Democrats’ budget agenda includes immigration reform & farm bill
Moving on from the government shutdown and debt ceiling fiasco, Democrats are pushing House Republicans to take up the Senate-approved immigration reform and farm bill in addition to passing a “balanced” and “responsible” budget by the end of the year.
“A lot more to do,” said Senate Majority Harry Reid. “Let’s move on. What is the big issue out there? People complain about the deficit? How about let’s do immigration – $1 trillion? Something that’s fair and reasonable that this country’s needed for a long time.”
Democrats stressed the immigration reform can help the nation reduce its deficits, citing economists who estimated that granting legal status to undocumented immigrants – who would be required to pay a fine and back taxes – would help the U.S. grow by 5% over the next 20 years, amounting to about $1.4 trillion in economic growth.
“The majority of Americans think this is the right thing to do. And it’s sitting there, waiting for the House to pass it,” said President Barack Obama.
Obama and Reid both expressed a willingness to negotiate the immigration bill with House Republicans – as long as “they’ll come to the table in good faith with the desire to compromise”.
“If the House has ideas on how to improve the Senate bill, let’s hear them. Let’s start the negotiations. But let’s not leave this problem to keep festering for another year or two years or three years,” said Obama. “This can and should get done by the end of this year.”
Obama also urged the House to pass the Senate’s farm bill, underscoring the importance of keeping food stamps to protect “vulnerable children, adults in times of need” as well as provisions that fund rural development for the long-term. (House Republicans passed a farm bill in July that imposed steep cuts to food stamps.)
“Again, the Senate’s already passed a solid bipartisan bill. It’s gotten support from Democrats and Republicans. It’s sitting in the House, waiting for passage. If House Republicans have ideas that they think would improve the farm bill, let’s see them. Let’s negotiate. What are we waiting for? Let’s get this done,” said Obama.
As for the federal budget, Obama said Congress should find a way to balance the need for long-term deficit reduction and policies that promote economic growth.
“We shouldn’t approach this process of creating a budget as an ideological exercise – just cutting for the sake of cutting. The issue’s not growth versus fiscal responsibility; we need both,” said Obama. “We need a budget that deals with the issues that most Americans are focused on – creating more good jobs that pay better wages.”
Obama said he is willing to consider reforms to Medicare and Social Security to reduce the nation’s long-term debts. But he also pointed to the need for corporate tax reforms, especially the closing of special interest tax loopholes, to generate tax revenues that fund education and infrastructure investments that help grow the economy.
“The key now is a budget that cuts out the things that we don’t need, close these corporate tax loopholes that don’t help us create jobs and freeze up resources for the things that do help us grow, like education and infrastructure and research,” said Obama. “So passing a budget, immigration reform, farm bill. Those are three specific things that would make a huge difference in our economy right now, and we can get them done by the end of the year. If our focus is on what’s good for the American people.”
- WhatTheFolly.com: Spotlight: Debt Limit 2013
- WhatTheFolly.com: Federal Budget 2013-14
- Senate.gov: Summary of H.R. 2775 Continuing Resolution – Oct. 16, 2013 (PDF)
- Senate.gov: Text of H.R. 2775 Continuing Resolution – Oct. 16, 2013 (PDF)
- WhatTheFolly.com: Default narrowly averted as Congress votes to raise debt ceiling & re-open government
- WhatTheFolly.com: List of 144 House Republicans who voted against raising the debt ceiling & ending the government shutdown – Oct. 16, 2013
- WhatTheFolly.com: List of 18 Republican Senators who voted against re-opening the government & averting default – Oct. 16, 2013
- WhatTheFolly.com: World Bank & IMF Chiefs warn of “disastrous” economic consequences if U.S. fails to raise debt ceiling
- WhatTheFolly.com: Collins proposes plan to temporarily raise debt ceiling, re-open government
- WhatTheFolly.com: Senate Republicans block “clean” bill to raise the debt ceiling
- WhatTheFolly.com: List of 44 Senate Republicans who rejected the clean debt ceiling bill on Oct. 12, 2013
- WhatTheFolly.com: Debt Ceiling: Short-term Treasury yields nearly triples due to debt limit brinksmanship
- WhatTheFolly.com: Debt Ceiling: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says government default will hurt seniors the most
- WhatTheFolly.com: Debt Ceiling: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew says prioritization of payments may not be possible & won’t avert default
- WhatTheFolly.com: Boehner doubles down on government shutdown & debt ceiling
- WhatTheFolly.com: Conservative expert downplays need for debt limit increase, claims U.S. won’t “default” as long as debt interests are paid
- WhatTheFolly.com: Moody’s chief economist says Congress must raise debt ceiling in time to avoid “devastating” recession
- WhatTheFolly.com: Treasury Secretary Jack Lew warns U.S. will default on bills on Oct. 17th unless Congress raises debt ceiling
- WhatTheFolly.com: Bernanke warns Feds can’t do much more to help the U.S. economy if fiscal showdown results in government shutdown or debt default
- WhatTheFolly.com: Federal Reserve to continue asset purchase program & keep interest rates near 0%
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: President Barack Obama’s remarks on the re-opening of the federal government – Oct. 17, 2013
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: President Barack Obama’s remarks on the Senate-approved bill to avert default & re-open government – Oct. 16, 2013
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Sen. Ted Cruz’s floor speech on the bipartisan deal to avert default & re-open the government – Oct. 16, 2013
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s floor speech on the bipartisan deal to avert default & re-open the government – Oct. 16, 2013
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Sen. Mitch McConnell’s floor speech on the bipartisan deal to avert default & re-open the government – Oct. 16, 2013
- WhatTheFolly.com: Transcript: Sen. Ted Cruz’s press briefing remarks on the bipartisan deal to avert default & re-open the government – Oct. 16, 2013
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