Sequestration, the debt ceiling and how to prioritize federal spending are all issues that Congress has dealt with, and continues to deal 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 and sequestration impacted programs and departments throughout government. I have always supported 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 2015 Congress reached a significant economic compromise with passage of H.R. 1314, the Bipartisan Budget Agreement. This legislation suspended the debt limit for a defined period of time and established funding parameters for two years. It also increased the sequester cap by $80 billion, equally divided between defense and nondefense spending. It wasn’t a perfect agreement, but it lifted unreasonable sequestration constraints and took the debt limit off the negotiating table – providing some much needed stability.
The period leading up to the Bipartisan Budget Agreement was challenging. 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.
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.