Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) opposed the budget presented by the House Majority today and, instead, supported an alternative proposal that would protect and reform Medicare and Medicaid while investing in the future and reducing the deficit. Himes noted that while the Democratic alternative was far superior to the GOP's budget, he would prefer a more comprehensive plan that incorporated many of the recommendations made by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, the leaders of President Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.
"Instead of reforming programs that protect our most vulnerable, the GOP's lazy plan simply shifts the burden of our most challenging budget problem--rising health care costs in the Medicare system--onto states and the elderly. Additionally, it guts the investments in education, research, and transportation we know are necessary to fuel economic growth in favor of more tax cuts," said Himes. "Any successful deficit reduction plan must include these investments along with fair and responsible cuts, tax reform, and a plan to make our safety net programs sustainable."
The proposal Himes supported protects Medicare and Medicaid, and would achieve primary balance by 2018 by reforming the entire budget, including making significant defense cuts. This alternative would simplify the tax code and extend tax relief for middle class families while still making crucial investments in infrastructure and education. This is in stark contrast to the GOP proposal, which asks very little of our most fortunate citizens while demanding draconian cuts to our most vulnerable--seniors, children, and the disabled. The GOP plan is based on fantastical economic assumptions, most notably that unemployment will magically fall below 3 percent.
"We need an honest and fair plan that accurately assesses our budget problems and puts in place a strategy that cuts the deficit, invests in what we know is important for the future--especially education and infrastructure, and helps protect our fragile economic recovery," said Himes. "That's why I am supportive of the Simpson-Bowles proposal; it brings everyone to the table. I don't think anyone would say it's perfect, but it asks everyone to be a part of the solution."