Washington, D.C.—Kentucky Congressman John Yarmuth, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, gave the following opening statement at today’s Members’ Day hearing. Remarks as prepared are below:
This hearing will come to order. Good morning and welcome to the Budget Committee’s Members’ Day hearing. Members’ Day is a longstanding tradition in the Budget Committee. Crafting the budget resolution is not an easy task, so I look forward to this annual hearing because it gives us the opportunity to hear the budget priorities of our colleagues.
Good governing and responsible budgeting requires smart, often difficult, choices. This process begins with by evaluating the tradeoffs our choices require. How much should we invest in our national and economic security? How much funding is needed to ensure our citizens do not go hungry or homeless? How much is needed to provide a safe and secure retirement? How do we pay for the services and programs the American people want and need?
Perhaps the biggest issue facing us this year is the remaining years of austerity level caps required by the Budget Control Act of 2011. We face $126 billion in cuts to defense and non-defense discretionary next year alone. This is not sustainable or responsible. We need to raise the caps, for both defense and non-defense spending, to ensure that every American family has the chance to build a better future. We have come together in a bipartisan manner in the past to provide necessary funding, and we can do it again. If we don’t, investments that are vital to our economic and national security will face devastating cuts.
In order to build a budget to serve our nation, our committee will get as much input as possible. We listen to our constituents; review the President’s budget request; review views and estimates from authorizing committees; and hear from outside experts and advocates. At the end of this process, our goal is to construct a budget that sets priorities while remaining fiscally responsible. This hearing is a vital piece of the process.
I am pleased to serve with Mr. Womack, the distinguished ranking member from Arkansas. And I look forward to working with him as we move forward.
I would also like to thank members for taking time out of their busy schedules and appearing before the committee today. With that, I would like to yield to my friend and ranking member of this committee, Mr. Womack, for his opening remarks.
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