ICYMI: Blue Dog Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility & Government Reform Calls on Budget Committee to Address the Debt
WASHINGTON—Yesterday, the Co-Chairs of the Blue Dog Coalition’s Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility and Government Reform—Reps. Ed Case (HI-01) and Ben McAdams (UT-04)—delivered remarks before the House Budget Committee to draw attention to the national debt and call for a fiscally-responsible budget.
EXCERPT: Rep. Ed Case’s Budget Committee Testimony
As Prepared for Delivery
March 6, 2019
“Our budget should not be an aspirational exercise but instead a document that comprehensively addresses our nation’s needs and expenses. We have urgent challenges, from climate change to health care and beyond, and we need a full and difficult debate on how best to address them in a fiscally responsible way.
“If we continue on our current fiscally unsustainable path, we will continue to reduce our ability to deal not only with normal course needs but with future emergencies or recessions. As just a few examples, we already know that several trust funds will soon be exhausted including the Social Security Trust Fund and the Highway Trust Fund, placing greater pressure on our overall budget. Deferring these known issues only compounds them.
“We also must return to regular order. We need to pass both the budget and stand-alone appropriations legislation on time, every time. This lends both internal stability and external predictability to the process.
“As Co-Chair of the Blue Dog Caucus’ Fiscal Responsibility and Government Reform Task Force, I encourage this Committee to set meaningful goals to reduce the deficit and put a plan forward to achieve these actions. The longer we wait, the worse the options will become.”
EXCERPT: Rep. Ben McAdams’ Budget Committee Testimony
As Prepared for Delivery
March 6, 2019
“Before I was elected to Congress, I was a mayor who had to balance a budget every year, in bipartisan fashion. I was then, as I am now, accountable to taxpayers for every dollar spent and nothing was more important than to be a good steward of hard-earned tax dollars.
“Our $22 trillion debt is a bipartisan problem. Both parties are responsible for getting us into this mess. In 2017, we saw Republicans in the House jam through an irresponsible tax cut for the wealthy and well-connected that added almost $2 trillion dollars to our debt total. They sold that tax cut to the public by saying, in part that it would pay for itself. But most economists say that is a myth. That additional $2 trillion simply piled on to the enormous burden we’ve created for future generations, rather than achieve needed tax reform.
“Both Democrats and Republicans have acted in a way that suggests debt doesn’t matter. But I am here to say—the debt does matter.
“Unfortunately, the interest on our debt is now the fastest growing part of the federal budget. Next year we will spend more on interest than all the federal funding for our kids. By the year 2025—six years from now—our interest payments will exceed the cost of our defense budget. Growing interest payments will crowd out other investment that would move our country forward, such as education, or housing, or infrastructure. Not only is that fiscally irresponsible, it is morally reprehensible to saddle generations yet unborn with those bills. And someday, those bills will come due.
“As has been said before—but it still holds true today—“the first rule, when you find yourself in a deep hole, is to stop digging.” That’s why it was so critical—in our first votes in the House on the rules package—that we kept pay-as-you-go requirements. Every Utah family understands that when you decide to make a purchase, you must first show how you’ll pay for it. Either you find additional revenue, or you cut back on spending elsewhere so that you continue to live within your budget. As mayor, I constantly faced tradeoffs.
“But you set your priorities and you make choices—sometimes difficult choices. Again, this is what hard-working Utah families do every day when they sit at the kitchen table and balance their checkbooks and we must do the same.”