U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a member of the Senate Budget Committee, released the following statement Wednesday on President Obama's budget proposal:
"At its heart, any budget is a reflection of priorities, and the President's plan does the right thing by prioritizing economic growth and job creation in the short term, as well as economic competitiveness in the long term. The budget passed by the Senate also focused on these priorities, and took a balanced and responsible approach to solving our nation's fiscal challenges while protecting the most vulnerable in our society.
"I will now carefully review the details of the President's proposal, but broadly, his plan takes a balanced approach by including a mix of revenue increases and tough spending cuts. It builds on the real progress we have already made -- $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years -- to take us over the $4 trillion in deficit reduction that independent economists and bipartisan experts broadly agree we need.
"The President's proposal also includes key Delaware priorities, including further dredging of the Delaware River, which will benefit the Port of Wilmington and the businesses who ship through it, and bonds to help harness private capital for infrastructure projects. It also makes permanent important tax incentives for research and development, renewable energy and energy efficiency.
"The President's budget also includes some difficult choices on entitlement reform, which he has admitted were not his preference, but were offered in the spirit of compromise. In a compromise, everyone has to accept some things they don't like, and if we are not willing to do that, we are not truly willing to tackle the significant budgetary challenges we face.
"Putting a circle of protection around the most vulnerable in our society -- including children, the lowest-income Americans, and our seniors -- is a fundamental value, one that is rooted in my faith tradition and my deepest convictions about what makes us Americans. When it comes to entitlement reform, we have to strengthen and protect these programs to ensure they will be there for the next generation, and put protections in place for the most vulnerable seniors. In the Budget Committee and on the Senate floor, I voted against any budget amendment that would have dismantled Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security by turning them into voucher programs or block grants. These vital programs ensure seniors who have worked hard all their lives have the dignified retirement they have earned, and provide a vital safety net for children, the disabled, and the lowest-income Americans.
"I have already heard from Delawareans up and down the state through visits, emails, calls and letters, and look forward to continuing to connect and proactively engage to hear more about Delawareans' views and priorities when it comes to getting our debt and deficit under control while growing our economy and creating jobs."