Washington, D.C — Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress, released the following statement on the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015:
The recently concluded bipartisan budget agreement is a significant step in the right direction. While this legislation is not perfect, it shows that lawmakers can still deliver for the American people when both sides are willing to compromise. The deal strikes an appropriate balance that enables some critically needed investments in infrastructure, education, and other sectors to grow the economy and strengthens our national security. By passing this agreement, Congress will avert a series of unnecessary and damaging fiscal crises that would be caused by sequestration, a default on the national debt, sharp benefit cuts for Americans with disabilities, and premium spikes for Medicare beneficiaries.
The cuts made by this agreement are not ideal, especially when negotiators could have instead closed more tax loopholes that only benefit the wealthiest Americans. While the tax compliance measures in the agreement represent real progress toward a fairer tax system, it is clear that anti-tax ideology continues to sharply constrain the potential for larger budget agreements. Given those constraints, it is reasonable for this Congress to use part of the Overseas Contingency Operations account to prevent some shortfalls in both diplomatic and military spending, but the next Congress will need to take a hard look at this account to make sure it does not become a permanent slush fund.
Even if this agreement is signed into law, Congress will still have to implement it without shutting down the government, which means passing appropriations bills that do not contain ideological policy riders. Passing this budget deal is a critical first step to providing fiscal and economic stability for the American people.
The following CAP experts are also available for comment:
- Carmel Martin, Executive Vice President for Policy (general budget)
- Harry Stein, Director, Fiscal Policy (general budget)
- Rebecca Vallas, Director of Policy, Poverty to Prosperity Program (Social Security, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program/food stamps, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credit, and anti-poverty programs)
- Topher Spiro, Vice President, Health Policy (health care)
- Lawrence J. Korb, Senior Fellow, National Security and International Policy (U.S. Department of Defense budget)
Related resource: Setting the Right Course in the Next Budget Agreement by Harry Stein
For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Allison Preiss at gro.ssergorpnacirema@ssierpa or 202.478.6331.