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Salazar Takes Action to Rein in Deficit Spending

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Salazar Takes Action to Rein in Deficit Spending

Hails House Passage of PAYGO as "Critical step to get our nation's fiscal house in order"

Today, Congressman John T. Salazar helped to pass landmark pay-as-you-go legislation, also known as PAYGO, to establish in law the principle that our country should pay for what it buys.

"PAYGO is a crucial tool for stopping America's steep fiscal decline. It is a critical step to get our nation's fiscal house in order," said Congressman Salazar. "We cannot continue to live beyond our means, borrowing and spending what we don't have. PAYGO prevents Congress and the White House from bringing bills to the floor that are unpaid for."

PAYGO's appeal lies in its proven ability to help get our country out of budgetary holes. Republicans, including former presidential candidate John McCain, have also recently voiced their support for PAYGO legislation.

PAYGO's Role in Deficit Reduction
In the 1990s, the Clinton Administration turned the deficits accumulated in the two previous administrations into record surpluses. One of the key tools in this transformation was the PAYGO rule, which compelled Congress to find savings for the dollars it spent. But the decision of President Bush and Congressional Republicans to waive PAYGO and ultimately allow it to expire in 2002 cleared the way for policies that wiped out those surpluses, including huge tax cuts for the most privileged— that will be paid for, with interest, by the next generation.

Deficit spending is not sustainable for the long term, and Congressman Salazar is committed to bringing the deficit down. An essential step toward that goal is the reassertion of the principle of paying for what we buy. That is why Congressman Salazar, in 2007, fought to make PAYGO a part of House rules. Now, with a Democratic President, we have the opportunity to strengthen PAYGO by giving it the force of law.

PAYGO: Making the Tough Choices for America's Future
A PAYGO law will push Congress to prioritize essential investments and cut wasteful spending and subsidies. This law requires tough choices: the cost of any spending increase or tax cut has to be paid for, rather pushed onto future generations. Those who want to cut taxes will have to identify what spending we will have to do without because of that lost revenue. Likewise, PAYGO will control spending, because any increase in spending will have to be offset by spending decreases elsewhere.

That kind of discipline is essential to making sustainable investments in the priorities that matter most, including education, clean energy, and health care. According to Bob Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, "without changes in current policies, we face the prospect of rapidly growing federal deficits and debt over time that will pose a significant threat to the U.S. economy, to the standard of living of all Americans, and to the ability of the government to meet the needs of its citizens." By reducing the size of our interest payments, deficit reduction makes possible long-term commitments to programs that can make our economy stronger.

Congressman Salazar concluded, "PAYGO is an important part of a strategy to roll back the deficits built up by the past Administration, as well as the deficit spending needed to get our economy out of recession. Restoring our nation's fiscal health is a difficult project, and PAYGO cannot succeed alone. But it is an important first step for our recovery."

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