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Amendment to H.J. Res. 59, the Bipartisan Budget Agreement

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Budget

Yesterday the House considered an amendment to H.J. Res. 59, the Bipartisan Budget Agreement. While far from perfect, this is encouraging. It represents a compromise, which has been elusive in this Congress when it comes to budget agreements. It sets fiscal year 2014 spending levels at $1.012 trillion. Without an agreement, FY 2014 spending would have been reduced to $967 billion. The most important aspect of this agreement for me is that it addresses sequestration for the next two years. As you know, I never supported this approach to spending reductions because it slashes funding indiscriminately. The next round of sequester cuts were scheduled to go into effect on January 15th. This legislation replaces some of the sequester cuts with targeted spending reductions and revenue increases.

I think itís important to note that the Bipartisan Budget Agreement reverses the troubling trend of budget cuts that have been legislated since 2011. It actually increases spending by $25 billion over the last fiscal year. While this is certainly a victory, it is not enough to keep pace with inflation or restore recent cuts. Passage of this legislation does not eliminate the possibility of another government shutdown next month, but it significantly reduces its likelihood. I am also disappointed that an extension of expiring unemployment insurance was not included. This means than 1.3 million Americans will get their last check at the end of this month. I am hopeful that Congress can quickly address this lapse in January. I voted YES. The legislation passed and the entire vote is recorded below:

  YEA NAY PRESENT NOT VOTING
REPUBLICAN

169

62

0

1

DEMOCRAT

163

32

0

6

TOTAL

332

94

0

7

MASSACHUSETTS
DELEGATION

9

0

0

0



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