Making, not delaying, hard fiscal choices

For Immediate Release:

July 13, 2010

Contact:Steny H. Hoyer

Washington Post

David S. Broder's explanation of the House's one-year budget enforcement resolution, and of our nation's fiscal challenge, was at best superficial and at worst misleading ["A dereliction of fiscal duty," op-ed, July 8]. Mr. Broder failed to mention the resolution's fiscal-responsibility measures: strengthening the pay-as-you-go law; reducing discretionary spending $7 billion below President Obama's request; and reaffirming Congress's commitment to vote on the recommendations of the president's bipartisan fiscal commission, with all savings dedicated to deficit reduction.

Mr. Broder also drastically overstated the role of a five-year budget in tackling our debt and ignored the real source of fiscal danger. Our long-term debt is the product of exploding entitlements, growing defense spending, and taxes too low to pay for the policies Americans want -- and a five-year budget would absolutely not guarantee a solution. The only way out of debt is a bipartisan compromise that begins with all of our options on the table. And the partisan debate over a traditional budget would have unhelpfully and preemptively taken options off of the commission's table.

Far from being an excuse to put off hard choices, the commission is an attempt to build support for them. Democrats pushed for the commission's creation and have been speaking out about the need for a real budget compromise. But Republicans are more interested in laying out the aspects of a compromise they will categorically not support.

Steny H. Hoyer, Washington

The writer, a Maryland Democrat, is House majority leader.