At a time when our country is facing enormous debt and economic uncertainty, tough decisions must be made to get our fiscal house in order. The American people deserve responsible solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems, and that is why I supported the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, a budget agreement passed by the House that reduces our deficit without raising taxes. I studied this legislation extensively, and worked with my colleagues including Chairman Paul Ryan, to make sure I fully understood and verified the spending cuts are real. While more work needs to be done, this budget agreement is a good place to start. It is a win for anyone who recognizes the threats posed by out of control spending and wants to curb our deficit.
Because of critical differences between Republicans and Democrats on our nation’s fiscal priorities, we have found ourselves in a tense budget battle for quite some time. Fortunately, the House and Senate Budget Committees worked hard and were able to come to an agreement. The agreement isn’t perfect, but it does make significant spending cuts to both permanent and mandatory spending while putting us on a path towards achieving economic security for hardworking Americans. This legislation avoids the potential of a government shutdown and gets Congress back on the path of funding the government in a timely manner through budgeting and planning on a regular basis.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 includes spending cuts and savings totaling $85 billion while eliminating waste. It stops sending unemployment checks to criminals and government checks to dead people, and it stops paying Medicaid bills that insurance companies should cover. These reforms are common sense and will save billions of dollars.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 protects our defense community by providing $63 billion in sequester relief over two years, split evenly between defense and non-defense programs. Without this bill, defense is the only casualty of the January sequester. The Pentagon would bear the full brunt of the next round of sequester cuts, undoubtedly impairing our military’s readiness and putting our national defense at risk. This is a huge issue for North Carolina because of the impact on training and on civilian jobs at Fort Bragg and our other military installations.
Last but not least, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 enacts real reforms right now. The federal government makes trillions of dollars of empty promises to retirees. And these empty promises not only drive the debt, they also threaten the retirement security of current and future seniors. This agreement starts to address the problem. The agreement also asks private companies to cover more of the cost of guaranteeing their pension benefits.
The taxpayers shouldn’t have to bail out private companies’ pension benefits. Our economy is saddled under a staggering $17 trillion debt. Years of reckless spending have led our country into a dire economic situation, putting the burden on our hard-working families, small businesses, and local communities. Americans deserve a long-term budget that addresses the underlying spending problem plaguing our federal government, not temporary plans that continue to kick the can down the road. This budget agreement saves money and provides stability. It is $78 billion below where government spending was set by Republicans when we took over the House in 2010, and it is a full $191 billion below where the President anticipated discretionary spending to be in his original budget. I support this budget agreement, and my commitment remains to cutting spending and reducing the deficit so we can grow the economy and create real jobs right here at home.