Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) today again opposed Republican efforts to gut federal investment and safety net programs and called for action on a deficit reduction plan based on the recommendations of Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, co-chairs of the President's Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Their approach reduces the federal budget with a mix of safety net reforms, tax restructuring, and cuts to wasteful spending.
"When we formally considered next year's budget, I was proud to back the only plan that garnered bipartisan support," Himes said. "We need a real, honest discussion about our nation's budget priorities, and today's vote continued the same partisan positioning and chicanery that has driven our deficit to unsustainable levels."
During consideration of the federal budget in March, Himes opposed the budgets offered by the Republican and Democratic Budget Committee chairs and instead supported the Cooper-LaTourette Budget Amendment, which presented a deficit reduction strategy based on the recommendations of Simpson and Bowles. Although the measure garnered the support of only 38 representatives, budget experts and media outlets alike praised the group's effort. USA Today outlined the nation's budget challenges and commended the work of the "brave 38" in an editorial (read the full article here):
There aren't many heroes in this soul-destroying process, but we found a tiny band of 38 -- the 22 Democrats and 16 Republicans who voted for a bipartisan alternative budget based on the proposal from President Obama's fiscal commission in 2010. The budget proposed by Reps. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., and Steven LaTourette, R-Ohio, backed a combination of the tax increases most Republicans won't vote for and the cuts in entitlement programs such as Social Security that most Democrats won't support.
This, or something very much like it, is where every non-partisan budget expert and every realistic politician in Washington knows Congress will have to go to solve the budget problem. Entitlements in their current form are unsustainably expensive, and tax cuts have left revenues at historic lows, inadequate to pay for the government services Americans demand.
The budget provision passed today requires the House to treat the Ryan Budget (H. Con. Res. 112), the budget resolution adopted by the House March 29, as though it has been adopted by both chambers. Himes opposes that spending plan because it guts investment in the nation's future with cuts to transportation, education, and energy reform while shifting the rising cost of Medicare onto seniors and cutting taxes for the wealthiest Americans.