Idaho Congressman Mike Simpson today voted to support H.R. 1314, the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015. In addition to preventing a catastrophic national default, this agreement achieves long-term savings through entitlement reform, delivers predictability and certainty to the appropriations process and the funding of our national defense, and repeals an onerous mandate put in place by Obamacare. H.R. 1314 is fully offset and does not increase taxes.
“It is imperative that we act in the best interest of our nation by preventing a default on our national credit,” said Simpson. “To allow that to happen would be irresponsible at best and catastrophic at worst. Given that reality, I’m pleased that House and Senate leadership have reached an agreement that protects the budget cuts put in place by the sequester, but protects our military and domestic programs from its mindless cuts by replacing it with meaningful reforms in mandatory spending and other savings. This agreement reduces the deficit by nearly $80 billion over 10 years—which means that budget it keeps us on track to save taxpayers more than $2 TRILLION, as mandated by the original Budget Control Act. Recognizing that we have a responsibility to act on this issue, I believe this is a fiscally responsible agreement.”
Among other provisions, the agreement would do the following:
Puts in place budget caps that are $56 billion below the Ryan budget for FY16 and $70 billion below the Ryan budget for FY17.
Ensures that the Social Security Disability Trust Fund—currently scheduled for a 20% reduction across the board at the end of next year—will be able to continue to pay full benefits;
Includes structural entitlement reforms to strengthen the long-term solvency of the Social Security program;
Replaces sequestration’s arbitrary, across-the-board cuts with more rational deficit reduction;
Eliminates Obamacare’s mandate that employees must enroll into their company’s health care plan;
Prevents a dramatic spike in Medicare Part B premiums for millions of seniors.
“This bill isn’t perfect, and like others, I have concerns about the crop insurance provisions and the Medicare cuts to hospitals,” said Simpson. “But I realize that this agreement is necessary for the health and stability of our economy. This country has big problems, and the American people expect more from their elected officials than to sit on the sidelines and criticize everything that does not meet their ideologically pure standards. That’s easy. Solving problems—also known as governing—is hard work.”
Despite the passage of this constructive 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.