11/27/18 Response of Senator Christopher Coons: Thank you for contacting me in support of fiscal responsibility and reducing our federal deficit. I appreciate having the benefit of your thoughts on these issues.
I understand your concerns about responsibly spending federal dollars, and recognize that the current paths of our budget deficit and national debt are unsustainable. According to the Department of the Treasury, the Fiscal Year 2018 federal budget deficit totaled $779 billion, which is $113 billion more than the 2017 deficit. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that under current law, the deficit will increase to $1 trillion in 2020. The CBO also projects that the federal debt held by the public, which is currently $16 trillion, will rise to $29 trillion by 2028, reaching a historically high level.
I am committed to working to promote the balanced approach necessary to stabilize our nation’s debt. During my six years as County Executive of New Castle County, I worked very hard with the County Council, county workforce, and the public to make extremely difficult choices to achieve balanced budgets and maintain fiscal responsibility in Delaware. Since coming to the Senate, I’ve worked hard to convince my colleagues that similar sacrifices must be made in Washington, and that bipartisan compromise is the only way forward.
Members of both political parties agree that excessive debt hurts our competitiveness and causes interest rates to rise over the long term. Higher interest rates threaten critical investments in our country’s future, in areas like education, infrastructure, research and development, and defense. To put the deficit on a sustainable path, we must evaluate ways to limit the growth of spending and ways to bring in more revenue. Both parties have to be willing to make sacrifices and be open to a serious debate.
As an example of my advocacy for fiscal responsibility, I worked hard across the aisle during the tax reform debate to propose an alternative approach that would have cut middle-class taxes—the sort of thing President Trump ran on—without costing the government an estimated $1.9 trillion over the next ten years, as the Tax Cuts and Job Acts will. One of the reasons I voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs [Act] was because the bill did not include a method of paying for the massive reduction in revenue.
It is essential for members of both parties to come together and support balanced, responsible deficit reduction to get our nation’s finances back into balance. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and the Ranking Member of the Senate Financial Services and General Government (FSGG) Subcommittee, I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support a budget that is responsible, fair, and forward-looking. I have long viewed budgets as not just a collection of numbers and programs, but also a statement about our basic values. We simply cannot balance the budget on the backs of our children, our senior citizens, or the lowest-income Americans.
Again, thank you for contacting me. I am honored to represent Delaware in the United States Senate and value hearing from Delawareans on issues of concern. My website, www.coons.senate.gov, can provide additional details about my work in the Senate, including legislation and state projects. I hope you will continue to keep me informed of the issues that matter to you.