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PROBLEMS DOWN THE ROAD: House Passes Congressional Budget Resolutions, Sets Overall Spending Cap at $19 Billion Below Senate

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“Elected representatives have a solemn obligation to help ensure that our children have more opportunity and inherit a stronger America than our parents gave us.”

On March 29, the U.S. House of Representatives adopted a congressional budget resolution that would cap discretionary spending in Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 at $1.028 trillion, or $19 billion below the level set by last summer’s deal to raise the debt ceiling. With the U.S. Senate sticking to the spending levels set by the debt ceiling agreement, the two chambers will begin the appropriations process with a spending goal that is approximately $19 billion apart. This large disparity will likely lead to difficult negotiations on federal spending priorities, including education spending, later in the year.

“Elected representatives have a solemn obligation to help ensure that our children have more opportunity and inherit a stronger America than our parents gave us,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). “The Democrat-controlled Senate has failed to pass a budget in over 1,000 days, while the president still refuses to offer credible solutions to the most predictable economic crisis in our history. Empty promises from Washington won’t pay our bills, strengthen our health and retirement programs, fix our economy, or create jobs. Such irresponsibility will, however, lead to a debt crisis that will fundamentally change America for the worse.”

House Democrats were united in their opposition to the budget resolution. “Today, House Republicans made their choice for America’s future abundantly clear: abandon the economic recovery, end the Medicare guarantee, and slash investments for national priorities—all to provide a whopping average tax break of almost $400,000 for people making over $1 million a year,” said Representative Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), top Democrat on the House Budget Committee. “It is a path to greater prosperity if you’re already wealthy, but it leaves seniors, working Americans, and future generations behind. The question is not whether we reduce the deficit, but how—and the choices in this Republican budget are simply wrong for America.”

In the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) said that the Senate would not consider its own version of a budget resolution, arguing that last year’s agreement on the debt ceiling set spending caps for FY 2013 and beyond.

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