Lipinski Votes for Compromise Plan to Cut the Deficit and Avoid a Government Default (August 1, 2011)

Today, Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) voted for the Budget Control Act, S. 365, a compromise agreement to cut the deficit and avoid a government default that would have damaged the fragile economy and hampered job creation.

"For months I have said that both parties need to come together to do what is right for America – avoid a devastating default while reducing the deficit in a way that preserves essential investments for the middle class," Congressman Lipinski said. "Yesterday, with just 48 hours to spare before a default, a compromise was finally achieved. As with any compromise, this one is by no means perfect. My preference would have been for a bipartisan ‘grand bargain’ that paired spending cuts with the elimination of unjustifiable special-interest tax breaks and loopholes. Sadly, negotiations between President Obama and Speaker Boehner broke down before such an agreement could be reached.

"Like many Americans, I was deeply frustrated by the posturing that occurred on both sides of the aisle and repeatedly derailed negotiations until the very last minute. If not for the continuing efforts to score political points, I believe we could have reached an agreement sooner, achieved a better outcome, and spent the past months focused on jobs rather than the debt ceiling.

"Nevertheless, this bill does provide us with a step forward in putting our fiscal house in order. In May I voted against increasing the debt ceiling without significant deficit reduction. The bill I am voting for today will cap spending, cut the deficit by $917 billion over 10 years, and establish a mechanism for increasing the debt ceiling through 2012, thereby avoiding another impasse that destabilizes the economy and hurts struggling middle-class Americans. In addition, it establishes a bipartisan, bicameral committee to craft a bill cutting the deficit by an additional $1.5 trillion or more, with this bill coming directly to the floors of the House and Senate for a vote before the end of the year. If such a bill does not pass, at least $1.2 trillion in cuts to mandatory and discretionary spending will go into effect, thus guaranteeing that this bill cuts the deficit by at least $2.1 trillion in total. In addition, as a co-sponsor of legislation to amend the Constitution to require a balanced budget, I am pleased that this bill will force Congress to vote on such an amendment, which – if passed – would then be sent to the states for ratification, giving the American people a chance to make the final decision.

"In casting my vote, I bore in mind that 14 million Americans are unemployed and job creation has slowed to a trickle. Given the fragile state of the economy, it would have been deeply irresponsible to either permit a government default or fail to address our overwhelming national debt, as each represents a grave threat to economic growth.

"Today, our work is far from over, and more tough decisions await us – decisions that will once again require the two parties to cooperate for the good of our nation. It is one thing to avoid a catastrophe, and another thing to take positive steps to ignite sustained job growth. Going forward, both parties must set aside their differences and work together as Americans to promote economic growth and job creation. Recently, I issued a five-point plan to help put Americans back to work. I am hopeful that once this crisis is over, we can move on to implementing some of the proposals in my plan. I look forward to collaborating with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get Americans back to work."