Runaway federal spending during the 2000s turned the record surpluses of the 1990s into record deficits. Today we have reached a crisis point. As the economy continues to recover, we must reduce the federal debt and deficit through a balanced approach that combines responsible spending cuts with a fairer, streamlined tax code. We can meet this challenge by putting partisan politics aside and working together to find compromise.
After voting four times against raising the debt ceiling, I supported a bipartisan deal, known as the Budget Control Act, which allowed the federal government to meet its obligations by for the first time tying a debt ceiling increase to spending reductions. This legislation, which requires up to $2.4 trillion in spending cuts over ten years, was not perfect. No compromise is ever perfect, and more work remains to be done.
Leading economists agree that we cannot simply cut our way out of the nation's current fiscal problems. Any serious plan to reduce the debt and deficit must combine spending cuts with increased revenues. I have consistently supported streamlining the nation's tax code and allowing Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest to expire, while preserving those lower tax rates for middle-class families. Doing so would affect less than 1 percent of Upstate New Yorkers and would prevent draconian cuts to critical programs and benefits.
As a father of three and a grandfather of four, I want to make sure we leave our fiscal house in order for future generations, and I will continue to seek a balanced, bipartisan approach to reducing the debt and deficit.