THE BUDGET CONTROL ACT IS NOW LAW, putting in place new caps on federal spending while providing an increase in the debt ceiling.  The legislation marks the first time in history that spending cuts, totaling $900 billion in the first tranche alone, have been attached to a debt ceiling increase—signifying an important step toward deficit control.

GOOD NEWS FOR SENIORS: SOCIAL SECURITY AND MEDICARE benefits will continue being paid without the potential for disruption, now that the Budget Control Act has been signed by the President.  However, the debt ceiling debate once again elevated the necessity for entitlement reform, particularly with Medicare and Medicaid.  Read the report in USA Today here.

A SUPER COMMITTEE WILL SOON FORM to identify and recommend another $1.2 trillion in savings over the next decade.  If the super committee cannot reach an agreement, a “budget trigger” would automatically provide the $1.2 trillion in cost savings through a 50-50 split between Medicare and defense spending.   

THREE DEFICIT REDUCTION PLANS ORIGINATED IN THE HOUSE and all three were reported to the Senate.  The first plan, which I supported, was the Cut, Cap and Balance Act.  The second plan, offered by Speaker Boehner, also received my support.  The third and final plan, a revised version of Speaker Boehner’s proposal, did not receive my support but ultimately garnered enough votes to clear the House and the Senate.

THE FINAL VERSION OF THE BUDGET CONTROL ACT RECEIVED 161 NO VOTES during House consideration.  Opposition to the plan was based on several different factors, ranging from the overall level of spending cuts to the absence of a long-term solution.

MY OPPOSITION TO THE BUDGET CONTROL ACT centered on the fact that the plan falls short in avoiding a quick return to the prospect of default, fails to contain the major cost drivers in the budget up front and creates a super committee that, short of reaching consensus, will trigger over a trillion dollars in arbitrary cuts to Medicare and national defense. 

THE FIRST TRANCHE INCLUDES $350 BILLION IN DEFENSE CUTS through statutory budget caps, which were also included in the original Boehner plan.  There is legitimate concern that a second round of budget cuts totaling $600 billion, required by the budget trigger, could put U.S. security at risk. 

DEFENSE OFFICIALS ARE ALREADY ON RECORD saying that the trigger scenario would lead to furloughs of thousands of workers (Congressional Research Service: 8,000 jobs supported by every billion dollars in defense spending), involuntary separation and severe disruptions in acquisition programs.  Read my press release here.

REFORMS TO ENTITLEMENTS AND THE TAX CODE will put the country on the right path.  My hope is that the super committee will focus on these areas, with the interest of creating more efficiency in both the tax code and entitlements and guaranteeing programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are available for future generations.

IN THE MEANTIME, JOB CREATION IS STILL AT THE FOREFRONT.  The House is soon expected to consider a package of measures repealing costly and burdensome regulations across the spectrum of the federal government.  One aspect in particular involves rolling back cumbersome energy and environmental red tape.  Read more from the Wall Street Journal here.

LOCALLY, I’M STILL DOING ALL I CAN TO PUT SAN DIEGANS BACK TO WORK.  On August 26 at Cuyamaca College, I’m hosting my second community job fair of the year in partnership with the East County Career Center.  A wide-range of county-based employers will be on hand, so if you are a job seeker, know someone who is, or simply looking for a career change, this is a good opportunity to talk to prospective employers and get tips from professional career counselors.  More information is available here.

EMPLOYERS INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING IN THE AUG. JOB FAIR are encouraged to complete a registration form and return it to my El Cajon office. 

Congressman Duncan D. Hunter


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