WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, released the following statement in response to President Obama's Fiscal Year 2015 budget proposal:
“President Obama and I share many of the same priorities for our country and his budget proposal released today is evidence of those shared values. The overarching theme the president’s budget showcases is a need to balance investing in programs that accelerate economic growth with keeping a keen eye on reducing deficits through reform.
“I have long advocated for a three-pronged approach to reducing our nation’s deficit and debt by raising revenues, reforming entitlement programs in a humane way that preserves these programs for future generations and adopting policies that enable federal agencies and programs to get better results for less money. I thank President Obama for offering this blueprint which is another key step in that direction.”
“After two years of flat funding, the President’s proposal would increase investment in transportation, and I appreciate that he is willing to work with Congress to identify a funding source for transportation investments.
“I also welcome the President’s push to reduce the deficit and debt by continuing to implement health care reform that brings down costs while delivering better outcomes. The budget builds on the good work started by the Affordable Care Act, by making significant new investments to grow the health care workforce and improve the delivery of health care services, particularly primary care services. These investments are essential to help ensure the delivery of high quality health care services for Delawareans and all Americans.
“The President additionally included a number of priorities that I share as chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. I was encouraged that cyber security remains a major priority for the administration and to see some funding for the consolidation of the Department of Homeland Security’s headquarters at the St. Elizabeth’s campus, though it is far below what is needed to finish the project in a timely and cost effective manner. The administration also renewed its call for the House to pass comprehensive immigration reform and I support its ongoing commitment to securing our nation’s ports of entry and borders, as well as the president’s decision to make targeted investments in smart technologies that leverage our resources and help support personnel.
“However, I do have some concerns about the budget, including cuts to homeland security grant programs. I look forward to discussing the Department’s budget in greater detail with Secretary Johnson in our upcoming hearing. With a 2.7 percent budget cut from last year’s levels it will be very challenging for the Department of Homeland Security to accomplish its mission effectively. However, I trust the leadership of Secretary Johnson and his team to make the important decisions on how to do more with less while keeping our nation safe.
“The president’s budget also underscored the need to increase efficiencies across the federal government so that agencies not only save money but deliver better services to the American people. Our Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs is an important partner in this effort and I look forward to discussing these proposals in more detail with the Office of Management and Budget’s Deputy Director for Management Beth Cobert at our upcoming hearing.
“I also appreciate the president’s continued support for postal reform, and welcome his budget’s inclusion of a number of key principals in the bipartisan Postal Reform Act that was approved by our committee last month, including the more accurate calculation of postal retirement costs, the restructuring of the postal service’s retiree health benefit payments, and the permanent extension of the exigent rate increased authorized by the Postal Regulatory Commission in December 2013.”