U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Finance Committee, released the following statement in response to the release of President Obama's budget plan for fiscal year 2014.
"I wholeheartedly agree with President Obama that we can invest in our nation's growth and reduce our deficits. His ideas to focus on infrastructure, education and research and engines of this growth are important. I also agree that tax reform is vitally necessary to any balanced fiscal plan. While I am still reviewing all the details, I can say for certain that there are some very good things in President Obama's budget, most especially replacing across-the-board sequestration cuts with smarter savings. However, while I appreciate his willingness to encourage reasonable compromise with Republicans on where such savings might be found, there are many things in President Obama's budget that are very troubling.
"Most glaringly, after three years of a pay freeze, federal workers cannot celebrate the one percent adjustment included in the President's budget because they could be hit with a more costly change to their retirement and health benefits. These middle-class workers, who carry out the business of our nation, have been shouldering a disproportionate this fiscal burden waiting for others to contribute their fair share. We've fought these fights many times before and enough is enough already. The federal government will never be able to retain or recruit quality individuals if we continue to chip away at their basic compensation and benefits. I urge President Obama not to give in to those who devalue public service and wish to ignore that these are real people with real families and communities who depend on them.
"A final, balanced plan that reforms our tax code, invests in America and reduces our deficit is possible with reasonable compromise. I understand that it will mean accepting some cuts or programs that I do not agree with and that Republicans will have to do the same. Compromise is not easy, but it is necessary. I will need to examine the details, but I have some initial reservations about the President's plans for Social Security and Medicare reforms. I agree that reforms may be required, but we must ensure that the promises made to beneficiaries truly are truly rock-solid."