Blue Dogs Press Budget Committee to Produce a Budget

March 6, 2020 by Dan McCue
The U.S. Capitol. Feb. 4, 2020. (Photo by Dan McCue)

WASHINGTON – The Blue Dog Coalition is calling on the House Budget Committee to live up to its name and produce a budget this year, in spite of the fact spending caps have been set through the end of the 2021 fiscal year.

In a letter sent to Budget Committee Chairman, Rep. John Yarmouth, of Kentucky, the coalition argues producing an annual budget is a necessary first step toward reducing the nearly $1 trillion federal deficit and a national debt that currently stands at an unprecedented $23 trillion.

Given that context, “the American people cannot afford for the Budget Committee to abandon its responsibility to produce a budget,” the coalition said.

The letter’s authors note that Congress has not passed a broadly bipartisan budget resolution since the 1990s, a time when the nation was on the path to producing a budget surplus.

“Since that time, both parties have been guilty of passing budgets—or producing no budgets at all—that have contributed to rising budget deficits,” they said.

The key to reversing the budgetary course and achieving a budget again is both parties working together, they contend.

“A lack of fiscal discipline has resulted in greater payments on interest incurred on the national debt than investments in our kids,” the authors wrote. As our country continues to face challenges, from fixing our crumbling infrastructure to addressing climate change, skyrocketing interest payments on the debt will limit our ability to make those necessary investments if we do not address this problem.

“Not only is that fiscally irresponsible, it is morally reprehensible to saddle our children and grandchildren with those interest bills and debt,” they said.

The lead authors of the letter were Reps. Ben McAdams, of Utah, and Ed Case, of Hawaii, co-chairs of the Blue Dog Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility & Government Reform.

Also signing the letter were Reps. Stephanie Murphy, of Florida, Tom O’Halleran, of Arizona, Lou Correa, of California, Anthony Brindisi, of New York, and Kurt Schrader, of Oregon, all members of the coalition’s leadership.

Blue Dog members signing the letter included Reps. Sanford Bishop, of Georgia, Jim Costa, of California, Joe Cunningham, of South Carolina, Vicente Gonzalez, of Texas, Josh Gottheimer, of New Jersey, Kendra Horn, of Oklahoma, Daniel Lipinski, of Illinois, David Scott, of Georgia, Abigail Spanberger, of Virginia, and Xochitl Torres Small, of New Mexico.

“Although the budget process has not worked as intended under both Republican and Democratic majorities over the past two decades, we firmly believe that now is the time for Democrats to lead an effort to get our fiscal house in order,” they wrote. “We urge you to bring forward a budget this year to spur important bipartisan conversations about how we can get out of this fiscal mess.”

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