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The Braley Brief: Working Together on Deficit Reduction

February 14, 2014
Bruce Braley - IA-01 , Dysart Reporter

Since 2011, I've held a series of deficit reduction events and last month I hosted two more. I was able to get some advice from my fellow Iowans about how we can responsibly cut our deficit.

These events allow Iowans to participate in interactive workshops where it's up to them to allocate resources across the federal government and choose areas where they believe cuts should and shouldn't occur.

This year, many participants endorsed the idea of eliminating tax subsidies for the oil and gas industries, and some suggested areas where we could save money on defense spending. I agree with those ideas. It's simply not necessary to give huge tax breaks to the most profitable businesses in history, particularly while we're cutting investments in areas like education and medical research.

I also agree that with our involvement in Afghanistan winding down, it's a good time to look for savings at the Pentagon-particularly on expensive and unproven weapons systems that are years behind and billions over budget.

There are areas where participants from the most recent workshops thought cuts would be irresponsible. They told me that they did not support any of the existing proposals to cut social security-and they also strongly opposed cuts to education and military pay. Medicare was another area in which participants had strong feelings: they were uniformly opposed to any plan that would transform the Medicare program into a voucher system.

Hearing such responsible and thoughtful ideas from my fellow Iowans makes me proud to represent our state, and it's helpful to hear where Iowans agree on many of these priorities. Specifically, I'm strongly committed to protecting Medicare and Social Security from irresponsible plans that would break the promise we've made to America's greatest generation.

We can protect these critical programs while finding ways to cut the deficit. I know this because we've done it just this year. Last month, Congress came together and found common ground on an appropriations bill that cut tens of billions of dollars. And just last week, the House passed a much-needed Farm Bill that will cut $16 billion.

I promise to continue working with anyone that's committed to cutting our deficit so that future generations aren't bearing too great a burden.



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