National Debt and Deficit

“I believe Congress must work together to responsibly bring down the national debt.  The country’s overarching debt crisis cannot be solved solely on the backs of middle class families, seniors, and the most vulnerable. We need to find the right balance between making smart cuts and ensuring that those who can afford it most are also being asked to sacrifice.  I believe Congress owes it to future generations not to burden them with unsustainable debt, but I will not allow those cuts to be made at the expense of creating jobs, protecting seniors, and giving future generations the tools they need to compete in a 21st century global economy.”

My Priorities

  • Address the problem – our debt levels are a real concern, and there is no easy way out.
  • Reduce the deficit by getting unemployed Washingtonians back to work.
  • Reduce the deficit to sustainable levels as a portion of the economy.
  • Protect our fragile economic recovery.
  • Ensure middle class Americans, the elderly, and children do not bear the brunt of deficit reduction alone.
  • Reduce spending sensibly and invest smartly to ensure economic growth continues and America remains globally competitive.
  • Bipartisan agreement on the seriousness of this problem and the comprehensive approach necessary to resolve it.

My Accomplishments

  • Worked to reinstate the Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) rules which would require new spending measures to be offset in the budget by other funds, typically tax increases or cuts to spending.  PAYGO rules helped the U.S. produce budget surpluses in the 1990s.
  • Opposed the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003 for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans that added over a trillion dollars to the debt.
  • Supported funding the trillion dollar Bush war in Iraq by restoring the Clinton-era tax rates for an individual making over $319,000 a year.
  • Supported the Affordable Care Act, which will reduce the deficit by $143 billion over the next ten years. In addition, it will  continue to reduce federal deficits in the decades following 2019.
  • On March 15, 2011, I joined 63 of my colleagues in a letter urging President Obama to engage in a broad discussion regarding comprehensive deficit reduction, including examining discretionary spending cuts, entitlement changes, and tax reform.
  • Co-chaired the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction in an effort to produce a bipartisan, balanced plan that made smart spending cuts, reformed entitlement programs to ensure they were there for future generations, and included new revenue from the wealthiest Americans.
  • As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I drafted and helped pass appropriations bills for fiscal year 2012 that reduced discretionary spending by $31 billion below fiscal year 2011 funding levels