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Buck: America deserves an honest budget

March 28, 2015
In The News

I voted against the fiscal year 2016 budget proposed by the Republican leadership because it won’t balance, it’s filled with gimmicks, and ultimately, it will lead to increased taxes and deficits. It is based on invalid assumptions. This is not unprecedented for the budgets crafted in Washington, but the American people deserve an honest, balanced budget and real reforms now.

Some conservatives praised this budget for repealing Obamacare, eliminating wasteful programs, and making room for tax reform. However, they ignore political and economic reality.

If Congress’ past behavior is any indication, and Washington fails to control its spending habits, interest rates will increase over the next 10 years. Yet, leadership’s budget identifies $800 billion in savings from reduced interest payments.

While the largest savings in the GOP budget plan comes from repealing Obamacare and its $2 trillion in projected gross spending over the next decade, it also leads to the most egregious false assumption in the budget. The budget would repeal all of Obamacare’s harmful taxes, insurance regulations and government mandates, alleviating the burden they impose on Americans and businesses. However, it also assumes that the $800 billion in revenues lost through the repeal of these provisions would be made up through unidentified tax reform.

The additional Medicare sustainable growth rate spending, now estimated at about $175 billion over 10 years, is not fully offset by fiscally responsible cuts in Medicare spending. Rather than reforming Medicare now, the budget proposal would begin premium support in 2024. Medicare’s fiscal challenges are too severe to wait another eight years to enact structural changes.

The House budget does not include reforms to Social Security, but rather seeks to address this need with a proposed bipartisan commission, which would identify specific legislative proposals for Congress and the president to consider sometime later.

There is a way to balance the budget, but it requires us to make painful decisions today, to ensure a prosperous future. Wherever the federal government oversteps its boundaries to perform functions that are outside of its purview, we must make cuts.

We should increase the Medicare eligibility age for those born in 1960 or after, gradually increasing the age to 67, based on current life expectancies.

We must transform our welfare system by restoring work requirements and by converting the food stamp program to a block grant.

The federal government should return the authority to make transportation decisions to state and local governments, who know their own needs better than Washington bureaucrats.

I came to Congress to advance real solutions that address what I consider the biggest threat to America: our $18.1 trillion debt. This budget fails to put forth solutions commensurate with our nation’s overspending, and I refuse to defer the pain to our children and grandchildren.

Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., represents the 4th Congressional District, which includes Weld County. He lives in Windsor.