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Two Budget Directions


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Two Budget Directions

Soaring costs of living have forced working families to tighten their belts in order to make ends meet.

So why isn't Congress following suit?

The House of Representatives recently passed H.Con.Res. 312 - which established our nation's budget for Fiscal Year 2009. The $3 trillion spending plan was passed by the slim margin of 212-207.

It imposes the largest tax increase in American history - roughly $683 billion over five years - mainly to finance billions in new spending. This tax hike is nearly three times the largest enacted to date: $240.6 billion in 1993.

Under this budget, the average Nebraskan will see an annual $2,802 tax increase.

Nearly 23 million taxpayers nationwide would see their taxes increase, on average, by $466, simply because they were married and filing jointly.

Approximately 31 million taxpayers would see their taxes increase by an average of $859 because the House-passed budget would cut the $1000-per-child tax credit in half.

The budget proposal would also dramatically reduce tax incentives for American small businesses, which saved an average of $5,169 last year due to pro-growth tax relief. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, these new taxes will cost small businesses an additional $13 billion over the next five years.

However, during the budget process, Congress had the chance to step up to the plate and act with common sense and fiscal responsibility.

As a member of the House Budget Committee, I have the responsibility to work with my colleagues to exercise accountability and fiscal responsibility in government spending.

This year, I supported a budget proposal which would control spending, prevent the $683 billion tax hike, impose a one-year moratorium on earmarks, and take steps to ensure the viability of Medicare and Medicaid for future generations.

Also included was a provision which would prevent the expansion of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) for the next three years, and phase it out completely by the year 2013.

This provision, not included in the final bill, would have prevented millions of middle-income Americans from paying the AMT.

During the budget debate, I introduced an amendment in an effort to eliminate wasteful spending. This amendment would allow the President to use a line-item veto in appropriation and authorization bills - but only with congressional consent. Although an identical provision passed the House in 2006 with broad-bipartisan support, the new majority rejected this common-sense reform to curb wasteful spending.

Nebraskans - and all Americans - have called for Congress to live up to its fiscal responsibilities. Unfortunately, this budget fails to do that. It is a reality - our economy is facing challenges. Now is not the time to raid taxpayers' wallets.

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