A question from Charlotte Wilson of Indianapolis, IN:
The NewsHour and other news programs are reporting that there will be some $61 billion in entitlement cuts that have not been accounted for. Does this leave you in Congress in the uncomfortable position of cutting some popular programs while the White House can distance itself from the cuts? Where do you think the cuts will come from?
Rep. Carson responds:
Cutting the budget is tough. There are no hard and fast decisions that can be made on every program. Unfortunately, I believe that many of these cuts may come from programs which are popular and successful. For instance, next week the House will consider supplemental appropriations bill for the WIC program that will only fund it with half the funds that are necessary. WIC is only the most effective social programs in existence, supplying needy mothers and children with essential funding for nutritious food. It is extremely cost-effective, since it supplies children with nutritional help, thus preventing illness in the future that may cost thousands of dollars to treat. WIC has also helped to reduce infant mortality across the country. Yet the Republicans, the majority party in the House, feel this is one area that could be cut from the budget. We need to closely examine the cuts that are being proposed simply to determine whether or not they are necessary, and then to determine who would be hurt from the proposed cuts.
Rep. Gibbons responds:
The most important aspect of this budget agreement is that it represents a commitment from both Congress and the President to work toward a common set of goals. It is my hope that the President's commitment does not end with this announcement. We must continue to work together to see that the provisions contained in this preliminary agreement are passed into law. Balancing the federal budget is going to require making many tough choices. I fully expect the President to continue to work with Congress as we make the tough choices necessary to implement these historic changes.
Continue to next question...