Dear Mr. Matthews:
Thank you for taking the time to contact me with your thoughts and concerns about the national debt. I appreciate hearing from you about this issue.
I understand you are concerned about the health of the American economy and our national debt. I share these concerns. Despite a balanced budget as recently as 2001, the budget deficit for the 2012 fiscal year was $1.1 trillion. Two wars, unpaid-for tax cuts for the rich and other policies have put us on a path that is unsustainable. In addition, the economic recession has triggered increased federal spending on social safety net programs such as unemployment insurance and food stamps, as well as decreased revenues as millions of Americans have been thrown out of work.
Economists agree the most significant factor in any Nation’s budget outlook is the strength of its economy. Unfortunately, nearly 13.1 million people in the United States are unemployed, including 530,000 in Pennsylvania. Therefore, we must continue efforts to boost job creation while simultaneously exercising greater fiscal responsibility. It is critical that the 112th Congress works in a bipartisan fashion to reduce the deficit in a manner that does not hamper the economic recovery or place unfair burdens on hard-working Pennsylvania families.
As required by the Budget Control Act of 2011 enacted in August, leaders in both chambers appointed twelve members of Congress to the bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. This committee was responsible for identifying $1.5 trillion in spending cuts by November 23, 2011, and failed to do so. Since they failed to reach an agreement, automatic across-the-board spending cuts of at least $1.2 trillion will go into effect beginning in January 2013. Generally, the spending reductions will be made equally from defense spending and from all other spending.
Cutting spending and reducing the deficit is vital to our long-term economic security. It is also what families across Pennsylvania and across the country are doing in these hard fiscal times: making tough choices about what is important. I have supported a trillion dollars in spending cuts, and I am disappointed that the members of the supercommittee could not come together to reach agreement to further cut spending and reduce the deficit.
We need to move forward immediately to create jobs and grow the economy. There was a welcome example of bipartisanship when a bill that I cosponsored to provide tax incentives for companies to hire unemployed veterans was signed into law in last November. The Senate also passed another bipartisan measure which I championed, that would crack down on China’s currency manipulation. Bills like these are the kind of commonsense measures that we need to protect Pennsylvania’s workers, create jobs and get the economy back on track. Congress should continue pass other job creation measures, like the effort I have been leading to pass legislation to provide tax incentives to companies to hire workers.
Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.
For more information on this or other issues, I encourage you to visit my website, http://casey.senate.gov. I hope you will find this online office a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on the issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.
United States Senator