Fiscal Responsibility

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Rep. Eshoo believes that fiscal responsibility is essential to America’s long term stability and the economic well-being of its citizens. While the government must continue to act decisively to help jumpstart and stabilize the economy, spending must always be controlled.

Large deficits and an increasing national debt affect future generations as they seek to borrow money to go to school, buy a house, and pay for health care expenses. Rep. Eshoo supports a balanced approach to getting our nation’s fiscal house in order, believing we can’t tax our way out of the problem, or simply cut our way out of it. This means taking steps to reform and strengthen the long-term viability of Social Security and Medicare, as well as cleaning up the tax code to eliminate unwarranted and outdated subsidies and tax breaks.

Sequestration and the Budget

Rep. Eshoo believes the uniform, across-the-board cuts under “sequestration” are bad policy and a terrible way to budget. The sequester was intended to force a bipartisan agreement on deficit reduction which never materialized. Under sequestration, even programs that bring in more revenue than they cost, are cut. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects that sequestration will cost the economy 750,000 jobs in 2013 alone, and it is already threatening the U.S. Patent Office, the National Institutes of Health, the FDA, Head Start programs, housing vouchers, and unemployment benefits. These are critical programs that millions of Americans depend on. Rep. Eshoo supports a full replacement of sequestration by reducing the budget by eliminating some programs and reducing others, including an overhaul of our outdated tax code.

For the first time in several years, both the House and Senate have passed budgets for the 2014 fiscal year, but have so far failed to resolve the differences between the bills. Rep. Eshoo voted against the House-passed budget because it leaves intact the harmful cuts of sequestration, and makes further cuts to medical research, renewable energy, schools, and other critical programs. By contrast, the Senate budget sets spending at the levels agreed to by Democrats and Republicans in the Budget Control Act, which was signed into law by President Obama on August 2, 2011. Rep. Eshoo believes the House Republican leadership should “come to the table” to resolve differences with the Senate budget and prevent the government from shutting down at the end of the fiscal year in September, averting another self-made crisis.

In the 112th Congress, Rep. Eshoo voted to cut the deficit by $2.5 trillion, including:

  • $1.4 trillion in spending cuts in the Budget Control Act of 2011, which kept government funded through the end of 2012;
  • $600 billion in additional revenues from the fiscal cliff agreement; and
  • There has been an additional $500 billion in interest savings from the first two deficit reduction measures.

Pay As You Go (PAYGO)

Rep. Eshoo was a cosponsor of the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act (PAYGO), which passed the House in the 111th Congress. Simply put, under PAYGO, Congress can only spend a dollar if it saves a dollar. It forces tough choices, requiring Congress to offset new policies that either reduce revenues or expand entitlement spending. If the offsets are not enacted, Congress would be required to make across-the-board cuts in certain mandatory programs.

The PAYGO law helped President Clinton produce an historic 10-year projected budget surplus of $5.6 trillion, which President Bush inherited. Unfortunately, Congress allowed PAYGO to expire in 2002 under Republican leadership of Congress. On February 12, 2010, President Obama signed statutory PAYGO rules into law once again.

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