The economy continues to be a focus of Congress and the Administration. Sequestration, the debt ceiling and how to prioritize federal spending are all issues that Congress has dealt with in recent years. All of them directly impact the health of the economy, particularly since the recent financial crisis.
Raising the debt ceiling to address bills that were already incurred by the federal government has been a regular challenge for Congress. Sequestration continues to impact programs and departments throughout government. I remain committed to a balanced approach that will put us on the path to pay down the deficit and stabilize the economy, without placing the largest burden on our most vulnerable citizens.
In the fall of 2013 the Republican-led House refused to consider a fiscal year 2014 budget that did not repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which led to a partial federal government shutdown. That crisis ended in mid October with the passage of legislation to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling so the United States did not default on bills it had already incurred.
In early 2014 Congress passed legislation that finally started to lessen some of the drastic cuts endured because of sequestration. It did not fully ease the burden on some programs, but it did represent a compromise. Unfortunately, House Republican leadership continues to advance budget proposals that do not adequately balance debt reduction with program spending.
The fiscal year 2016 Republican budget proposal continues this approach. It cuts spending by $5.5 trillion over ten years. Nondefense spending was slashed by $759 billion below what was established as a result of sequestration and the Budget Control Act. Once again the burden of deficit reduction is not shared equally, with defense spending increasing by $36 billion. Once again, the budget proposal included a provision repealing the ACA.
I am committed to supporting efforts that create jobs. The federal government must do everything it can to create and save jobs by preserving vital services performed by state and local governments, supporting those who are struggling in today's economy or who are unemployed, and investing in our nation's infrastructure.