Honorable Steve Kagen, M.D.

Wisconsin's former 8th District Representative

January 4, 2007 to December 22, 2010

Historical Congressional Website

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Kagen is Committed to Fiscal Responsibility

July 22, 2009

Contact:  Jake Rubin
(202) 225-5665


(WASHINGTON, DC)  Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D. today voted to enforce fiscal responsibility.  Kagen supported the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act which requires Congress to write into each piece of legislation how they will pay for it.

“The federal government must live within its means just as we do around our kitchen tables in Wisconsin,” said Kagen.  “This legislation is a necessary step to prevent our deficit from getting deeper.”

This bill requires Congress to offset the costs of tax cuts or increases in entitlement spending with savings elsewhere in the budget.  The PAYGO bill that passed the House today is similar to the statutory PAYGO law that was in place in the 1990’s, which helped turn massive deficits into record surpluses.  Congress allowed these rules to expire in 2002, which contributed to the dramatic turnaround from a projected surplus of $5.6 trillion to projected deficits of more than $11 trillion.  

“This is a necessary investment in our future.  We will not be able invest in the changes we need like health care, education, and energy unless we reduce the deficit.  As we take action to put our nation on the road to economic recovery, we are practicing fiscal responsibility to build a better future for all of us.”

The statutory PAYGO bill requires Congress to pay for the costs of tax cuts or increases in entitlement spending with savings elsewhere in the budget. Exceptions can be made if a situation is deemed an emergency, so that Congress is always able to respond quickly if necessary. There are consequences for not paying for legislation, which will ensure that this new law is adhered to: If the net effect of all legislation enacted during a session of Congress increased the deficit, there would be an across-the-board reduction in certain mandatory programs, known as a sequester.  Programs that assist low-income Americans would be protected, as would Social Security, and the effect on Medicare would be limited.

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