The House of Representatives is expected to debate the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Resolution this week. The budget is an important framework for national priorities and it closely follows the principles President Obama presented to the nation in his budget outline. Democrats will be approaching the debate with a strong conviction that a lasting economic recovery can only be built on a foundation of lower health care costs, the world’s best-prepared workforce, and energy independence.
President Obama inherited an economic and fiscal mess from the Bush Administration—with 4.4 million jobs lost since the recession began in 2007 and a record deficit. It will take time, hard work and difficult choices to get out of this economic and fiscal crisis and move America in a New Direction.
President Obama and Congress have a comprehensive approach to create jobs, transition to a clean energy economy, make health care more affordable, and improve education. We have already taken bold action to save or create 3.5 million jobs, keep families in their homes, and stabilize our financial markets.
The House Budget Resolution
The Resolution passed by the Budget Committee makes significant investments in health care reform, education, and new energy technologies that will create jobs and it prepares us for a fiscally sound future by restraining spending and cutting the deficit. The budget:
- Cuts the deficit by nearly two-thirds by 2013
- Cuts taxes for middle income families by $1.5 trillion
- Creates jobs with investments and reforms in health care, clean energy, and education
- Reduces non-defense discretionary spending to its lowest level as a percent of the economy in nearly half a century, but still provides for an increase at the rate of inflation plus 2% to make up for years of failure to invest in our global competitiveness.
Investments for the Future
The budget includes strategic investments in critical areas to ensure long-term economic growth and stability. These investments include:
- Health Care Reform – Rapidly increasing health care costs are a real burden on families and businesses, particularly as we face this recession. The budget reflects the President’s commitment to health care reform by confronting costs, improving quality, and expanding coverage, while ensuring that Americans have a choice of health plans and physicians.
- Education – The budget works to renew and restore our nation’s education system. Additional funding is provided for new initiatives in early childhood education and elementary and secondary schools. The budget also increases college affordability through a new tax credit and raising the amount of the Pell grant.
- Energy Independence – The budget makes energy independence and energy security a top priority. Investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency will create new jobs and promote clean energy industries and technologies.
Restoring Fiscal Sustainability
The Bush Administration wasted the record budget surpluses it inherited - $5.6 trillion projected over ten years – and instead left a record deficit of more than $1 trillion for this year alone. This budget upholds Democrats’ commitment to fiscal accountability by cutting the deficit by nearly two-thirds over five years. The budget also works to restore fiscal sustainability by providing for reinstating statutory “pay as you go” budget rules, restraining spending, requiring new initiatives to be paid for, and funding oversight and enforcement activities that result in valuable savings for taxpayers.
House Republicans: Still No Solutions in Sight
Faced with a growing awareness that they have offered little but criticism in the face of economic crisis, House Republicans belatedly released a budget document of their own on Thursday. Their hastily-assembled document shows that Republicans are still living up to their reputation as the “Party of No”: their “budget” contained no specifics and no numbers. The Republican proposal appears to be a rehash of the same kind of policies and rhetoric that helped bring on this crisis: further reckless deregulation of Wall Street, massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, subsidies for oil companies, and no action to bring down the cost of health care. Every item in their proposal represents a reprise of failed and decisively-rejected Bush Administration policies.
In contrast, the Democratic budget puts us on a new path. By creating jobs, cutting taxes, and investing in health care, energy, and education, this budget moves our nation toward sustainability and long-term prosperity.