A Progressive Budget Alternative

Tomorrow, when the House takes up the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget, the Congressional Progressive Caucus will present an alternative budget for the third year in a row.
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Tomorrow, when the House takes up the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget, the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) will present an alternative budget for the third year in a row. We do so each year in order to not only highlight opportunities to eliminate wasteful government spending and rebalance our tax structure, but to address the glaring needs for increased investments in long-term social and economic programs.

Our budget starts with an ambitious agenda to address the most pressing matters facing America today. We invest $991 billion in non-defense discretionary spending for fiscal year 2010, which is $469 billion over the President's budget. This is a bold infusion of resources that includes $300 billion in stimulus that we feel was left out of the economic recovery package and increases in domestic priorities that will ensure America's economic recovery.

These investments include:

• $120 billion a year to ensure that every American has adequate health care;
• $90 billion a year to help cut the poverty rate in America by 50% during the next decade with increased funding for decent affordable housing, anti-hunger programs, and more quality child care;
• Up to $80 billion a year to rebuild and reinvest in infrastructure including school repairs, wastewater systems, and energy-efficient transportation, and creation of green jobs;
• An increase of $60 billion for International Assistance for non-military spending to fight root causes of terrorism, and support 21st century diplomacy, meeting basic human needs, universal education, and world-wide prevention of HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria;
• $30 billion a year above the President to fight global warming and promote energy independence;
• Over $70 billion a year to fully fund Elementary and Secondary Education Act and IDEA; and
• $45 billion a year to make veterans' health care an entitlement so that after their service, all veterans are guaranteed to be cared for.

To afford these investments, our budget undertakes a responsible and careful look at every aspect of our nation's budget, including revenue. We strive to eliminate wasteful programs, and take steps to ensure that the wealthiest among us, along with corporations who abused tax loopholes for far too long, are paying their fair share.

That's why the CPC Budget eliminates over $60 billion in unneeded spending at the Pentagon, much of which is spent on weapons designed to fight the Soviet Union and cuts defense spending by a total of $158.7 billion in fiscal year 2010.

Defense spending needs to be brought under control, and now is the time to do it. The United States doesn't just lead the world in defense spending; we almost outspend the rest of the world combined. Our annual defense budget dwarfs that of our biggest rivals...we spend four times as much as China, and eight times as much as Russia.

The CPC Alternative Budget saves another $8.7 billion a year by fully implementing the nearly 800 outstanding GAO recommendations to reduce waste, fraud, and abuse at the DoD. And finally, we can save another $90 billion by executing a timely, and complete withdraw of our troops from Iraq.

The next challenge that we need to confront if is to restore fairness and balance to the tax code. That means rolling back the Bush tax breaks for the top 1%, closing $100 billion a year worth of loopholes for corporations, ensuring that Wall Street pays its fair share for the burden placed on taxpayers by the TARP program, and limiting the tax deductibility of excessive CEO pay.

There is no doubt that our country faces a number of challenges, and that the road ahead will be difficult. Yet, as President Obama has repeatedly said, this is a time for bold decisive action. We can no longer afford to hedge our bets with minor changes and incremental shifts in policy. In November, the America people voted to take this in country in a new direction, and that is exactly what the CPC Budget does.

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