Reps. Pappas and Tauscher
February 19, 1997
in this forum:
How should Congress deal with entitlements? How do you tell a vital project from "pork"? Is the DNC financing scandal worse than those in the past or are they just getting noticed? Are term limits the way to go? Will the recent DNC scandal change the way fundraising is done? REP. TAUSCHER: What is the government's role in developing the nation's information infrastructure? REP. PAPPAS: How did you vote on term limits, population control, and a balanced budget amendment?
Return to @the Capitol.
Scrutinize the work of several major Congressional committees in online forums with the chairs and ranking members.
Begin an ongoing dialogue with twelve new members of Congress.
Follow the first year in Congress of Freshmen Reps. Kay Granger (R-TX) and Jay Johnson (D-WI)
A question from Peter Carlyle of Scarsdale, NY:
Do you agree with economists who stress that budget balancing by 2002 is a sideshow unless the President and Congress tackle the entitlement explosion that will knock the budget balance, even assuming it occurs, out of whack almost immediately? What should our politicians be saying to the American public on these issues and what do you intend to do?
Rep. Mike Pappas responds:
Balancing the budget will put an end to the largest of our budgetary entitlements which is interest on the debt. Interest on the debt currently consumes almost 16 percent of our entire federal budget which is more than we spend on energy, the environment, crime and transportation combined. All of the money that we must spend on interest is money that is not being spent on seniors, to educate children, to preserve the environment, or to maintain the national defense.
You cannot start paying off the balance on a credit card until you pay more than the minimum balance. Likewise, if we do not get a handle on the interest on our debt, we will never be able to begin to tackle the balance.
Rep. Ellen Tauscher responds:
In my view, insisting that the Congress and the President balance the budget and then maintaining that balance is not just a gimmick. I've spoken frankly about these serious problems in the past and believe we must remain dedicated to keeping our budget in balance in the future.
America needs leaders with the will and courage to take the tough stands on entitlement, defense, and domestic spending. As a member of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of fiscally conservative Democrats seeking to balance the budget by 2002, I've begun to closely examine ways to cut spending and increase revenue without gutting programs important to all citizens, like education, health care and the environment. It should be noted that our nation's top economist agree that adjusting the Consumer Price Index to more accurately reflect the inflation rate could extend the life of the Social Security Trust Fund, and I support a thorough review of this tough but needed reform. I'm also a member of the 46 member Public Pension Reform Caucus which will examine pension reforms. Be assured I shall continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to tackle these issues and close the most egregious loopholes in our tax code to finally achieve balance in our budget.