The President's Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Request
The budget submitted by the President on February 2 reflects the progress we’ve made as a country – emerging from a difficult recession with cautious optimism and a growing economy – but it also underscores the considerable work left to do to prepare for a brighter future.
As the President described in his State of the Union address, we should begin that work by expanding access to preschool and strengthening public education to ensure that our students are prepared to succeed. We must also give students new opportunities beyond a secondary education, and I applaud the President for his proposals to make two years of college as affordable and universal as high school and to create innovative new job training programs. Both of these proposals will help provide new pathways to upward mobility, grow paychecks for middle class families, and ensure that our workforce remains competitive globally.
As we have long known in the Triangle, the best way to build toward the economy of the future is to invest in transportation infrastructure, technology, research, and innovation today. The President’s budget reaffirms our commitment to those priorities with major funding increases, including a $478 billion transportation reauthorization that will allow us to rebuild our crumbling highways and pave the way for faster and cleaner transit options. Many of these programs fall under my purview as the new Ranking Member of the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to make the President’s optimistic vision a reality.
This task is made much more difficult by the failed budget deal hanging over the economy since 2011, which includes the mindless, indiscriminate process known as “sequestration”. The President’s budget reverses this misguided policy, which has required domestic appropriations – the investments that create jobs and help grow the economy – to bear the full brunt of our deficit reduction efforts while leaving the real drivers of the deficit and debt largely untouched. He proposes to replace the sequester with a fiscally responsible package of tax proposals addressing the middle-class squeeze, carefully targeted savings, support for improved home health care and for veterans’ and children’s care, as well as other smart investments. These investments would be fully paid for in this budget, making possible a reduction of projected deficits by $2 trillion over the next 10 years.
As an Appropriations Committee member, I look forward to studying the President’s proposal in greater detail, but overall I am assured that it can move us forward, helping us strengthen and broaden the economic recovery so that all Americans can benefit.