I am committed to balancing the budget and providing Americans with government services that help families realize financial independence, become first-time homeowners, receive a quality education, and have access to affordable health care. A strong economy fuels growth within a society, and fiscal responsibility is the mechanism by which Congress can spur such growth.
Since 2001, America's deficit has grown to the highest level ever. Even more, the deficit grew at a time when Republicans drastically cutting funding for every major non-defense domestic program around including public health programs, nutrition assistance, education programs, veterans care, and even homeland security.
Rather than balancing the budget, President Bush has continually signed off on budgets that have only deepened our Nation's deficit to a record level of over $400 billion. That is why I have been inspired by the opportunity presented in the 110th Congress to offer the American people a fiscally responsible budget. For the first time in years, Congress passed a budget - something that Republicans were unable to do despite controlling the House, Senate, and the White House. And we are doing that while providing necessary funding for domestic programs and reducing inefficiencies in our government.
I oppose the Bush Tax Cuts to the wealthy, as well as Republican efforts to create tax havens for businesses and corporations who relocate offshore to avoid paying U.S. taxes.
I support economic growth plans that are fair, fast acting, and fiscally responsible, and I believe that federal revenue must be used to help stimulate the economy in ways that will benefit Americans of all ages, backgrounds, and income levels.
Further, I have introduced legislation establishing a nationwide Earned Income Tax Credit public awareness campaign. The Earned Income Tax Credit is available to low-income individuals and families who make no more than $24,000 annually. However, a mere 15 to 25 percent of those eligible to receive the credit actually claim it. In recent years, more than 250,000 eligible South Floridians did not claim the credit. I have made increasing the number of eligible Americans claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit one of my top priorities.
In the 110th Congress, I have cosponsored numerous pieces of legislation including the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, to update employment practices to reflect a living wage. I have also cosponsored legislation to increase tax incentives to make health care more affordable and to provide tax incentives for increased energy efficiency in many aspects of our lives.
I will continue to fight for fiscal responsibility and a tax structure that favors all Americans equally.