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
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Gene Green (TX-29) released the following statement before the House of Representatives vote on a ‘balanced budget amendment’ that would cut federal programs like Social Security and Medicare:
“This Monday, we heard that federal deficits are going to be almost $2 trillion more over the next decade than previously projected. While there is more than one reason for our exploding deficit, the GOP’s tax reform bill increased our deficit by almost 20%.
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Gene Green (D-TX) released the following statement after the House of Representatives passed a $1.3 trillion package that will fund the government for the remainder of the 2018 fiscal year:
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Representatives Gene Green (TX-29), Eddie Bernice Johnson (TX-30), Sheila Jackson Lee (TX-18), Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Al Green (TX-9), Filemon Vela (TX-34), and Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15) issued the following statement regarding their support of the continuing resolution that contains a bipartisan budget agreement, funds the government through March 23 and provides relief for Hurricane Harvey victims:
HOUSTON, TX - "The government shutdown could have been avoided, but the fact is the Republican majority is in control of the House, Senate, and White House. We are five months into the 2018 fiscal year and have passed four short-term spending bills. Our country isn’t winning when our military, government agencies, and important federal programs are operating under short-term spending bills.
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Gene Green issued the following statement after the House of Representatives voted to advance a partisan tax bill that will negatively impact middle-class Americans:
Congressman Gene Green today delivered the following statement on the House floor on the Republican majority’s 2-week Continuing Resolution:
"Mr. Speaker, I rise to urge my colleagues to act and pass much needed supplemental appropriations to help victims of the recent hurricanes in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Hurricane Harvey brought unprecedented destruction to the Texas Gulf Coast, dropping a record 52 inches of rain and causing catastrophic flooding in Houston and all along the Gulf Coast.
WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Gene Green released the following statement today after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act:
“It’s a shame that the House Republican majority rushed to pass a tax bill knowing it will increase taxes for middle-class Americans and deliver a huge tax cut to the wealthiest households and multinational corporations. Republicans may pretend to hope that the money will trickle down to average Americans, but we know it didn’t work in 1986, 2001, or 2003, and it surely won’t work today.
WASHINGTON, DC — Following a state-by-state assessment conducted by the non-partisan Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, Congressman Green today released information finding that the Ryan-McConnell tax bill will increase taxes for 1.2 million households in Texas earning $75,180, an average of $650 increase per house
WASHINGTON, DC — Congressman Gene Green released the following statement on the release of the Ryan-McConnell tax plan:
“From what I’ve read so far, it’s clear that the president and the Republican majority want to cut tax deductions for middle-class families to pay for tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.
WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congressman Gene Green (D-TX) released the following statement in opposition to the Republican FY 2018 Budget Resolution: