U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, today released the following statement on his budgetary priorities. The Budget Committee will mark up a budget resolution on Wednesday and Thursday.
"At its heart, a budget is a statement of values, one that shows the world what we care about, what we prioritize and how we intend to build our future. One thing we know for sure is that our current deficit and debt are unsustainable. Without a change of course, interest payments on our debts will crowd out other critical, pro-growth investments in our competitiveness as well as the essential social safety net that puts a circle of protection around the most vulnerable in our country.
"The only solution to our budgetary challenges is balance. We must cut spending, raise revenue and make smart, forward-looking reforms to our entitlement programs to ensure they will be there for the next generation. Since 2010, we have already achieved $2.4 trillion in savings through annual spending cuts, the Budget Control Act and the fiscal cliff deal, but economists tell us we still need to do more to reduce our debt and deficit -- and that we have to do it in a balanced way.
"The Senate Democratic budget that we will consider in committee on Thursday takes important steps toward deficit reduction without hurting America's middle class or seniors. It focuses on job creation and growing the middle class, and makes essential investments in our country's future in areas like manufacturing, infrastructure, clean energy and education. It is a good starting point for a bipartisan discussion that I hope will move us towards a balanced deficit reduction plan.
"On the other hand, the House Republican budget released by Chairman Paul Ryan is wildly out of balance. By relying exclusively on cuts to discretionary spending and entitlement programs, this budget guts investments that are vital to our competitiveness in the global economy, breaks our covenant with our seniors and leaves the most vulnerable in our society at risk. It is not the responsible, balanced deficit reduction plan we need to grow our economy and create jobs.
"The Senate Democratic budget makes many of the smart investments in our future that I have advocated for in my time in the Senate. It will grow our economy and create jobs by helping innovative new companies take advantage of existing tax credits for research and development, a bipartisan idea drawn from legislation I have introduced with a number of my colleagues. It will help level the playing field so clean energy companies can compete fairly with traditional energy companies by allowing them to form Master Limited Partnerships to unleash new private capital. It invests in our nation's infrastructure by protecting the Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and it will help more students of all income levels access and afford a college education with support for portable, individual Web-based student accounts known as American Dream Accounts. It also restores funding for Child Advocacy Centers, which have helped Delaware children to move on after abuse and domestic violence.
"Our values require that we make these kind of investments in our future, even while cutting where we can, in order to leave our children the kind of vibrant, 21st century economy they deserve. We are also morally bound to draw a circle of protection around the most vulnerable in our society, including the disabled, low-income seniors, and children. With a balanced, bipartisan, strategic budget, we can invest in these vital priorities while still reducing our dangerous debt and deficit."