As part of a commitment to begin reducing overall federal spending, Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) today voted against a $115 billion Democratic spending bill that largely expands existing programs and includes $60 billion in unpaid-for spending. In December, Himes voted against a number of similar bills that both increased spending and extended tax cuts because the legislation increased the deficit.
"Many families and workers across Connecticut are still struggling," said Himes. "While many of the programs in today's bill were worthy and helpful, they were largely unpaid-for and would have added to the mounting debt that is already threatening the future of all Americans."
The legislation considered by Congress today includes unpaid-for increases in spending and cuts in taxes. While Himes supports many of the provisions contained in the bill, he will generally not support increased spending that does not meet the requirements of the Pay-As-You-Go (PAYGO) legislation he cosponsored last summer and the President signed in February.
"At the time I supported the Recovery Act, economists from across the spectrum were calling for a stimulus," said Himes. "As the economy begins its recovery, it is critical that we begin to get our fiscal house in order."
In addition to Himes' opposition to increasing spending at this time, he opposed the bill considered by the House today because many of the provisions simply expand programs in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. While Himes supported the Recovery Act and continues to consider the stimulus a key element in a multi-pronged approach to fixing the economy, he was unwilling to authorize additional spending when nearly $400 billion--or more than half--of Recovery Act funds are still being spent.
Last week, Himes joined a group of freshman in writing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to call for action on a budget plan before approving spending measures. House leadership has recently been considering moving forward with the appropriations process without adopting a budget.
Putting a clear stake in the ground, Himes has joined Rep. Christopher Murphy (CT-5) in pledging to oppose any budget that does not include a least a one percent total cut in the budget, excluding entitlements such as Medicare, veterans' pensions, and Social Security. According to last year's budget numbers, this proposed cut would save approximately $12 billion in just one year.
Countries across the world are examining their own fiscal situations and considering similar budget-cutting measures. Just this month, the United Kingdom announced it would cut $12 billion in spending, and Italy, Portugal, and Spain are also pursing deficit reductions.