Reed Backs Bipartisan Budget Agreement
Senator says agreement helps avert default and provides sequestration relief for both defense and domestic priorities
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI), the Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, today announced his support for a two-year, bipartisan budget agreement. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 would provide $80 billion in sequester relief over the next two years, evenly split between defense and domestic funding, along with setting emergency war funding at fiscal year 2015 levels, well short of the nearly $90 billion Republicans had proposed including for the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund in the recently vetoed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). It also prevents a sharp increase in Medicare Part B premiums for certain beneficiaries in 2016, while keeping the Social Security disability insurance trust fund solvent until 2022.
Without this agreement, the federal government could have defaulted on its debt for the first time in history if the borrowing limit wasn’t raised by next Tuesday, November 3.
Senator Reed issued the following statement:
“This is a credible compromise. It is only a two-year patch, but it puts us on a much better path forward. It accomplishes three key objectives: prevents an economically catastrophic default; establishes two years of rational budgets for defense and domestic priorities; and provides our military with the resources they need without an overreliance on OCO. This agreement also makes another costly government shutdown far less likely.
“Congress must work together to increase incomes for working families and help grow our economy. This bipartisan budget prioritizes job creation and restores the ability to make critical investments in our workforce and the middle-class while providing a measure of stability and predictability for American employers over the next two years.
“Throughout this process, I have urged my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to work together to find a balanced, responsible way to address defense and domestic spending, because they are both essential to the security and financial well-being of the American people. This budget includes additional resources we need to maintain a strong defense and a strong economy.
“I believe in honest budgeting, and while this blueprint still relies on emergency war fund accounts, it more accurately reflects the costs of our overseas military operations and provides the Department of Defense with some additional budgetary stability and flexibility to plan for the future.
“Speaker Boehner stepped up and agreed to critical investments to improve our infrastructure and bolster the economy. I commend him for his statesmanship. But I fear this may only be a temporary return to order and fiscal sanity before the next Speaker bows to pressure from extremist partisans in the House.
“Regardless of who holds the Speaker’s gavel, both sides must work together to accelerate job growth, achieve full employment, and promote economic opportunity for all.
“Now that a two-year budget agreement is in place, the House and Senate Appropriations committees must quickly reach consensus and produce a detailed omnibus spending package by the December 11 deadline,” concluded Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee.
The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the plan later today and the U.S. Senate may then take up the measure.