Statement by the Press Secretary
The Congressional Republican budget conference agreement that Senate Republicans passed this evening serves as a reminder of what Republicans in the House and Senate can agree on: underfunding investments that benefit middle-class families and contribute to economic growth; stripping away health insurance coverage from millions; making it harder for students to afford college; and funding national defense through a temporary budget gimmick – while shortchanging it altogether in later years.
Senate Republicans joined their House Republican colleagues in adopting a budget framework that locks in sequestration, bringing base defense and non-defense discretionary funding to the lowest levels in a decade, adjusted for inflation.
In order to make their budget work at those low levels, Congressional Republicans propose drastic cuts to programs that support the middle class and provide ladders of opportunity for those seeking to reach the middle class. For example, Republicans are proposing severe cuts to the community revitalization program known as Choice Neighborhoods, with the House bill providing less than 10 percent of the President's proposal, leaving the program able to fund only one small implementation grant. They would cut the TIGER transportation grants by 80 percent from current funding levels, shortchanging the President’s Budget request by over a billion dollars less than the Administration’s request. In addition, the Republicans’ Budget proposals insufficient levels will put in jeopardy funding for a range of programs that provide critical support including criminal justice assistance to state and local jurisdictions. Republicans have started talking the talk about issues like inequality and criminal justice reform but their budget shows they are not walking the walk.
In contrast, the President has put forward a Budget that would reverse sequestration, replacing the savings with commonsense spending and tax reforms, and would make the investments needed to bring middle class economics into the 21st Century and strengthen our national security. The President’s Budget builds on the progress we’ve made and shows what we can do if we invest in America's future, and end sequestration, by cutting inefficient spending and reforming our broken tax code to make sure everyone pays their fair share. It lays out a strategy to strengthen our middle class with investments in research, education, training, and infrastructure, while also fulfilling our most basic responsibility to keep Americans safe. It also calls for investments in programs to revitalize communities and transform areas of concentrated poverty.
The President has made clear that he will not accept a budget that locks in sequestration going forward, nor one that reverses sequestration for defense – whether explicitly or through backdoor gimmicks – without also reversing sequestration for non-defense.
There is bipartisan support for a commonsense deal. The Administration looks forward to working with Congress on an agreement that will allow us to invest in our economy and protect our national security.