Quick Links

The economy’s uncertainty continues to be a drag on job creation in Southern Wisconsin and the state’s unemployment rate remains at 4.3 percent.  The fiscal situation in Washington has not been helpful to our nation’s economy.  Some in Washington are calling for tax increases, but the last thing our local communities need right now is a tax increase.  It will make it tougher for hard-working families to make ends meet and stand in the way of allowing Wisconsin small businesses to maintain or create new jobs.  Rather than increase taxes, Washington needs to stop spending money it doesn’t have, and both side of the aisle need to work together to get spending under control and prevent tax increases.

President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2016

President Obama recently released his budget proposal for the upcoming year.  This proposal sets the funding levels for the federal government from October 1, 2015, through September 30, 2016.  A budget resolution is the only legislation that views the federal government as a whole.  As such, it serves to resolve any conflicting judgments about our national priorities.  It helps reconcile divergent views of our country's future.  Ultimately, a budget resolution is more than a list of numbers—it's an expression of our governing philosophy.

In this sense, President Obama's recent budget proposal is not only a disappointment—but also a missed opportunity.  Instead of putting forth a plan to address our nation's most pressing challenges, the President's plan is a progressive wish list that does little to address the real problems facing taxpayers – limited job opportunity, underwhelming economic growth, and an exploding national debt.  Specifically, the President's budget would do the following:

Tax Increases

  • Despite $2.1 trillion in new tax increases, President Obama's budget never balances—ever.

  • Major proposed tax increases include higher levies on savings and investment, small businesses, and increases in the costs of hiring workers.    

  • These tax hikes would stunt the economic growth needed to get Americans back to work, and come on top of $1.7 trillion in tax hikes already imposed by this Administration.  

Spending Increases

  • The President's budget increases annually-appropriated spending for next year by $74 billion relative to current law. Over 5 years, he would increase such spending by $322 billion.  

  • Next year alone, the President's budget would grow total federal spending by $259 billion, or 7 percent.

  • Total spending will increase by 65 percent in 10 years under the President's plan.

Interest Costs

  • President Obama's plan more than triples interest costs, which remain the fastest growing item in the budget.

  • Interest on the debt this year would be $229 billion, but would rise to $785 billion in 2025 under his plan.

  • At the end of President's plan, annual interest costs would be larger than his proposed spending for national defense, Medicaid or the combined total of all non-defense agency spending.  


  • Since 2009, we've added $7.5 trillion to the debt and spent $21.1 trillion.

  • The President's budget plan would add $8.5 trillion to the debt.

  • Cumulative deficits would amount to $5.7 trillion, and gross debt would climb to $26.3 trillion in 2025.

The President is required by law to submit a budget proposal every year.  Instead of using this opportunity to create a budget that actually has a chance of becoming law, the President demonstrated that he is more interested in political posturing than he is in governing.  I want to work with this administration to find areas where there is common ground, but this budget is a poor reflection our priorities.  One thing we can agree on is that our budget should reflect policies that create greater opportunities for all American citizens.  This budget fails that test.

We have an opportunity through the budget to demonstrate our priorities and lay out policies that create more opportunity for all hardworking American taxpayers.  Specifically, the budget should find ways to tackle big policy initiatives, such as tax reform and expanding American exports.  But in order to accomplish those goals, we must realize that our economy grows best from the bottom up with empowered individuals, rather than top down through government. 

As Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, I will remain focused on an optimistic agenda to move America forward, and I hope the president is willing to rethink his tax-and-spend approach so we can get things done for the American people.

A Balanced Budget For A Stronger America: Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Resolution

It has been more than six years since the financial crisis rocked our nation's economy, but the fiscal challenges still facing our nation are innumerable.  Economic growth is underwhelming, families' homes remain in foreclosure, paychecks cannot keep up with rising costs, students continue to struggle with skyrocketing tuition, and millions of hardworking taxpayers are seeing their medical costs increase as a result of President Obama's health care law.  Regrettably, the President and his party have turned to more taxes, more spending, and more regulation in an attempt to address these issues. 

As described above, the President demonstrated his inability to put forth real solutions to our nation's most pressing fiscal problems with the submission of his budget proposal to Congress.  Budget proposals help resolve conflicting judgments about our nation's priorities.  They also serve to help reconcile divergent views of our country's future.  In this sense, it is clear that the President's priorities are to tax more, spend more, and regulate more.  His budget calls for a $2.1 trillion increase in taxes, a $2.4 trillion increase in spending, and would add $8.5 trillion dollars to the debt between FY 2016 and FY 2025.  Furthermore, the President's budget does not balance – ever.

Conversely, House Republicans have introduced and passed budget resolutions for five consecutive years that would tackle the looming debt crisis and restore economic growth.  The budget that was introduced for FY 2016 by Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, "A Balanced Budget for a Stronger America," is a serious budget that addresses our needs and our overwhelming debt by achieving balance, repealing the Affordable Care Act, ensuring a strong national defense, and cutting waste while improving accountability.

In stark contrast to the President's budget, the "Balanced Budget for a Stronger America" would balance in less than 10 years.  In addition to achieving balance, it would cut $5.5 trillion in federal spending and call for a fairer, simpler tax code that would promote job creation.   It would also place the country on a path to pay off the national debt by growing the economy and making government more efficient, effective, and accountable.  Most importantly, it would accomplish all of this without raising taxes.

This budget also offers a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which has cost millions of hardworking taxpayers their insurance and spends trillions of dollars that we do not have.   It would repeal all of the ACA's taxes, regulations, and mandates, and return the balance of power to patients when it comes to making decisions regarding their healthcare.  Lastly, it would eliminate the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), a group of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats responsible for making cost-cutting decisions that will lead to restricted access to critical care for seniors on Medicare.

Importantly, this budget would ensure that our military has the funds needed to train, equip, and fairly compensate the brave men and women who serve our country, while also ensuring that the interests of the United States, both abroad and here at home, are furthered.  In a world as volatile as ours, it is imperative that our national defense has the resources it needs.  The Republican budget boosts defense spending above the President's levels while putting in place a plan to responsibly address the current spending caps and the threat of sequester.

Lastly, the "Balanced Budget for a Better America" would secure our future by strengthening Medicare.  It would accomplish this by ending the ACA's $716 billion raid on Medicare, making structural improvements to Medicare to make sure it is available for future generations, eliminating the "double dipping" of Disability Insurance and Unemployment Insurance, and preventing the President's plan to raid the regular Social Security Trust Fund.

This budget came before the House on March 26, 2015, and was passed with my support by a vote of 228 to 199.  I was encouraged that my colleagues chose to support a budget that would result in common-sense spending restraints and much-needed economic growth.  Ultimately, a budget is more than just a list of numbers:  it is an expression of our governing philosophy.  This budget offers the American people a brighter future.  It would stop spending money we do not have, create jobs, and expand economic opportunity.

Additional Information