It is time to show leadership in Washington. Let's stop wasting time scapegoating and petty partisan fingerpointing. ICYM: My editorial in the Press Enterprise on Sunday.
I'm hosting a telephone townhall tonight at 6pm pst with communities including Highland, Redlands, Loma Linda, San Bernardino and Yucaipa. I'll be holding a telephone townhall with the desert and mountains in a few days. Please join us live on the webcast if you don't get the call: http://jerrylewis.house.gov
The President will be hosting a twitter townhall today. Make sure and get your questions in using the hashtag #AskObama I'll be asking about getting the budget under control and creating jobs. #4jobs
For immediate release
April 13, 2011
Lewis Disappointed by President’s Proposal to Cut Defense, Ignore Mandatory Spending, Raise Taxes
WASHINGTON – Congressman Jerry Lewis Wednesday expressed disappointment over the latest budget proposal from President Obama because it would raise taxes on small business, cut back on defense spending and do little to rein in the largest federal spending problem – mandatory entitlement programs.
“It is good to see the President engaged on trying to reduce our record $1.6 trillion deficit, especially since his original 2012 budget continued trillion-dollar deficits for years, and especially since he has fought at every turn against even modest reductions championed by the House this year,” Lewis said. “But his plan has almost nothing new – it raises taxes, attacks our support for the nation’s military, and does virtually nothing to reform entitlement spending. There is no question that this is a purely political budget plan.”
Lewis noted that the tax increases proposed by the president’s plan would hit small business hard, since nearly 75 percent of small business owners file their taxes as individuals. Congress agreed with the majority of Americans and rejected the idea of tax increases last year when the Administration opposed extensions of tax breaks.
“With unemployment still over 10 percent in California, we cannot afford to raise taxes on small businesses, which are the main engine of our economy,” Lewis said. “Republicans in Congress are ready to work with the administration on true tax reform, but simply raising taxes is not the answer.”
The president’s budget proposal would seek to find savings for Medicare by increasing the power of the bureaucrats in the Independent Payment Advisory Board, which will almost certainly lead to health care rationing and put a barrier between patients and their doctors, Lewis said. Rather than seriously consider the House Budget Committee’s innovative proposal to let Americans save health care costs through personalized choice and competition, the administration continues the drive toward government-run health care, he said.
Lewis said there is no question that Congress must encourage more efficient Pentagon spending and ensure that defense programs are effective and meet the needs of our men and women in uniform. But he warned the administration that it is a mistake to target defense spending to carry the main burden of reducing federal spending.
“You cannot eliminate the deficit by scrimping on support for our nation’s military – we have learned that lesson too many times before,” Lewis said. “You cannot issue a call to reduce the deficit, then spend all of your time opposing every possible spending cut proposed by Congress.”
For immediate release
April 8, 2011
Lewis Praises Spending Compromise, Calls for Quick Action to Keep Government Open and Reduce the Deficit...
WASHINGTON – Congressman Jerry Lewis praised the compromise worked out Friday between House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Harry Reid, and said he will join fellow members in quick passage of the plan that will reduce spending by nearly $40 billion below last year’s levels while funding the government to the end of the fiscal year on September 30.
“We listened to the American people and worked hard to rein in the runaway spending that was leading to a dangerously high $1.6 trillion federal deficit,” Lewis said. “This plan will keep the government operating and provide some of the deepest spending reductions in history – a down-payment on our pledge to keep the nation from drowning in red ink.”
Lewis renewed a call he made earlier this week for his colleagues to quickly pass the agreement in order to avoid a shutdown of the federal government and to ensure the largest possible spending reductions. He joined other members who had been here during the 1995 and 1996 federal shutdowns in sending a “Dear Colleague” letter urging the House to support a compromise.
“We hate the idea of a shutdown – we really don’t want to go through that again,” Lewis and the other members wrote. “But even more, we hate the idea of leaving trillions and trillions of dollars in debt to our children and grandchildren. We cannot continue a course that will allow government to eat away our economy.”
Lewis said he understood the frustration many Americans felt over the delays in reaching the compromise, but he noted that the former Democratic majority in the House and Senate had not passed any of the 12 annual spending bills that should have been completed by the beginning of fiscal year last October 1. With the new majority in place, the House passed a yearlong spending bill by February 19, but the Senate has still not passed a single yearlong bill, he said.
Although the Senate publicly offered only partisan rhetoric, Lewis said staff members have been working behind the scenes to reach a conclusion that would avoid a federal shutdown.
“The Appropriations Committee staff has worked night and day for weeks to ensure that we could keep the government operating even as we try to reduce our terrible $1.5 trillion deficit,” said Lewis, who is Chairman Emeritus of the House Appropriations Committee. “I’m sure the hundreds of thousands of federal workers who can now be assured of coming to work on Monday will join me in thanking Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Reid for hammering out this compromise.”
For immediate release
April 7, 2011
Lewis Urges Colleagues to Find a Way to Keep Government Open, Reduce $1 trillion-plus Deficit...
WASHINGTON – Congressman Jerry Lewis Wednesday urged House colleagues to work toward reducing federal spending by the largest possible amount this year while approving a Fiscal Year 2011 budget that allows the federal government to continue operating.
Lewis, the Chairman Emeritus of the House Appropriations Committee, said every effort should be made to avoid a federal government shutdown. But he also warned that Americans will hold Congress accountable to cut back on spending levels that have caused $1.6 trillion dollar annual deficits.
He joined several other members who were in the House during the 1995 and 1996 federal government shutdowns in a “Dear Colleague” letter to all other House members. The group pledged support for the efforts of Speaker John Boehner to seek the largest possible spending reductions while still keeping the government open and operating.
In addition to Lewis, the Dear Colleague was signed by Congressman Bill Young of Florida, Congressman Don Young of Alaska, Congressman Dan Burton of Indiana, Congressman John Duncan of Tennessee, and fellow California members Elton Gallegly, Wally Herger, Dana Rohrabacher, Howard “Buck” McKeon and Ken Calvert.
“We hate the idea of a shutdown – we really don’t want to go through that again,” the group wrote to their colleagues. “But even more, we hate the idea of leaving trillions and trillions of dollars in debt to our children and grandchildren. We cannot continue a course that will allow government to eat away our economy.”
Lewis said he has been extremely frustrated by the actions of the Senate and Majority Leader Reid during the negotiations over current year spending. Although the new fiscal year began on October 1, the Senate has not approved a single year-long appropriations bill to fund the government, Lewis said.
“The House voted out a spending bill in February that would begin to gain control over the spending that has led to these terrible deficits, but the Senate has not approved a single piece of legislation to provide full funding of the government,” Lewis said. “All we hear from the Senate majority is partisan political rhetoric.”
Lewis noted that Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, the third-ranking member of the Senate leadership, was inadvertently overheard by reporters on a conference call urging Democratic senators to label as “extreme” all House efforts to reduce spending.
“We say to Sen. Reid and Sen. Schumer: Cutting spending is not a ‘Tea Party’ thing. It is not a ‘hard-core conservative freshman’ thing,” Lewis and the other members wrote. “It is the kind of responsible action that all Americans elected us to do in Congress.”
I have faith that the administration will find a way to reduce spending without leading to the deaths of children
The 1% of our federal budget we spend on foreign aid is essential for our national security, however, we must make tough decisions to avoid adding to our national debt