Conyers Opposes Budgetary Gimmicks and Misguided “Simpson-Bowles” Plan
(WASHINGTON)– This morning, the U.S. House of Representatives considered H.R. 444, the “Require a PLAN Act.” This bill would mandate that if President Obama’s FY-2014 budget doesn’t ultimately come into balance, the President would have to submit a supplemental budget by April 1, 2013 with an estimate of when his budget would achieve balance. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued this statement in response to the legislation:
U.S. Representative John Conyers, Jr.
“I am deeply disappointed that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle have brought H.R. 444, the so-called ‘Require a PLAN Act,’ to the House Floor,” said Conyers.
“This bill is an unfortunate budgetary gimmick that does nothing to address the looming budgetary sequester that would decimate our economy and the many domestic programs that working class families depend on. At a time when unemployment remains painfully high, this legislation does nothing to create jobs or stimulate the economy. After holding up a deal this past December on the so-called ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ House Republicans are now seeking to blame the president for their own inaction. This is unacceptable, and an abdication of our duty to address the serious issues facing the American people.
“I am also troubled by the Majority’s decision to hold a vote on an amendment to H.R. 444 that would require President Obama to consider a budgetary plan based on the proposal by the co-chairs of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility, the so-called ‘Simpson-Bowles’ plan. For many reasons, this plan is simply the wrong model for deficit reduction. First, the ‘Simpson-Bowles’ plan places arbitrary caps on federal revenue, discretionary spending, and health care spending without providing a rationale for why these caps are appropriate or whether the caps accommodate national priorities. Secondly, in the 2 years since the ‘Simpson-Bowles’ plan was first presented to the public, President Obama has signed into law $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction. As a result, the amount of deficit reduction the United States needs to achieve a sustainable debt-to-GDP ratio is significantly less than the $4 trillion that the ‘Simpson-Bowles’ plan calls for.
“Lastly, and perhaps most important of all, the ‘Simpson-Bowles’ plan incorporates damaging public policies that the American public doesn’t support. These policies include a proposal to raise the Social Security retirement age to 69, a reduction in Social Security benefits for middle-income retirees by 35 percent, a $110 billion shift in Medicare costs to seniors and people with disabilities, cuts to military health and retirement benefits, as well as a 10 percent reduction in the federal workforce. In addition, the plan mandates a top marginal income tax rate of no more than 29 percent, paid for by shifting the taxation burden to working class families.
“In the aftermath of the worst recession since the Great Depression, these proposals are misguided and out of touch with the needs of the American people. As our economy continues to regain its footing, I urge my colleagues in Congress to reject partisan gimmicks, come together, and consider meaningful legislation that puts Americans back to work.”