Idaho Congressman supports budget agreement that avoids another government shutdown, reduces the federal deficit, and limits Presidential authority over spending
Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today voted in favor of the budget agreement reached by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and his counterpart in the United States Senate. The bill passed the House by a vote of 332-94, with support from 169 Republicans and 163 Democrats. Simpson said the agreement avoids another government shutdown, preserves dozens, perhaps hundreds, of jobs at Idaho National Laboratory, lays the groundwork for extending PILT payments, achieves greater savings for taxpayers than those contained in sequestration, and does all of it without raising taxes.
“My Republican colleagues and I have been seeking reforms to sequestration that lessen the pain on the military, allow Congress to budget in a more orderly process, and maintain or enhance the long-term savings achieved by the Budget Control Act. The bill we passed today accomplishes all three of those goals and is a positive step in the right direction,” said Simpson, Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water which funds the Idaho National Laboratory. “I am especially relieved that the agreement short circuits some of the devastating sequester-based cuts to Idaho National Laboratory – including cuts to its core nuclear energy research programs, the guard force that secures the facility against terrorism or sabotage, and ongoing cleanup activities that are so important to the protection of the environment and human health. The agreement also provides room in the budget to continue funding for PILT – something that was simply impossible under the clean CR advocated by some who today voted no.”
Among its provisions, the agreement would do the following:
Reduce the federal deficit by an additional $23 billion without raising taxes (according to CBO)
Put us on a path to reduce the deficit by $85 billion over ten years, $78 billion of which is spending cuts (according to CBO)
Replace sequestration’s arbitrary, across-the-board cuts with more rational deficit reduction
Allow Congress to reclaim its Constitutional role in spending decisions and take spending authority away from the President
Stop government checks to ineligible criminals and dead people
Stop Medicaid payments that should be covered by dead-beat parents and insurance companies
Simpson also expressed dismay with those who are opposing the agreement and are instead seeking the passage of a clean Continuing Resolution. “I find it very telling that the people demanding a clean CR today are the ones who opposed that same clean CR in September and forced a costly government shutdown,” said Simpson. “The clean CR they’re advocating would provide more spending authority to President Obama and result in fewer reforms to the mandatory programs that are driving our deficit. It would continue devastating cuts at INL and leave no room in the budget to continue PILT payments for rural counties. It would result in fewer border control agents, weaker budgets for controlling wildfires, fewer permits for logging and grazing, and a smaller, less capable military.”
Despite the passage of this positive agreement, Simpson believes Congress has considerable work ahead of it in further reducing the budget and eliminating the deficit. He remains a strong proponent of a Balanced Budget Amendment and is a leading advocate in Congress for reforming the tax code and entitlement programs to achieve real progress toward smaller, more efficient federal government.