Sen. Scott Brown calls Republican spending cuts ‘irresponsible’

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In a letter released Thursday, Sen. Scott Brown called Republican efforts to cut government spending “irresponsible” and urged party leaders to get over their ideology and find an agreement on a final resolution to the government through the fiscal year.

The Massachusetts Republican sent the letter to Senate leaders of both parties urging them to end their squabble over the budget, drop the ideological games and come to an agreement, adding that he was “disappointed” in their behavior so far.

Brown started by scolding the leaders, who are currently in negotiations for a long-term budget deal.

“[R]ather than reaching a workable, bi-partisan solution to responsibly address our staggering deficit, we are repeatedly given a false choice between CR proposals that either don’t go far enough to reduce federal spending and proposals that set the wrong priorities that would disproportionately affect low-income families and seniors, while doing little to address critical, long-term issues,” Brown wrote.

Echoing Democratic rhetoric on spending, Brown warned that the Republican-proposed $61 billion budget reduction would occur at the expense of the poor and hurt the economy.

“Reducing and eliminating needless spending and programs are appropriate, but a wholesale reduction in spending, without considering economic, cultural, and social impacts is simply irresponsible. We must also be mindful that many of the proposed spending reductions would disproportionately affect the neediest among us, including housing and heating assistance,” Brown said. “Likewise, some of the proposed cuts would be economically counterproductive, negatively impacting our ability to innovate and invest in research and development.”

As for calls to reduce the federal government’s $1.4 trillion deficit, Brown said there were more important priorities at hand.

“Deficit reduction is a necessary goal for our country,” Brown said in the letter. “But deficit reduction should not be achieved in isolation of our priorities as a government and a society.”

During his 14 months as senator, Brown has yet to vote on an official budget for the federal government. Congressional leaders have chosen instead to fund the government through short-term measures that last only a couple of months or weeks at a time.

With the latest burst of funding set to expire next week, House and Senate leaders say they are “close” to a long-term deal.

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Click to the next page to read the full letter.

Dear Senators Reid, McConnell, Conrad, Sessions, Inouye and Cochran:

Since the beginning of the 112th Congress, the House and Senate have been seeking common ground to finish the appropriations work for FY 2011.  Sadly, rather than reaching a workable, bi-partisan solution to responsibly address our staggering deficit, we are repeatedly given a false choice between CR proposals that either don’t go far enough to reduce federal spending and proposals that set the wrong priorities that would disproportionately affect low-income families and seniors, while doing little to address critical, long-term issues.

I am disappointed that despite passing six different FY 2011 Continuing Resolutions, each with the understanding that passage would move bi-partisan negotiations further along, that we are once again faced with the likelihood of a government shutdown.  A government shutdown absolutely serves no purpose and is in no one’s best interests.  I stand ready to work with each of you, to do what it takes—and to put politics aside—and work on behalf of a greater good to ensure that Congress reach a bi-partisan compromise for FY 2011 and avoid a government shutdown.

Our collective work begins by having a clear understanding of the seriousness of our budget crisis and what is at stake if we fail to address it.  We can all agree that we simply cannot continue on this reckless, unsustainable course.  Reducing and eliminating needless spending and programs are appropriate, but a wholesale reduction in spending, without considering economic, cultural, and social impacts is simply irresponsible. We must also be mindful that many of the proposed spending reductions would disproportionately affect the neediest among us, including housing and heating assistance.  Likewise, some of the proposed cuts would be economically counterproductive, negatively impacting our ability to innovate and invest in research and development.

Deficit reduction is a necessary goal for our country.  But deficit reduction should not be achieved in isolation of our priorities as a government and a society.  I believe that responsible and meaningful bi-partisan support must be found and forged if we are to achieve long-term fiscal stability.  I intend to be a part of the discussions and the solutions for how to move our country forward, without eliminating programs that are successful, cost-effective, or critical to the livelihood of the neediest among us.

Thank you for your consideration.

Very respectfully,

Scott P. Brown

United States Senator

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