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Lipinski: Congress Should Not Be Punting on Problems Like a Multi-Trillion Dollar Debt

Congressman Dan Lipinski (IL-3) released the following statement today on his opposition to H.R. 3877, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019:

“Throughout my time in Congress I’ve always worked to bring people together to get things done and have supported commonsense bipartisan compromises to solve problems.  It’s extremely rare for me to oppose bipartisan, compromise legislation, but I cannot support H.R. 3877, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, which was agreed to by congressional leaders and the President.

I voted against H.R.3877, which sets top-line budget numbers for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021, because it adds nearly $247 billion to our debt in the next two years and $1.7 trillion in additional debt over the next decade.  This agreement is aimed to advance our national security and invest in the health and well-being of the American people and I support those goals.  But this should not come at the expense of future generations who will be saddled with even more crippling debt.  This legislation simply gives up on the problem of trying to address the debt and doesn’t even provide for any way forward on this serious issue.  Members of Congress are elected to make tough decisions, not to punt on problems like a multi-trillion dollar debt.

I have been a leader in promoting solutions to our growing debt since I was first elected to Congress.  I was one of only 38 House members to vote for a budget based on the 2010 Bowles-Simpson National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform plan to reduce the federal deficit by about $2.4 trillion over 10 years through a compromise combination of spending cuts, tax reform, and new revenue.  I voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA) to put our budget on a responsible path to serious deficit reduction and to create mechanisms to prod Congress into tackling the debt problem going forward.  Sadly, Congress failed to take advantage of BCA tools to find a path to compromise.  And when we had constructed compromises in the past six years to raise budget caps set under the BCA, we had always offset the increased spending. 

As a result of this failure, critical federal programs that everyday Americans rely on are threatened by across-the-board budget cuts as our debt gets out of control.  I do not support such arbitrary across-the-board cuts.  The solution is for Congress to roll up our sleeves, get to work, and find a more thoughtful way forward on reducing the federal debt – not simply throw up our hands up on the problem.  Our ever-growing debt is a real threat to America, and I can’t support this deal, which the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget said “may be the worst in our nation’s history,” that increases debt and lets Congress off the hook for solving this for two more years.