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Newsletter - Prosperity through a Responsible, Balanced Budget


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Dear Friends,

This week, I was proud to help the House pass a new plan to balance the federal budget within the next ten years. The plan, known as "The Path to Prosperity: A Responsible, Balanced Budget," is designed to balance the federal budget for the first time in over a decade while preserving vital safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security.

This balanced budget plan is aimed at growing our economy and expanding opportunities for all Americans, like the families suffering from unemployment, college students who will soon be looking for work, and our children who don't deserve the burden of our massive debt. This budget does this by cutting government waste, reforming our complicated tax code to help create good paying jobs, and protecting important priorities like Medicaid and national defense.

Balancing the budget without raising taxes is a common sense solution that hardworking Americans deserve, especially while our economy remains in the economic doldrums. The Congressional Budget Office reports that this year, unemployment will remain around 8%, with economic growth at a below par 2% or less. This is well below the growth we need to provide new jobs for future generations.

One of the major obstacles to a full recovery is the huge 16.7 trillion dollar national debt which is now larger than our entire economy. Unless we act now, by 2023, we will add another $8.2 trillion to our national debt with deficits of nearly one trillion dollars per year.

Unless we bring these deficits under control, our debt will continue to weigh down the nation's economy as well as burdening our children and grandchildren with a mountainous debt. Last year alone, we paid almost $360 billion in interest on our debt.

The House Republican budget proposal reduces deficits by $4.6 trillion over the next ten years. Under current law, the federal government will spend $46 trillion during the next decade. Under this proposal, it will spend roughly $41 trillion. These reductions are hardly extreme.

Also this budget doesn't make sudden cuts. Instead, it increases spending at a more manageable rate. For example, on our present course, federal spending will rise by 5% a year. Under this budget, it will still increase by 3.4%.

This plan will put our nation on the path to a balanced budget. This will avoid a debt crisis which would cause higher interest payments, more unemployment and slow wage growth. Such a debt crisis would also mean much higher federal taxes for each taxpayer of at least $255 per month.

Millions of Americans depend on assistance from the federal government. If we had a debt crisis, we wouldn't be able to keep our promises to these families.

A key part of this budget proposal is also simplifying the tax code to make it fairer to American families and businesses. American families and businesses now spend over $160 billion and 6 billion hours every year trying to figure out their taxes.

This tax reform proposal will reduce the amount of time and resources necessary to comply with tax laws. It will also substantially lower tax rates for individuals, with a goal of achieving a top individual rate of 25% by eliminating many special interest tax loopholes which were added since the 1986 tax reform.

The House took an important step forward this week and I was proud to vote in favor of a budget that will encourage long-term growth and prosperity in a responsible manner. I look forward to hearing from you on how we can bring our deficits under control, increase economic growth and ensure that America will once again be the land of opportunity.


Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
Member of Congress

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