Economy & Budget

Refugees International alarmed at funding cuts

Refugees International is alarmed by the proposed funding cuts to lifesaving aid for victims of war, persecution and natural disasters proposed by the Republican majority in the House of Representatives on Friday. The Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution would cut refugee aid through the Migration and Refugee Assistance account by more than 40 percent.

It would cut the International Disaster Assistance account by 50 percent. Cutting foreign aid to the world’s most vulnerable people represents a massive retreat of U.S. leadership and influence around the world and would contribute to further instability in volatile countries. Refugees International calls on Republicans and Democrats alike to work together to remedy the shortsighted funding gap, which will only hurt our long-term budget outlook.


The path to a more efficient Pentagon

More than half of the Pentagon budget is spent on people - pay, health and pension benefits, housing, and a wide array of family support programs from commissaries to day care to hobby shops. There is broad acknowledgement that people are our most potent weapon, so it should come at no surprise that defense is labor intensive.

But, as with weapons systems, we must apply strong efficiency and effectiveness standards to people programs, ensuring that the Pentagon manages recruiting and retention to get the most capable force for the money.


We need tough choices in tough times

This week I had the opportunity to listen to the new director of Office of Management and Budget, Jacob Lew, lay out the framework for President Obama’s budget. Much of the deficit cutting rhetoric in the days leading up to the budget release built a tenor of expectation which was quickly dashed as I heard the President’s budget spokesman utter the phrases, “sustainable deficit” and “primary balance.”

A new nomenclature has again been invented by the president. The goal of the president’s budget is a “primary balance” and not an actual balance. The goal of the budget is not debt reduction, but reaching an invented “sustainable deficit” defined as deficit spending each year equal to 3% of GDP. I do not recall hearing anyone in my district asking me to help get the nation to “primary balance” or to work toward “sustainable deficit” spending. This nation wants to get back to an actual balance and debt elimination.


Interchange Price Cap Rule

Today, the House Financial Services Committee will hold a hearing on the Federal Reserve’s proposed rule on interchange fees to review the implications and consequences of the interchange price cap amendment.

The fact is, the Draconian rules proposed by the Federal Reserve as price caps on debit card transactions will have dire consequences on credit unions – not-for-profit, member-owned financial institutions – and by extension, the 92 million Americans they serve. Unfortunately, the proposed rule fails to determine ‘reasonable and proportional’ interchange fees that would cover the full cost that credit unions incur when administering card programs, including fraud protection, data breach and support costs.


Growing the economy and creating jobs

In the midst of historic debates over spending and budgets, Congress’s work in our committees and on the House floor this week has one common principle: growing the economy and creating jobs. Congress can achieve these goals by reining in government spending and living within its means and removing onerous regulations that stand in the way of job creation.
Congress has been debating how to clean up last year’s fiscal mess left behind by the previous majority, but one thing is clear: many in Congress do not understand the fiscal disaster before us. More than 200 American economists have said spending cuts – not more of the government spending proposed by Democrats – are needed to help create new jobs, both now and well into the future. 


House GOP spending cuts will devastate women, families and economy

House Republican leaders have released their plan for funding—or defunding—the federal government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011, and their draconian cuts are devastating to women and girls at every stage of their lives. The same House Republican leaders who voted to extend lavish tax breaks for the very wealthiest are now insisting that those who can least afford it sacrifice the most.

If the House passes H.R.1, the  Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, girls and women would bear a heavy burden—from girls in early childhood programs to women in their working and childbearing years to women in retirement.


A responsibility to lead when the president has not

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) delivered the following remarks today at the House Budget Committee's hearing on the Treasury Department's 2012 budget.

Thank you, Secretary Geithner, for coming before our committee today to discuss the president’s budget.
The president has disappointed us by presenting us with another budget that spends too much, borrows too much and taxes too much. It is a budget that will stifle job growth today and leave a diminished future for the next generation.
Last year, the long-term fiscal trajectory in the president’s budget was so bad that it came with a warning label, like a cigarette pack. Warning: Must appoint fiscal commission to fix this problem.


Obama's proposed budget is the opposite of what the American people want

When President Obama delivered his budget this Valentine’s Day, the American people were looking for three little words: Cut our deficit.

Well Mr. President, this budget really breaks our hearts – and the bank.

The final product does the opposite of what President Obama seemed to focus on in the State of the Union, and the opposite of what Americans were hoping for: less debt and more jobs. The FY 2012 budget proposal continues to tax-and-spend, doubles the size of the federal government, and adds an additional combined $13 trillion to the federal debt over the next 10 years.


Time to make the difficult decisions our country needs

Last Thursday, President Barack Obama spoke in the Vandament Arena at Northern Michigan University in Marquette, Michigan. The President chose this picturesque town in my district to propose more federal stimulus spending, something he now refers to as “investments.” The President’s stop in Northern Michigan was just one of many that his administration has been making lately as they try to sell a plan of “investments” for “winning the future.” Unfortunately, the only prize Americans will be winning is even more debt.

Families in Northern Michigan, like those all across the country, are trimming their own budgets. The government on the other hand, has shown no signs of changing its spending habits. While the President was in Upper Michigan, his Administration was putting the finishing touches on a $3.7 trillion budget that will result in record setting $1.6 trillion deficit. 


Foreign aid cuts jeopardize U.S. national security

America’s national deficit will burden future generations and hurt the long term well-being of our nation. That is why, as the stewards of our constituents’ hard-earned taxpayer dollars, Congress must always ensure that every cent we spend is absolutely essential. But we can never forget that in meeting Congress’ first priority – keeping America safe – there is no better value than the one percent of the U.S. budget that is spent on foreign aid and diplomacy.