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Rigell Introduces Legislative
Solution to Sequestration
"America First" restores 75% of sequester cuts, makes meaningful reforms to mandatory spending, reduces long-term debt, protects Social Security for future generations of Americans
Washington, D.C. – Today Congressman Scott Rigell (VA-02) introduced the America First Act, a principled compromise that would reverse much of the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, restore our nation’s defense budget, and set America on a better fiscal path. The comprehensive budget plan would replace the harmful sequestration cuts with meaningful reforms to control the growth of mandatory spending and generate additional revenue. Rigell’s legislation provides certainty for discretionary spending levels, which would end Washington’s pattern of “governing by crisis.” Further, the America First Act will improve the solvency of Social Security and Medicare for future generations of Americans.
“Our national security, our men and women in uniform, and our local economy remain at tremendous risk because of sequestration,” said Congressman Rigell, noting that sequestration is a law that was established under the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), and only a new law, passed by the House and Senate and signed by the President, can unwind it. “The America First Act reflects principled compromise, which is desperately needed in Washington,” added Rigell.
In 2012, Congress and the President failed to reach an agreement that would address our debt and avert the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, which were included in the BCA. As a result, the Department of Defense budget was reduced by approximately $50 billion a year through 2021, with similar reductions in domestic spending. Rigell’s bill restores 75 percent of those spending cuts to defense and nondefense budgets, while fully offsetting the increases by advancing meaningful reforms to mandatory spending and revenue enhancements. The savings and revenue, totaling $765 billion over ten years, would reduce deficits and long-term debt, while significantly alleviating the effects of sequestration.
“Mandatory spending is the primary driver of our debt, and ignoring this fact is reckless. Now is the time for responsible solutions to be advanced. Compromise is possible,” Rigell continued. “I’m convinced that the America First Act represents a principled compromise in Washington. Reversing sequestration has strong bipartisan support. Further, both Republicans and Democrats have indicated willingness in the past to accept the spending reforms and revenue incorporated in my bill.”
Rigell’s bill contains many provisions that were recommended by the Simpson-Bowles Commission and other bipartisan plans. It adopts ‘chained CPI,’ a method favored by budget experts across the political spectrum to index spending and taxes. This is considered by many to be a more accurate measure of inflation to correctly ensure the budget keeps up with the rise in prices over time. Further, this change, which was articulated in the Simpson-Bowles Plan and supported by both President Obama and Republicans in Congress, would save an estimated $150 billion in spending over 10 years.
The America First Act reforms Medicare cost sharing rules to achieve savings and eliminates the medical device tax imposed by the Affordable Care Act, which hurts job creation. Rigell’s bill also incorporates reforms of the health care delivery system and medical malpractice reforms supported by both parties. Additionally, Rigell’s bill includes $200 billion in new revenue over the next ten years. The proposal caps tax deductions for the nation’s highest earners.
Further, the America First Act ensures Social Security and Medicare remain solvent for generations to come. By adopting chained CPI, Social Security savings are achieved and solely dedicated to reducing the shortfall facing the program by 15 percent and are not used to offset new spending. Through numerous bipartisan cost-saving reforms, the bill slows the unsustainable growth in costs of Medicare by addressing cost-sharing and reducing excess payments to health care providers.
“Now is the time for Republicans and Democrats to put America first – to honor the sacrifice made by our veterans past and present – and to do what is best for the next generation of Americans, our children, and grandchildren.”
See the details of Rigell’s America First Act here.