Sen. Carper: Congress Must Pay for Cost Hikes and Tax Cuts

Pay-As-You-Go Provision Included In Senate-Passed Budget Resolution

A new federal budget plan that puts the country back on a sound fiscal path today won the strong support of Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.).

Sen. Carper joined the Senate majority late Friday to approve a fiscally responsible budget resolution that also funds critical national priorities, including national defense, education and children’s healthcare.

"This budget resolution not only charts the course to a balanced budget, but also includes enforcement mechanisms I’ve long supported to keep Congress’s feet to the fire when it comes to paying for its big spending increases or big tax cuts," Sen. Carper said.

For years, Sen. Carper has advocated this return to a strong, pay-as-you-go rule that requires any increase in spending or cut in taxes be fully offset with counter-balancing cuts in spending or increases in revenue. As such, this resolution achieves a balanced budget by the year 2012.

"When I was governor of Delaware, we balanced our state budget every year, and Congress should be guided by the same principle: If something is worth doing, it is worth paying for."

The non-binding budget resolution fully funds the core defense budget and war funding to support the troops, improving the care of soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. It provides for funding to raise student achievement and expanded children’s healthcare, and it paves the way for middle-class tax cuts, marriage penalty relief, and an extension of the child tax credit.

In his own Senate floor statement on the budget this week, Sen. Carper emphasized the resolution calls for $1.7 billion in funding next year for passenger rail, including the Northeast Corridor, which remains critical for economic growth, and to reduce traffic congestion, improve air quality and decrease dependence on foreign oil.

Late today, the Senate passed bipartisan amendments Sen. Carper sponsored that commit Congress to crack down on wasteful improper payments, and to use those savings to reduce the escalating federal budget deficit.

Sen. Carper stressed that federal agencies waste tens of billions of dollars every year on avoidable payment errors, but can reduce these improper payments by hiring outside auditors specifically tasked to identify payment errors.

"The amendments I offered with Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) today pave the way for legislation requiring more widespread use of recovery audits, with savings devoted to deficit reduction," Sen. Carper said. "As chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, I am committed to stopping the careless squandering of taxpayer resources, with a goal of saving taxpayers $20 billion over five years."

In addition, this budget resolution would accommodate significant estate tax reform similar to legislation Sen. Carper introduced in the last Congress. Sen. Carper’s legislation would freeze the estate tax at its projected 2009 level, with estates valued at $3.5 million per individual or $7 million per couple taxed at the 45 percent rate, and adjusted upward with inflation.