this bill.”
Reps. Chris Stewart, Jim Matheson, Rob Bishop, and Jason Chaffetz, representing Utah’s four congressional districts, all voted in favor of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 and released the following statements:
I voted in favor of the budget deal Chairman Paul Ryan has negotiated. Chairman Ryan is negotiating with a partner that fails to recognize the gravity of the situation our great country is facing and refuses to make the hard choices to put our country on a real path to fiscal sustainability.
“The sequester was a blunt instrument that indiscriminately cut defense spending in an irresponsible manner. This deal reverses those cuts that were focused largely on our defense spending. While I acknowledge that we can, and should, address wasteful spending in our defense department, the sequester was a poor way to address the need for more responsible spending.
Chairman Ryan was able to keep in place most of the overall spending cuts from the Budget Control Act while relieving the cuts to defense spending that have hurt our national security and military readiness over the past year. This deal also allows us to return Congress to regular order–stopping Washington from governing crisis to crisis. Having a budget in place will allow Republicans to hold the President and his federal agencies accountable through the appropriations process.
Today I voted in support of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. While this bill is not perfect, it does some significant things right. Specifically, it puts us on the path to avoiding another government shutdown and sets funding levels for the next two years. I am especially pleased to see folks from both sides of the aisle coming together to create a bipartisan framework for further discussions.
Passing a budget is important and just like families and businesses across the country realize, sacrifices are necessary. In this instance, I would have liked to have seen deeper spending cuts. However, the House, Senate, and White House don’t share the same outlook on fiscal conservatism. The key point, though, is that for the next couple of years this bill relieves the burden of sequester on our nation’s military while still reducing the deficit over the long-term. The hard working men and women who serve our country have shouldered more than their fair share from President Obama’s draconian cuts to defense as well as the President’s sequester cuts to defense. You can’t balance the budget on the back of our military. Stopping these looming sequester cuts is the right thing to do. If we want to get serious about addressing the budget and curbing spending, we need to expand our sights beyond the Department of Defense.
I voted yes on HJRes 59 for several reasons. While the bill is far from perfect, the benefits of the bill outweigh the costs. First, we avoid another government shutdown. Second, over the next ten years, this budget will reduce deficits by $23 billion ($14 billion if interest is included). Many of the mandatory spending cuts will continue beyond the ten-year budget window, yielding additional savings of $100 billion in the second decade according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. Third, we avoid larger-than-necessary cuts to FY 2014 defense spending. While Congress needs to slow the growth in defense spending just like the rest of the budget, defense spending as a percent of GDP and federal spending will continue to decrease substantially over the next several years.
Also, this budget resolution allows Congress to return to regular order by going through the appropriations process instead of relying on continuing resolutions. The regular appropriations process is a better way to make sure that spending is correctly prioritized and taxpayer dollars are spent most efficiently.
The real threat to our nation, however, is not discretionary spending, which this budget resolution addresses. In fact, non-emergency, non-OCO, discretionary spending in FY 2014 and FY 2015 as stipulated in this budget resolution will be lower than it was 2011. The real drivers of our long-term budget deficits are entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Budget resolutions such as the one we passed today impact less than one-third of the total federal budget. While we need to focus on discretionary spending, the real emphasis needs to be on entitlements, which is why I have proposed a common sense Social Security proposal.
To learn more about the Bipartisan Budget Act, click here.
To read the text of the Bipartisan Budget Act presented to the House, click here.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.