WISCONSINREPORT.COM (02/26/2009) - U.S. Representative Ron Kind (D-WI) is commending President Barack Obama for presenting a budget to Congress that represents an honest assessment of the current financial situation. Kind says it marks a return to budgeting and fiscal responsibility principles that will help get the country's fiscal house back in order.
Wisconsin's United States Senator Russ Feingold, a member of the Senate Budget Committee agrees. Feingold reminds people that Obama's budget is what Feingold calls a welcome change from the attitudes of the last eight years.
“This budget does not pull any punches," says Representative Ron Kind. "It is a true assessment of where we are: running a record deficit and a national debt of more than $10 trillion,” Rep. Kind said.
“The budget gimmicks of the last eight years that have masked our true financial situation are a thing of the past – this Administration has fully accounted for the two wars we are fighting, natural disasters, and fixes to the tax structure we make every year. I agree with President Obama that it is time to be direct with the American people so we can develop honest solutions to the critical challenges we face.”
Rep. Kind also commended the Administration for keeping its pledge to reduce wasteful agriculture subsidies.
The budget phases down direct payments over three years by reducing the income cap of $750,000 ($1.5 million for couples) down to $500,000. It also reduces crop insurance subsidies and eliminates payments to cotton producers for storing USDA-purchased cotton (a subsidy given to no other commodity).
“I am encouraged that President Obama has held true to his pledge to root out waste in agriculture programs,” Rep. Kind said. “These commonsense reforms will reduce taxpayer subsidies to large agribusinesses and wealthy individuals while still maintaining a vital safety net for farmers during these tough economic times.”
Senate Budget Committee member, Senator Russ Feingold, has these words in response to Obama's budget.
“President Obama’s budget is a refreshing change from what we’ve seen over the past eight years," Feingold said.
"I applaud his efforts to end the off-the-books budgeting done by the previous administration, and instead institute honest budgeting by including costs we know will occur, such as the billions we will spending in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the billions more we spend every year to prevent the Alternative Minimum Tax from expanding to middle income taxpayers", Feingold continued.
“I also am encouraged by the president’s efforts to cut the annual budget deficit in half by the end of his first term. But we need to go further by putting the budget on track to being completely balanced, something this budget doesn’t do," Senator Feingold said.
"We can take an important step in that direction by ending the wasteful spending done through so-called earmarks. Eliminating that unjustified spending is appropriate at any time, but it is especially important during this severe economic downturn," Senator Feingold went on.
"Congress should take this opportunity to consider other weapons against out-of-control spending, like the line-item veto. I am working with Senator John McCain and Representative Paul Ryan to introduce a line-item veto bill, which I was happy to hear the president may welcome," Feingold said.
“When President Obama took office, he was handed an economy in severe recession, a credit market in meltdown, and the biggest budget mess in our nation’s history," Feingold reminded. "The budget he released today attempts to address those critical problems while also signaling a break from the shell-game budgets we became accustomed to over the last eight years.”