Rep. Huffman Votes to For Budget Agreement to Prevent Default
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) made the following statement today after voting for H.R. 1314 this week, a bipartisan budget agreement that averts a default on the debt and sets budget levels through 2017:
“After months of chaos and short-term patches, I am glad to finally vote for a bipartisan budget bill that also protects the full faith and credit of the United States for the next two years. I voted for this deal because it should provide a period of political stability which is critical to maintaining our economic recovery; because it protects vulnerable Americans from a looming Medicare premium spike and the potential loss of benefits under the Social Security Disability Insurance program; and because it provides a measure of relief from the devastating sequester cuts that undermine our social safety net and threaten our ability to invest in our future through education, research and infrastructure.
“But let's not gloss over the imperfections in this deal. Because House Republicans refuse to have an honest conversation with Americans about taxes, including a stubborn refusal to close any of the myriad special interest loopholes in our tax code or end the billions in wasteful subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, this budget is a fiscal sandcastle. It relies on a variety of accounting gimmicks and shortsighted measures, including the reckless fire sale of 58 million barrels of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and continued use of the Overseas Contingency Operations slush fund in order to disguise billions in discretionary defense expenditures. And it was hammered out in secret, without the deliberation and transparency of regular order, because House Republicans shut down the entire appropriations process when it became clear that over 100 of their members would go on record in support of sales and displays of the Confederate Battle Flag at our national parks and national cemeteries.
"This compromise was far better than risking a default and another government shutdown that could send our economy back into recession. In this Congress and under these circumstances, this was the best deal we could get. But we can and must do better. Our new Speaker, Paul Ryan, said today that major policy should be made through regular order. I couldn't agree more -- even if that means some members of Congress have to take votes that embarrass their party leaders. I hope future budget legislation will be the product of regular order, not fiscal brinksmanship; that both spending and revenue provisions will be more honest and less gimmicky; and that Congress will finally level with the American people about the need to increase revenues through fair and reasonable changes to a tax code that is rigged in favor of the very rich and very powerful.”