House freshmen seek bigger role in budget process

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Last week, the House passed a Republican budget plan that calls for slower growth in federal spending and a balanced budget in 10 years. Early Saturday morning, the Senate approved a Democratic budget that does not balance and calls for $1 trillion in new taxes.

Reconciling these radically different budget visions will be difficult at best. But in their letter, the freshmen say they are "hopeful" some agreement can be reached, and said the chances of a deal are better if they are involved.

"As you know, the freshman class constitutes nearly a fifth of the House of Representatives," they wrote. "In addition to sheer numbers, we bring to the table fresh perspectives and a genuine desire to find common ground."

The group added that they are "deeply troubled by the fiscal trajectory of our country," and said they all want to promote growth; cut spending; create jobs; eliminate waste; reform the tax code and protect social programs.

"Perhaps most importantly, we hold a common commitment to working with members of both parties to realize these goals," they wrote. "It is long past time for Republicans and Democrats to come together and negotiate a responsible compromise to address our fiscal challenges, and we believe the freshman class has a critical role to play in bridging the divide between the parties and forging united solutions."

Members signing the letter were Reps. Ami Bera (D-Calif.), Julia Brownley (D-Calif.), Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.), John Delaney (D-Md.), Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii), Pete Gallego (D-Texas), Joe Garcia (D-Fla.), Steven Horsford (D-Nev.), David Joyce (R-Ohio), Joe Kennedy (D-Mass.), Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.), Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.), Dan Maffei (D-N.Y.), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.), Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas), Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) and Filemon Vela (D-Texas).