This week the House will vote on a budget resolution which lays the foundation for rebuilding our economy and laying the ground work for long term prosperity.
For the first time in years, we will have an honest budget that creates jobs with investments in health care, clean energy, and education, cuts taxes for middle income families by $1.5 trillion and cuts the deficit by two-thirds.
The most exciting thing about this budget is that it would provide for long awaited, much anticipated health care reform that will lower costs on businesses and families, improve quality of care, and give more Americans access to insurance. This budget lays out the parameters for passage of the President’s signature health care proposal, one that would cover every child under the age of 18 and create a public health plan option that would compete with private insurers.
A second major piece of this year’s budget focuses on creating a clean, green energy economy by increasing our investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy R&D. Spending priorities in the budget would launch a sustainable era of job creation and make America the green energy global technology leader.
This budget marks a turning point in the way things were done under the Bush Administration. It will take time to turn around the fallout from the failed policies of the last eight years, which included turning a record surplus of $5.6 trillion into a record deficit of $5.8 trillion, doubling the national debt and tripling the amount of debt held by foreign countries. In more concrete terms, this has been accompanied by the smallest rate of job growth in three-quarters of a century, stagnant wages and more Americans living in poverty and without health insurance than ever before. This budget is about change that will reverse this downward trajectory.
To restore fiscal responsibility, the House Budget that will be considered this week cuts the deficit two-thirds by 2013, paring the Bush deficit from 12.3% of our GDP to just 3.5% in 2013. To bring about more fairness in our tax system, the budget cuts taxes for middle income families by $1.5 trillion, including an extension of the 2001 and 2003 income tax cuts for those taxpayers making under $250,000 a year. And to ensure any changes to the tax code for the highest income earners don’t off-set efforts to jump start the economy, none of the tax proposals affecting the top 2% of taxpayers go into effect until 2011, when the economy is projected to be in recovery
Finally, this budget provides an honest accounting of our nation’s costs. For over seven years, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and any emergency disaster aid expended was off-budget, meaning it was ignored by the annual budgeting process in order to mask the costs to make the deficit appear smaller. This budget gimmick has been eschewed by the Obama Administration in favor of speaking frankly with the American people regarding our fiscal position.
Setting our country back on the path to economic growth will not be easy. But this budget lays down an aggressive pledge to the American people that it can and will be done. I plan to support the House budget when it reaches the floor this, so that we can begin the process of recovering and rebuilding the American dream.