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Rush H.
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    Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2014

    by Former Representative Rush Holt

    Posted on 2013-12-12

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    HOLT of new jersey in the house of representatives Thursday, December 12, 2013 Mr. HOLT. Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this new Ryan-Murray budget agreement because it is a strong continuation of an anti- government, pessimistic policy that has been plaguing Washington in recent years.



    Make no mistake about it; this budget agreement is the direct result of the Budget Control Act, which I strongly opposed when it was being debated 2011, and this agreement takes us backwards. I knew then sequester would wreak havoc on our economy, threaten our quality of life, and squeeze the most vulnerable among us.

    Here we are, over two years later, and the worst of it is coming true. The sequester has cut research, education, infrastructure, Medicare, and a number of other critical investments that are vital to a growing economy. It is robbing America of the opportunity to rise from the Great Recession as a stronger, more vibrant nation. Instead, the sequester is continuing to weaken our country with a shrunken government that is hampered by deep cuts to the safety net and hobbled by a refusal to invest in our future. This budget agreement from Congressman Ryan and Senator Murray is a way to partially and minimally reverse cuts that should never have happened in the first place.

    It is a compromise in a narrow, Washington kind of sense: It will gain some votes from Democrats and some votes from Republicans. But let's remember how the BCA came to be enacted: In 2011, Republicans held hostage America's credit rating by threatening to default on our debts if they didn't get what they wanted. No true compromise was possible then because the negotiations were conducted in the midst of a hostage crisis. No compromise is possible now because we are still operating within the framework created by that hostage crisis.

    The question we should ask ourselves is, ``Where are we trying to go as a country?'' We should be striving toward an optimistic future--one where we invest in research, education, infrastructure, and more. By that measure, this is a bad deal.

    [[Page E1887]] The agreement--not really a compromise--slashes discretionary spending and tinkers with a few other things like raising fees on airline tickets, decreasing reimbursement to Medicare providers, and lowering military retirement pensions. How could we actually think this is the kind of path forward for our country? There is no attempt to close tax loopholes on corporate jet or on expenses of oil and gas companies, and makes no effort in asking the wealthiest among us to pay their fair share to live in an orderly, humane, equitable society. Favored corporate interests, millionaires, and billionaires will continue to receive special tax breaks as far as the eye can see while unemployment insurance expires, leaving millions struggling to find work out in the cold just weeks after Christmas. That is not the sort of fair, balanced deal that Americans have asked for and expect from their leaders.

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