Let’s be perfectly clear: we need to cut spending and get our fiscal house in order. But any approach to deficit reduction that fails to distinguish between wasteful spending we can’t afford to keep and critical investments we can’t afford to cut will undermine our economy and security.
Fortunately, there’s a better way forward. Rather than blindly slicing across the board, both parties can work together on a balanced, long-term plan that will not only avoid the sequester, but also responsibly reduce the deficit, spur job creation, and protect investments in the middle class.
The good news: Congress has already made significant progress on that kind of balanced approach. In recent years, Republicans and Democrats have worked together to reduce the deficit by over $1.5 trillion, and we can and should do more to find additional savings.
We should start by cutting wasteful subsidies to large agri-businesses and Big Oil companies making billions in profits. We should make sensible reforms that will reduce the cost of health care, let Medicare negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for lower prescription drug prices, and aggressively root out the billions of dollars in waste, fraud, and abuse that plague our healthcare system. We should close loopholes that favor special interests and needlessly complicate the tax code. These reforms — and many others — should be part of a balanced deal to reduce the deficit, grow the economy, and move us beyond the partisan bickering.
As we work toward a long-term deal, we have to remember that this isn’t a problem one party can solve without the other. The fact is, governing is a shared responsibility. A balanced, bipartisan approach to reducing the deficit isn’t just the right way forward — it’s the only way forward. Now is the time for Congress to step up and do its job.
This is a problem that’s entirely within our power to solve. There is no reason we can’t come together to pass a balanced, bipartisan deal that will avoid the sequester and put our nation on a sustainable fiscal path. That’s what the American people want, it’s what our economy needs, and it’s what our country deserves.
Congresswoman Annie Kuster, D-Hopkinton, represents New Hampshire’s 2nd Congressional District.