April 24, 2014

Compromise budget deal takes baby steps

Before Congress votes on the bipartisan budget agreement, U.S. Representative Ron Kind (D-La Crosse) says there’s a lot of information to digest.

“If this is the best that Congress can do — provide two years of relative stability and certainty, as far as budget measures coming out of Washington and avoiding another government shutdown — this may be what the private sector needs in order to start making some decisions, the investments, the job hiring, getting this economy up and going again.”

But, Kind says, the government is doing everything backward — economically speaking. Nothing is being done, he says, about long term reforms for cost savings. And, he adds, cuts are being made where there should be investments. “Investments in education opportunities, broadband expansion, infrastructure development, basic research funding — those things that keep us competitive on a global scale — and they’re not being done right now.”

This deal does not extend unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed. Kind says discontinuing checks to jobless workers is not acceptable. “It will have a bad economic consequence,” he says. Kind is concerned it will adversely impact nearly 100,000 Wisconsinites if Congress doesn’t act by the end of the year.

AUDIO: Kind wants to continue the conversation about benefits, he says, to be decent and humane to jobless folks while keeping tough job search requirements.

Kind emphasizes that anyone serious about deficit reduction and getting the fiscal house in order, must be serious about health care reform — delivering it and paying for it. He acknowledges, though, these “baby steps” are taking the nation in the right direction.