Our National Deficit
Our country is facing very real financial challenges. The national deficit stands at over $18 trillion dollars. This high level of debt was created for several reasons, including the sharp drop in revenue over the past decade due to tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003, our recent economic downturn, the increased expenditures on security and defense in the aftermath of 9/11, and the growing number of Americans who are retiring and accessing services that protect seniors, such as Social Security and Medicare. With commonsense budgeting, shared responsibility, and a willingness to compromise, I am confident that our nation can find a way to return to a balanced budget.
As part of the original deal to raise the debt ceiling during the summer of 2011, Congress agreed to make $2.1 trillion in cuts over the next decade. Over $900 billion of these cuts were agreed to in the debt-ceiling bill but the remaining $1.2 trillion in cuts were still on the table. The bill required that if a deal could not be reached by March 1, 2013 then an automatic cut – or “sequestration” – of $110 billion would be split between national security and domestic programs per year through 2022.
Programs like Social Security, Medicaid, veterans’ benefits, and pay for service members are exempt from sequestration cuts. However, the rest of the federal budget, including the remainder of the defense budget, education, and transportation, are experiencing sharp cuts and will continue to until Congress acts to reverse these cuts and create a plan to address our national debt.
Sequestration was suggested as a tool to force lawmakers to negotiate and find a compromise on debt reduction that both parties could support. It was not meant to be an effective or appropriate way to manage government expenditures. That is why I do not support sequestration. It is far more effective to cut out unnecessary waste and eliminate redundant programs than take a hatchet and cut hundreds of billions of dollars to essential services.
Unfortunately, until both chambers of Congress are able to find a compromise, sequestration will continue to have a devastating effect on our district, our state, and the country. In June of this year, Republicans in Congress attempted to side step defense spending cuts through budgetary tricks to negate the harmful effects of sequestration cuts. I do not support this approach. Congress needs to address current sequestration spending levels as a whole, rather than on an agency by agency basis.
Every year it seems that the U.S. tax code becomes longer and more complicated. I am a supporter of comprehensive tax reform and believe that reform should aim to simplify the tax code, promote savings, and give equal treatment to wages at the individual level. As a former small business manager, I believe businesses should also see benefits in tax reform solutions.
When comprehensive tax reform proposals are brought to the table, we must work to ensure that the result does not contain the same or worse flaws as the existing system or place new burdens on America's working families or businesses.
Small Business Incentives
Small businesses are the driving engine of economic growth and job creation in our nation. The Small Business Administration (SBA) reports that there are over 27.9 million small businesses in the United States, accounting for over half of all U.S. sales. It is absolutely critical that we continue to encourage and assist small businesses through access to easy credit, tax incentives, training programs, procurement, and more. I have supported initiatives like these and will continue to do so to ensure that small businesses have the tools and resources they need to develop and grow.
More on Budget/Taxes
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WASHINGTON – On Wednesday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Architecture of Abundance energy package was voted favorably out of the Energy and Power Subcommittee by a voice vote.
The bill contains several provisions that Rep. Gene Green (D-TX) previously introduced or co-sponsored as stand-alone legislation, including; Section 1102, the Resolving Environmental and Grid Reliability Conflicts, and Section 2101, the Energy and Manufacturing Workforce Development title.
WASHINGTON – On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on H.R. 2822, the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act of 2016. This legislation appropriates approximately $30 billion in discretionary budget authority for FY 2016, which is about $250 million below FY 2015 funding levels, and falls $2 billion below the President’s budget request. The bill also contains several environmental policy riders.
(Washington, DC) – On Monday, President Obama released his FY16 Budget proposal to Congress. Representative Gene Green released the following statement:
“The President’s proposed budget sustains important programs and new initiatives for working class Americans. It contains essential health provisions such as a much-needed extension for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The budget also invests $3.8 billion in health centers, which are a key component to our nation’s health care safety net, and a comprehensive plan for advanced medical research.