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Budget/Fiscal Responsibility

Congressman Matheson is committed to fiscal discipline.  He believes that, like Utah families do each day, the federal government must be responsible - living within its means and balancing its budget.  It is fiscally reckless and morally wrong to pile debt on future generations.  The time is now to act.  Our nation’s current fiscal path is unsustainable and the consequences are grave: slower economic growth, higher interest payments on the debt, less flexibility to address important needs or future emergencies.  The plan to address this challenge must be ambitious, pro-growth and address all areas of the budget.

As a leader in the conservative Blue Dog coalition—a group of Democrats committed to ensuring the financial stability and national security of the U.S., Matheson has supported efforts to promote accountability by government agencies, the implementation of pay-as-you-go budget enforcement rules that prevent deficit spending, a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and the elimination of duplicative or wasteful programs and spending.

Deficit reduction, spending caps and a plan forward

Congressman Matheson joined a bipartisan majority of Republicans and Democrats on Aug 1, 2011, in support of S. 365--The Budget Control Act of 2011—to cut $2 trillion from the federal budget. It does not increase taxes or harm Social Security.  It reflects Matheson’s long-standing deficit reduction principles of cutting spending, capping spending and support for a balanced budget amendment.

The Budget Control Act cut nearly half that amount immediately by way of an across-the-board percentage cut to federal programs. In addition, it created a 12-member “Super Committee” from the leadership of both parties in the House and Senate. This Super Committee was responsible for coming up with the additional $1 trillion in cuts based on consensus and developing a thoughtful plan to move our country forward. The Super Committee was to present its agreement to Congress by the end of 2011, and its proposals to cut federal spending would be voted on, without amendment, in both chambers of Congress. If the Super Committee failed to come to an agreement by the end of 2011, the remaining $1 trillion in cuts would be applied automatically – as a sequester – so that the total amount of $2 trillion in spending cuts established by the BCA would be met. Unfortunately, the Super Committee failed to present any plan for spending cuts. As a result, the sequester was automatically triggered, and has now gone into effect.

The problem with the across the board cuts in the sequester is that they are implemented in an indiscriminate manner, without regard for priorities or effectiveness of programs. A better approach is to determine thoughtfully which programs are necessary and implement responsible, economically sound cuts. By doing so, we will be able to preserve the programs that are working and eliminate or reform those that are not.

Stop automatic salary increases for Congress

From his first year in Congress, Congressman Matheson has led the fight on the House floor for an open, up-or-down vote on the automatic pay raise accorded Members. The secrecy of an automatic salary increase is wrong and prevents a debate on whether Congress deserves a pay raise.  Matheson has also introduced legislation to require a vote in the House of Representatives before any increase to Members’ salaries.

Balanced Budget amendment

Our record-setting federal deficits and debt require we make serious reforms to the budget process in Congress. One reform Congressman Matheson has long supported is a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. Every Utah family and small business owner understands the concept of living within your means.  Forty-nine out of 50 states are required to adopt a balanced budget.  Passage would be more than symbolic:  it would have a powerful impact on Federal fiscal policies by establishing a binding legal framework forcing Congress to make challenging decisions. Here is the balanced budget amendment that Matheson recently supported.

No Budget, No Pay

Congressman Matheson supported the No Budget, No Pay Act that would withhold pay for members of the House and Senate if their respective chambers failed to pass a budget by April 15. No Budget, No Pay was signed into law on February 4, 2013.


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