MEMO: Murray Outlines Significant Fiscal Outlook Improvement, Calls for Focus on Jobs and Economic Growth
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA) released a memo to Senate Democrats on the updated fiscal outlook and its implications for the budget debate next year. The memo features new analysis from the Senate Budget Committee that shows the federal fiscal outlook has improved significantly. Specifically, the memo shows that compared to estimates from 2010, projected federal spending over the next decade is $7.8 trillion lower, projected revenue has declined by $3.1 trillion, and deficits over the next decade are expected to be $4.7 trillion lower.
With the improved fiscal outlook, Murray stated that the budget debate next year should focus first on creating jobs and broad-based economic growth, rather than taking a cuts-only approach to critical investments like those in education, infrastructure, and research and development. Murray called for Republican leaders to set aside irresponsible, extreme policies that hurt the economy and the middle class, and instead, work with Democrats in a fair, bipartisan way to expand opportunity for families and communities across the country.
“The lessons we have learned over the last two years, and the new analysis laid out in this memo, show why it is so important that Republican leaders set aside their failed approach—which is devastating for middle-class families while protecting the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations from paying a penny more toward their fair share—and instead, work with us on a responsible bipartisan budget that prioritizes jobs, economic growth, and opportunity for the middle class,” Murray said in a letter to colleagues.
Read the memo HERE.
Read Chairman Murray’s Letter to Colleagues:
As we head into a new budget season, Republicans will have a critical choice to make: will they push for their same old path on the budget, meaning more partisanship and more cuts to critical investments simply for the sake of cutting? Or, will they make the wiser—and for families and communities across the country, far less costly—choice to shift their budget priorities away from partisanship and cuts, and work with Democrats to focus on jobs and growth?
The lessons we have learned over the last two years, and the new analysis laid out in this memo, show why it is so important that Republican leaders set aside their failed approach—which is devastating for middle-class families while protecting the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations from paying a penny more toward their fair share—and instead, work with us on a responsible bipartisan budget that prioritizes jobs, economic growth, and opportunity for the middle class.
When I became Chairman of the Budget Committee, one of my top priorities was moving Congress away from brinkmanship and partisanship on the budget. I laid out a vision in the Senate Budget resolution that focused on creating jobs and encouraging broad-based growth while stabilizing the nation’s finances fairly and responsibly, and I called on House Republicans to join me at the table and work out a deal.
Unfortunately, that did not happen right away. Republicans spent months refusing to even join us at the table in a budget conference. And we all remember the harmful 16-day government shutdown inflicted on the country by Tea Party Republican brinkmanship. But I was proud that once the shutdown finally ended, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) and I were able to work out a two-year bipartisan budget deal that showed the American people that their elected officials can work together and deliver results, and that Congress can actually get things done for the people we represent.
Our deal was not perfect—I know Chairman Ryan would say the same thing—but it was an important step forward. It prevented another government shutdown, and it replaced devastating cuts from sequestration and allowed us to increase critical investments in jobs and growth. And it would have been impossible if Republican leaders had not listened to the American people, set aside Tea Party governing by crisis, and agreed to work with Democrats in a fair, bipartisan way.
We know we cannot afford Tea Party brinkmanship—and we also cannot afford to ignore the new reality of our fiscal situation. We no longer have the extreme short-term deficit crisis we faced in 2009 and 2010. As this memo will discuss, new analysis from the Senate Budget Committee shows that the federal fiscal outlook has improved significantly.
- Compared to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates from just four years ago, projected federal spending over the next decade is $7.8 trillion lower. This is the result of approximately $1.8 trillion in enacted spending cuts, $2 trillion in savings from slower growth in health care costs, and $3.9 trillion in savings from lower interest payments on the federal debt.
- Meanwhile, over the next decade, projected revenue has declined by $3.1 trillion compared to the CBO’s 2010 estimates. This underscores the need for new revenue from those who can most afford it in any further deficit reduction effort.
- There is still more to do, but all in all, deficits over the next decade are expected to be $4.7 trillion lower compared to the CBO’s 2010 projections.
That is good news—but there is also cause for concern. Much of this fiscal improvement comes from deep cuts to investments that help expand opportunity and economic growth, like those in education, infrastructure, and research and development. These investments are especially important because, as we all know, far too many families have not shared in the economic recovery. They are still struggling in the job market and facing stagnant wages and rising costs. And if Republicans leaders insist on using their new majority next year to continue pursuing a partisan, cuts-only approach, those families will continue to bear a disproportionate share of the burden.
So, what should Republican leaders do instead?
Republican leaders must deliver on their commitment to set aside the Tea Party strategy of governing by crisis. They should work with us, join us at the table, and come prepared to make some compromises—not simply stay in their partisan corner.
But they also need to recognize that while this is necessary, it is not sufficient. Republican leaders should take a step further and let go of the extreme, cuts-only budget approach that protects millionaires, billionaires, and wasteful corporate loopholes and has shaped Republican budget strategy in recent years.
Instead, given what we now know about our fiscal outlook, any Republican budget should be squarely focused on jobs and broad-based economic growth. Rather than cutting investments in helping students afford higher education, or programs like Medicare that seniors depend on, Republicans should work with Democrats to pass a budget that puts jobs first, restores critical support for education, research, and infrastructure, and lays down a foundation for long-term economic growth that builds upon the recent improvement in deficits and debt.
Compromise is never easy, but Congress has shown that when both parties are willing to make tough choices, we can work together on the budget in a way that solves problems and helps families and the economy. Democrats worked across the aisle with Republicans when we were in the majority. Next year, Republican leaders should push aside the Tea Party and do the same.
I hope this memo is helpful to you as we move into the next year.
Patty Murray (D-WA)
Chairman, Senate Budget Committee
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