Statement by Vice President Biden on the Budget Deal
Over the last seven years, our economy has gone from crisis to recovery to the cusp of resurgence. The budget and tax agreement that Congress negotiated this week will help make it a permanent resurgence. Neither side got everything it wanted, and there is more we will continue to fight for. But this agreement reverses self-inflicted wounds like sequestration, averts another unnecessary government shutdown, and lays a path forward to the type of governing by consensus that the American people deserve and expect.
It makes permanent Recovery Act expansions of tax credits that boost incomes for millions of working and middle-class families, helping them care for their children and pay for college. It extends tax credits that will continue an American-led clean energy transformation that’s unleashing new industries and creating tens of thousands of good-paying American jobs. It will help hundreds of thousands of people looking for work know where the jobs are, what training is needed, where to get trained, and where to find the jobs.
This agreement marks the largest investment in the NIH in a decade—$32 billion—that will mean more clinical trials for patients and more research grants for next-generation scientists. It will help put us closer to curing cancer -- turning deadly diseases into manageable chronic conditions – and on the verge of countless other life-saving and life-changing discoveries.
The agreement invests a record $480 million in programs under the Violence Against Women Act. It invests $45 million toward eliminating the backlog of rape kits, so tens of thousands of rape and sexual assault victims will no longer have to wait years before their rape kits are tested --allowing them to find closure and bring their perpetrators to justice. The budget also provides an increase of $3.75 million to the National Domestic Violence Hotline so fewer women and men remain prisoners in their own homes.
And as we were reminded in the summer of 2014 when 50,000 unaccompanied children risked their lives to escape crime, corruption, violence and poverty to find their way to our southwestern border—the security and prosperity of Central America are inextricably linked with our own. At the President’s request, I’ve traveled to the region and have made it clear with the leaders of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras that the United States stands ready to support their efforts to reverse endemic violence and poverty, crack down on criminal networks, and strengthen good governance and the rule of law. As those leaders have responded, this decision by Congress to invest $750 million in Central America demonstrates that we honor our commitments and believe in a future where the Western Hemisphere is middle class, democratic, and secure.
The agreement is not perfect, but it will help grow our economy, bolster our security, and it reflects governing by consensus, not the governing by crisis we’ve seen too often of late