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The federal budget reflects the values, priorities, and agenda of our nation, and as such ought to reflect a national vision of where our country is headed.  The budget must provide the necessary level of funding to ensure a strong national defense, a robust infrastructure, and investments in energy efficiency, environmental conservation, small business development, job creation, education, and a wide range of other areas which are essential to our future prosperity.  Federal spending must be used to help stimulate the economy in ways that will benefit Americans of all ages, backgrounds, and income levels.

The current debate in Washington over federal spending is a necessary one.  Lawmakers and citizens alike ought to be mindful of the ways in which the government spends money.  Wasteful spending should be eliminated, and all Members of Congress should take seriously their responsibility to carefully guard the national treasury.

But the effort by Republicans to vilify federal spending is dramatically misguided.  While insisting on more and more tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and the largest corporations, Republicans maintain that federal spending on programs not of a military nature are inherently wasteful.  They ignore the tens of millions of Americans who rely on and benefit from hundreds of programs and organizations dedicated to ensuring access to education, affordable health care, homeownership assistance, unemployment insurance, veterans benefits, loans for small businesses, food assistance to prevent hunger, support for farmers growing essential crops, and many others.  Eviscerating these programs will not reduce the deficit or solve our long-term financial difficulties.  Republicans are simply rewarding private interests over public health, safety, and prosperity.

We have critical needs in this country.  Tax breaks for the rich isn’t one of them.  From crumbling infrastructure to renewable energy development, and unemployment insurance for struggling Americans to much-needed reforms in our education system, we must prioritize federal spending where it will do the most good.  While I remain concerned about the long-term sustainability of large annual deficits, now is not the time to be drastically cutting federal investments that will improve the economy and create jobs.  A strong economy fuels economic growth, which in turn reduces the deficit and overall debt

I will continue to prioritize investments in vital programs that spur job creation, help us achieve energy independence, provide for the public health, support education, and implement the policies that enable our country to maintain its global leadership.

The process for agreeing on the budget is complex and often lengthy.  Typically, the President introduces a budget proposal in February.  The various committees in both the House and the Senate review the proposal throughout the winter, culminating in votes on the budget resolution during the spring.  The budget resolution sets forth the parameters on spending and other provisions in the twelve annual appropriations bills, which in turn set forth specific funding levels for all federal agencies and programs, which take effect at the beginning of the fiscal year on October 1.
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