Op-Eds

Balancing Priorities

By Congressman Henry Cuellar

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Washington, May 18, 2006 | comments

The budget bill recently passed by the United States House of Representatives contains significant cuts to many programs that Americans rely upon. I voted against the FY2007 budget and its deep cuts to education, healthcare, and veterans programs. The budget also adds trillions of dollars to the national deficit over the next ten years and continues a path of mortgaging the future of our children and grandchildren.

As a member of the House Budget Committee, I appreciate the Administration’s efforts to balance the budget. However, this cannot be done by slashing education funding, the backbone of our country’s competitive edge and our economic future. We cannot attack America’s working class, especially our nation’s students by dramatically decreasing the assistance they deserve to improve their lives.

The budget passed in a late night vote is flawed and makes harmful cuts to vital services. It offers no plan to bring the budget back to balance, adds to the growing burden of the national debt, and leads to a new debt limit increase of $653 billion.  Over the next five years, it slashes education by $45 billion, veterans' health care by $6 billion, public health by $18 billion, and environmental protection by $25 billion.

The Democratic budget substitute that I supported rejects these harmful cuts to domestic priorities while still balancing the budget by 2012.  It has smaller deficits than the budget, accumulates less debt, and repeals the House rule providing for automatic debt limit increases.  It also backs reinstatement of the effective pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules that helped turn record deficits to record surpluses in the 1990s. 

I will continue to fight for a budget that restores fiscal responsibility and brings real solutions to the American people including strong public schools and consistent financial support for American higher education. I will fight for well funded public schools, the availability of technology training, drug free schools, and higher education grants. We cannot deny Americans these fundamental education opportunities.

I remain unyielding in my support of fiscal policies that provide for the interests of all Americans. My vote will always be for American students, seniors, farmers, veterans and all our nation’s citizens. Now is the time that Congress and the Administration should recommit themselves to serving the needs of all Americans.

 

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