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Investing for the People Act Moves our Country Forward

Apr 8, 2019

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The Investing for the People Act (H.R. 2021) is a two-year budget that allows us to invest in our nation’s economic vitality and national security and provide families with the opportunity to build a better future. By passing this bill now, Congress can ensure an orderly appropriations process, avoid a prolonged period of chaos and unrelenting threats of government shutdown, and deliver a government that works better for the American people.

Enables critical investments in America’s future — The bill raises the arbitrary and unrealistic caps on discretionary spending imposed in the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), empowering Congress to make strong investments in families, the economy, and the national defense. Absent an agreement, discretionary spending would fall by 10 percent ($125 billion) in 2020.

Rejects President Trump’s cynical and cruel budget — While President Trump proposes slashing nondefense discretionary (NDD) spending to the destructively low BCA levels – jeopardizing the nation’s standing as an economic powerhouse and world leader and disproportionately harming our most vulnerable Americans – H.R. 2021 offers a responsible alternative that protects crucial programs and promotes our economic and national security.

Corrects imbalance in NDD funding — Investments that support our country’s most vulnerable citizens, power breakthroughs in research and innovation, protect public health and ensure access to clean air and water, secure diplomatic efforts, and support our veterans and servicemembers have not fully recovered from years of insufficient funding. NDD spending currently sits near historic lows, at 3.2 percent of GDP, and if Congress does not establish new budget caps this year, it will be cut even further. The Investing for the People Act corrects this imbalance. Under our bill, the year-to-year increase for non-defense investments ($34 billion, or nearly 6 percent) will be twice as large as that for defense spending, which is adjusted only for inflation. The resulting budget levels would mean non-defense funding will finally be back to the level, in inflation-adjusted terms, before the BCA started wreaking havoc on our ability to invest in our families. 

Rejects the President’s unwarranted defense increase and OCO gimmickry — The bill soundly rejects proposals from the President and Congressional Republicans to blindly boost military spending to $750 billion— a level above what the Pentagon said was sufficient to meet the National Defense Strategy. It also rebuffs the President’s egregious misuse of the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund, by capping OCO at no higher than the 2019 levels previously agreed to.

Protects the Census and bolsters IRS tax enforcement — H.R. 2021 creates two new adjustments to the NDD caps for two crucial purposes: adequately funding the 2020 Census and reinvigorating IRS tax enforcement capabilities. Passing this bill will ensure that the 2020 Census has the necessary resources to provide an accurate count of the population, and that wealthy individuals and corporations committed to exploiting the new loopholes created by the 2017 tax law are not able to shirk on paying their fair share.

Restores order to the budget process — H.R. 2021 provides stability and predictability to federal funding, ensuring a timely appropriations process and reducing the likelihood of another costly government shutdown. 

Budget with teeth — Rather than waste time on symbolic gestures that fail to move the budget process or our country forward, H.R. 2021 directly confronts the challenge facing us today: stopping the BCA’s extreme spending cuts from taking effect. The bill provides realistic funding levels, gets us past the final two years of the BCA, and allows Congress to get back to work to address the country’s needs.

Reflects a standing bipartisan, bicameral necessity — To ward off the BCA’s dangerous and regressive spending cuts, Congress came together in 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2018 to raise the caps and ensure that our responsibilities to the American people were met. It is time for us to act once more. In the face of divided government, H.R. 2021 provides a constructive budgetary framework to strike a deal, putting real pressure on the Senate to come to the table and raise the caps without delay.

Clearly states our values — H.R. 2021 makes clear where our values lie. Raising the spending caps to protect programs and fund investments that are vital to America’s economic and national security is a reflection of our values. So is ensuring that government functions reliably and with accountability. Rather than punt on our governing responsibilities, the bill shows the American people that we value their safety, their opportunities, and their future.

Clears a path to address our long-term fiscal picture — While the bill addresses the most serious budget issue facing us today, it does not alone secure our fiscal future. Meeting this challenge will require willing and reliable partners in the Senate and White House. These partners must acknowledge our revenue shortfall (particularly in the wake of the 2017 tax law), recognize our responsibility to care for an aging population, and understand the importance of productive investments for promoting sustainable growth and improving our fiscal health.