Congressman Cohen Votes for Fiscally Responsible Budget
Washington, DC -- Today, the House passed a fiscally responsible budget with the right priorities for America’s families. Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09) stated, "I’m proud to have voted for this budget, which restores fiscal responsibility and accountability, strengthens our national defense, and invests in the next generation and America’s prosperity."
"For the past six years, the House has passed budgets with deficits, with no plan to work toward a balanced budget. Today, the House passed a budget that finally restores fiscal discipline and reaches balance in five years; unlike the President’s budget, which is always in deficit. Such nonpartisan groups as the Concord Coalition and the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities have endorsed this budget’s approach to restoring fiscal accountability – with the reinstatement of tough pay-as-you-go rule budget rules to ensure that budget discipline is permanent."
"In order to institute fiscal discipline, this budget also includes provisions to invest in efforts to identify and eliminate wasteful spending and improve government efficiency," pointed out Congressman Cohen. "For example, it contains provisions calling for rooting out waste, fraud and abuse in federal contracting – such as occurred in Halliburton contracts in Iraq and in Katrina-related contracts."
"This budget strengthens our national defense and honors our promises to Tennessee’s brave troops and veterans," Congressman Cohen said. "The budget provides the largest increase for veterans’ health care in the history of our country – providing $3.5 billion more for veterans' health care than in the President's budget."
"This budget also puts children and families first," said Congressman Cohen. "For example, in Tennessee, 144,840 children do not have health insurance. This budget helps these children by increasing funding for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) – reducing the number of uninsured children across the county. This budget also provides substantially more funding for Tennessee’s 923,900 children enrolled in public elementary, middle and high schools – providing nearly $8 billion more for education and training than the President’s budget."
"In addition, this budget grows our economy, funding the House Democratic innovation agenda – such as putting us on the path to double funding for the National Science Foundation," Congressman Cohen stated. "Further, this budget recognizes that the 513,000 small businesses in Tennessee are the engine of the economy. To spur economic growth and support small businesses, the budget rejects the President’s proposal to cut the Small Business Administration by 26 percent from last year’s request."
Congressman Cohen added, "This budget also provides for initiatives to protect our environment and preserve our planet. For example, it invests in renewable energy and energy efficiency to reduce our dependence on foreign oil, reduce global warming, and promote new technologies that can create American jobs. This budget also restores funding for environmental programs cut by the President’s budget – including restoring $5,742,000 in Clean Water revolving loan funds in Tennessee that help improve wastewater treatment."
"Finally, this budget supports middle-class tax cuts and protects middle-income families from a tax increase by setting up a reserve fund for a long-term fix for the alternative minimum tax (AMT)," said Congressman Cohen. "In 2004, 17,000 Tennessee families were subject to the AMT – and if nothing is done to fix the system, an estimated 128,000 families here in Tennessee will be subject to the AMT in 2007."
"In conclusion, after years of rising deficits and national debt, this budget finally puts us on the right course," said Congressman Cohen. "By instituting pay-as-you-go budgeting, launching initiatives to root out wasteful spending, and making key investments in America’s top priorities, this budget is a step in the right direction for all of America’s families."
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Marilyn Dillihay, Press Secretary, Congressman Cohen (202) 225-3265