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Upton calls on House and Senate leadership to prioritize bipartisan budget negotiations

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Washington, July 18, 2019 | Josh Paciorek (202-225-3761) | comments

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, joined a bipartisan group of colleagues to send a letter to House and Senate leadership, calling on them to prioritize bipartisan budget negotiations. In the letter, Upton and his colleagues urged Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to take swift action in resolving the issues of funding for government operations, the impending debt ceiling, and addressing the budgetary spending caps.

The letter was signed by Upton and more than 30 other House members from both sides of the aisle, including Reps. Katko, Murphy, Bishop (GA), Fortenberry, Case, Fitzpatrick, Cooper, Cole, Crist, Brooks (IN), Cuellar, Walden, Horn, Collins (NY), McAdams, Diaz Balart, Thompson (CA), Balderson, Van Drew, Stauber, Delgado, Stefanik, Lipinski, Joyce (OH), Schrader, Hurd, Brindisi, Gottheimer, O'Halleran, Gonzalez (TX), Schneider, and Spanberger.

“Given the sweeping implications of these budgetary considerations, every effort must be made to avoid an outcome in which political brinksmanship threatens the wellbeing of the American people,” wrote the members. “For this reason, we are urging House and Senate leadership to prioritize bipartisan budget negotiations and work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to reach an agreement that prioritizes the financial security of our nation and the best interests of our constituents.”

Under the Budget Control Act of 2011, legislative action is needed to reach a bipartisan agreement that avoids sequestration. Across the board cuts of defense and nondefense spending would increase economic uncertainty.

Congress must also act to raise the statutory debt limit which is expected to be reached by early September.

Finally, fiscal year 2020 begins on October 1, and Congress needs to act in order to avoid a government shutdown.

The full text of the letter can be found here and below.

July 17, 2019

Dear Speaker Pelosi, Leader McCarthy, Leader McConnell, and Leader Schumer,

We write to express support for bipartisan negotiations to address the significant budgetary decisions that will face our country in the coming months. Congress must take swift and deliberate steps to provide appropriate funding for government operations, while also addressing the impending debt ceiling and budgetary spending caps. Failure to act on these items would be unacceptable for our constituents and carry devastating consequences for the physical and economic security of our nation.

As you know, legislative action is needed to prevent the triggering of sequestration mechanisms authorized under the Budget Control Act of 2011. Congress has taken significant steps in recent years to reverse the devastating consequences of budget sequestration triggered in 2013, however, lawmakers must work together to continue this progress. Absent a bipartisan agreement to avoid sequestration, across the board cuts to defense and nondefense spending will disrupt the most essential functions of our government and drastically increase economic uncertainty. 

Reaching a bipartisan agreement to avoid sequestration is also critical to the appropriations process in the House and Senate. Congressional appropriators rely on budgetary agreements to inform their work and ensure the timely passage of critical funding legislation through both chambers. In the absence of a budget deal, our nation’s military and various government agencies face crippling uncertainty regarding funding for current and future operations.

In addition to reaching an agreement that avoids a government shutdown or budget sequestration, Congress will be required to act on the statutory debt limit in the coming months. With the U.S. Treasury Department already deploying extraordinary measures to make payments on the nation’s debt, legislative solutions are needed to mitigate uncertainty in financial markets and ensure on-time payments for federal beneficiaries. Our responsibility to address the debt limit cannot be understated, with the potential of a federal default threatening to permanently damage our nation’s financial security and destabilize the global economy.

Given the sweeping implications of these budgetary considerations, every effort must be made to avoid an outcome in which political brinksmanship threatens the wellbeing of the American people. For this reason, we are urging House and Senate leadership to prioritize bipartisan budget negotiations and work with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle to reach an agreement that prioritizes the financial security of our nation and the best interests of our constituents.

Thank you for your time and consideration of this request. We look forward to working together on the many pressing issues facing our nation.

Sincerely,

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