Hoyer: Defense Bill Amendment Sends Strong Message On Need for Balanced Approach to Deficit Reduction

For Immediate Release:

May 18, 2012

Contact:

Katie Grant, 202-225-3130

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) submitted the following statement into the Congressional Record last night:

“I continue to be disappointed at how Republicans are approaching deficit reduction.  Every day, we hear Republicans talking about the need for painful cuts to get our deficits in order.  However, time and again, Republicans appear unwilling to exercise fiscal discipline when it affects something they like.

“First, the sequester is set to impose difficult and arbitrary spending cuts across both defense and domestic programs unless we replace its deficit savings before the end of the year.  Yet, Republicans seek to find these savings only by cutting domestic programs like Social Service Block Grants, food stamps, and preventive health care services. And second, we reached an agreement last August on spending levels, which Republicans have now broken.

“This Republican defense bill authorizes $8 billion more than the agreed-upon level. At the same time, Republicans are drastically cutting domestic programs.

“This amendment returns defense spending to the level agreed upon in the Budget Control Act.  It does so without weakening our military or denying our troops the tools they need to succeed in their mission. This should be something Republicans and Democrats ought to see eye to eye on, because we previously agreed to it in August.

“Democrats want to provide our troops with every tool they need to carry out their mission and keep Americans safe. The arbitrary cuts of the sequester will make doing so much more difficult.

“That’s why we need a solution that balances defense and non-defense spending cuts and includes revenues – a big, bold, and balanced approach.

“This, Mr. Speaker, is the opposite of a balanced approach, and I urge my colleagues to adopt this amendment and send a strong message that we must approach deficit reduction with the seriousness it deserves.

“I commend Representative Barbara Lee, Financial Services Ranking Member Barney Frank, Representative Lynn Woolsey, and Representative Earl Blumenauer for their work on this amendment and for standing up for the agreement the parties reached last August.”

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