STATEMENT and VIDEO: Shea-Porter on H.J.Res 59, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ben Wakana, 202-225-5456
WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter issued the following statement after voting for H.J.Res 59, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013. After the vote, Shea-Porter spoke on the House floor, highlighting the story of one Granite Stater set to lose unemployment benefits as a result of Congressional inaction.
“This was not a vote I took lightly. The notion that the only compromise our country can strike is one that leaves 1.3 million Americans without emergency unemployment insurance is deeply flawed, and it is outrageous that Republicans would not consider extending emergency unemployment insurance.
“Traditionally, extending unemployment benefits has enjoyed bipartisan support. Republicans never failed to extend unemployment benefits under President George W Bush. President Reagan so firmly believed in the importance of unemployment insurance that he announced his support in his 1983 State of the Union Address.
“In today’s sluggish economy, there are three job applicants for every job opening. Americans who benefit from emergency unemployment insurance are not moochers, nor are they lazy. They are workers who ran into hard luck and lost their job through no fault of their own. Many of them rely on emergency unemployment compensation to keep their families out of poverty and a roof over their heads.
“But ultimately, the people of New Hampshire sent me here to make hard compromises, and this was one of them. This budget deal wasn’t what I wanted, but as the Wall Street Journal said, it is ‘the least bad budget deal’. It will reduce the irresponsible cuts to programs that help seniors, children, and families in New Hampshire, and it will alleviate some of the pain sequestration is causing at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, at the New Hampshire National Guard, and other places across New Hampshire. But it still hurts some groups, and it fails to ask for a dime from profitable corporations who pay zero in federal income taxes.
“In 2014, the challenge facing Washington will not be how to pass a budget. It will be how to reclaim the American Dream: to build an economy where hard work merits fair pay. We know that as our economy grows, our nation prospers. I hope that Washington will build on today’s compromise and address the priorities that Granite Staters sent me here to focus on: creating good jobs, giving every child a shot at a good education, preserving Social Security and Medicare, and helping families access quality, affordable health care.
“It won’t be easy, but as today’s vote proved, it’s not impossible.”
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 would set overall discretionary spending for the current fiscal year at $1.012 trillion—about halfway between the Senate budget level of $1.058 trillion and the House budget level of $967 billion. The agreement would provide $63 billion in sequester relief over two years, split evenly between defense and non-defense programs. In fiscal year 2014, defense discretionary spending would be set at $520.5 billion, and non-defense discretionary spending would be set at $491.8 billion.
The sequester relief is fully offset by savings elsewhere in the budget. The agreement includes dozens of specific deficit-reduction provisions, with mandatory savings and non-tax revenue totaling approximately $85 billion. The agreement would reduce the deficit by between $20 and $23 billion.
The House of Representatives passed the bill 332-94. The Senate is expected to take up the legislation next week. If this bill is signed into law by President Obama, the appropriations committees will then be able to work on spending bills at an agreed-upon level in advance of the January 15th deadline.
For a summary of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, click here.