Budget, Debt and Deficit

Our federal budget, with its recurring deficits and accumulating debt, is one of the most important issues we face today.  American businesses and families work hard to spend wisely, to plan for the future, and to invest in a more promising tomorrow.  I believe American government should abide by the same principles without creating manufactured political crises that threaten the American economy.

Stabilizing our federal budget is one of the most important issues we face today.  American businesses and families work hard to spend wisely, to plan for the future, and to invest in a more promising tomorrow.  I believe American government should abide by the same principles without creating manufactured political crises that threaten the American economy and lead to government shutdowns. We must look forward and work together to bring down our debt in a way that cuts wasteful spending, focuses on cost containment and continues to invest in the programs and resources that create jobs and reinforce the strength and growth of our economy.  
 
It’s long past time for Congress to return to a responsible and consistent budget process. Rather than manufactured crises that constantly drive our economy, businesses and communities to the brink of a cliff, we need thoughtful compromise that is mindful of the very real impacts that our decisions have on the lives of hard-working Americans. 

I believe that the only acceptable solution to putting our budget back on track is a balanced solution that includes a mix of both revenue increases and spending cuts. Any approach that focuses only on quick and dramatic spending cuts will cut jobs along with dollars, losing sight of the fact that the driving force behind fiscal policy should always be long-term growth and prosperity for Americans.

The first step to deficit reduction is job creation.  Investments in education, workforce training, and infrastructure projects that get Americans back to work will pay for themselves over time as we utilize the full potential of our workforce and increase the base of tax revenue.  But those investments must be paired with a responsible long-term plan to get our spending and debt under control; no such plan would be complete without a sustained effort to contain health care costs. The cost of health care in this country remains the number one driver of our debt and deficit. Any credible plan to put us back on sound fiscal footing must continue the ACA’s work to slow the growth of healthcare costs without compromising the quality or accessibility of care.  

Sequestration and other programs that balance the budget by slashing domestic social programs are deeply misguided.  With non-defense discretionary spending accounting for less than 15 percent of the budget, it’s not our schools or safety net programs or scientific research endeavors that are running up unsustainable deficits.  These programs are not the cause of the problem, and gutting them is not the solution.  I oppose efforts like sequestration that hinder growth and opportunity while doing nothing to meaningfully reduce our deficit.
 
I also believe deeply that the federal government should be exploring innovative and cutting-edge funding models that leverage both the public and private sectors to address some of our most pressing social challenges. With this in mind, I helped introduce the bipartisan Social Impact Bond Act, which would help federal agencies explore ‘pay for success’ financing – where government pays organizations to provide social services that are proven to work.
 
To read my op/ed on Social Impact bonds, click here.
 

More information:

The President’s Budget for FY2019: https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/budget-fy2019.pdf
House Appropriations Committee: https://appropriations.house.gov/
House Budget Committee: https://budget.house.gov/