Honorable Steve Kagen, M.D.

Wisconsin's former 8th District Representative

January 4, 2007 to December 22, 2010

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Kagen Urges US Senate to Make Fiscal Responsibility a Priority

FOR  IMMEDIATE  RELEASE:                    

January 28, 2010




APPLETON- WI – Congressman Steve Kagen, M.D., being committed to fiscal responsibility, co-sponsored and voted for the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act in 2009, which would require Congress find a way to pay for any legislation by either raising revenues or cutting back on other federal programs.

The Senate has now agreed on similar legislation, and consequently, Dr. Kagen is urging its members to act swiftly to pass this common-sense measure.

“Congress must live within its means just as we do in our own homes in Wisconsin,” Dr. Kagen said.  “Passage of this legislation is long overdue and it is a critical step to prevent deficits from growing any larger.”

Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act requires Congress to offset the costs of tax cuts or increases in entitlement spending with savings elsewhere in the budget.  The bill that passed the House and the one currently in front of the Senate are 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. 

“I am pleased to see the Senate is moving forward with this essential investment in our future.  It is impossible for us to invest in priorities such as health care, education and energy independence unless we also reduce the deficit.  As we take bold actions to rebuild our economy, we must also remain fiscally responsible as we build a stronger, better future for us all.”

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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