Responsible Budgeting | Congressman Ami Bera

Congressman Ami Bera

Representing the 7th District of California
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Responsible Budgeting

Listening to you is my most important responsibility, so I held a local budget workshop where community members could participate and propose their own solutions to our nation’s budget problems.
Listening to you is crucial so I can bring your voice to Washington. That’s why I’ve held local workshops to give area residents a chance to share their own solutions to our nation’s budget problems, allowing me to hear directly from people in our community.

As a father, I often worry about the future that lies ahead for my daughter. We cannot in good conscience continue to bury our children and grandchildren under a mountain of debt. Unfortunately, partisanship and special interests in Washington often get in the way of finding common ground to agree on a responsible budget that addresses our debt. This is completely unacceptable when the well-being of our children and our country is on the line.

That’s why the first bill I introduced and helped pass when I came to Congress was No Budget, No Pay. This bill says that if Members of Congress don’t do their jobs and pass a budget, they don’t get paid. I was proud to help pass No Budget, No Pay into law in 2013, and I’m now fighting to make it permanent. Since that time, I’ve supported two bipartisan budgets that became law.

We need to make Congress a place for service, where both parties work to address our debt and deficit and protect important investments in our children’s futures. That’s why I’m co-chairing the Congressional Problem Solvers Caucus, the only bipartisan group of its type in Washington. Our caucus, made-up of dozens of Republicans and Democrats, is supporting a National Strategic Agenda with a goal of bringing our budget into balance in a bipartisan way. We’re also pushing for common sense legislation to cut spending that both Republicans and Democrats alike agree is wasteful.

Here’s how I’m working to ensure Congress is more responsible with your hard-earned taxpayer dollars:

 

Fighting Congressional Perks and Pay Raises: No Budget, No Pay and More
 No Budget, No Pay and More

As your representative, I took an oath to serve you. To make our government work, we need to make Congress a place for service – not for politicians who only look out for their own best interests.

  • No Budget, No Pay: It’s simple – if Members of Congress don’t do their jobs and pass a budget on time, they shouldn’t get paid. Members of Congress should have to live by the same rules that other Americans are expected to live by. Truck drivers, nurses, and small business owners don’t get paid if they don’t do their jobs. The same should be true for Congress. I was proud to help pass No Budget, No Pay into law in 2013 and I’m now fighting to make it permanent

  • Stopping congressional pay raises: At a time when so many families are struggling, the last folks who should get a pay raise are Members of Congress. That’s why I’ve repeatedly voted against raising congressional salaries.

    It’s especially wrong for Congress to continue to get paid for causing chaos. That’s why I’ve supported legislation to ensure Members of Congress won’t get paid if the government were to shut down because of needless partisan politics. I also introduced bipartisan legislation to cut congressional salaries by 8.2 percent, the same amount as automatic across the board spending cuts that have threatened to impact services that many Americans rely on.

      
     
  • Standing against congressional perks: Taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for lavish perks for Members of Congress. That’s why I’m supporting the Coach-Only Airfare for Capitol Hill Act to ban first class airfares for Members of Congress when it's paid for by taxpayers. Many American families fly coach every day, and there’s no reason why Members of Congress shouldn’t do the same. I also voted for a bipartisan amendment to ban Members of Congress from leasing expensive cars with your hard-earned taxpayer dollars. The American people's elected representatives shouldn't be able to rent luxury cars and then have taxpayers pay for it.

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Supporting two Bipartisan Budgets:


Passing a budget is one of Congress’ biggest responsibilities. Both parties ought to put politics aside, find common ground that includes the best Democratic and Republican ideas, and pass a final budget to set our nation’s priorities and to get our fiscal house in order. Getting work done in our nation’s capital isn’t easy, but it’s our job to move our country forward.

That’s why I’ve voted for two bipartisan budget agreements that have become law since I began serving you in Congress. These budgets may have not been perfect, but they were steps in the right direction to move our country forward.

In December of 2013 I supported the Ryan-Murray budget, which helped address our long term debt and replaced some automatic, across the board spending cuts with more strategic adjustments. More recently I supported the Bipartisan Budget of 2015, a two year agreement that protects our seniors from a spike in their Medicare premiums and makes crucial investments in our economy.

You can learn more about the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 by viewing this graphic: 


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Cutting Wasteful Spending:


Congress has an obligation to find and eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse. You have a right to expect that your tax dollars aren’t being wasted and that your government is working efficiently.

Here are some of the bipartisan bills I’m supporting to cut wasteful government spending:

  • SAVE Act: This bill would help eliminate more than $479 billion in wasteful government spending over ten years. It takes a variety of common sense, bipartisan steps to help save taxpayer money like working to help stop identity thieves from illegally filing tax returns simply to get a refund, saving $52 billion. It also directs the government to encourage more competition in contracting to get the biggest bang for our buck, consolidates duplicative computer data centers, and cracks down on delinquent taxpayers who owe more than $50,000 by canceling their passports.
     
  • Duplication Elimination Act: By eliminating inefficient programs that non-partisan experts have already agreed are wasteful, we can easily curb government spending. Under this bill, the President would be required to send Congress a plan to cut wasteful programs as determined by the independent Government Accountability Office. That plan would then have to receive an up or down vote so there wouldn’t be any excuse for delay.


     
  • Stay in Place, Cut the Waste Act: We should take advantage of new technologies to help us save money and make government more efficient. This bill would have federal agencies cut travel budgets by half and instead have employees utilize on online video conferencing to conduct meetings. 
     
  • Stopping Improper Payments to Deceased People Act: Independent government watchdogs have found that hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars have been wasted with payments going to people who have since passed away. This legislation would help fix this by making sure that every government agency has access to the Social Security Administration’s most up-to-date records on deceased persons, which many currently lack access to.

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Working with Both Parties to Lower our Debt: 


Officials in both parties need to do a better job of finding common ground to reduce our debt. That’s why I’m proud to co-chair the Congressional Problem Solvers Caucus. The Problem Solvers are the only bipartisan group of its kind in Washington. Since I’ve had the privilege of serving you, I’ve helped grow Problem Solvers membership to more than 90 Republican and Democratic members of Congress.

One of the primary focuses of the Problem Solvers Caucus is to find bipartisan budget solutions. We’ve introduced bipartisan legislation together to eliminate wasteful spending, save taxpayer money, and to make government more efficient.

  • A National Strategic Agenda to Balance our Budget: The Problem Solvers are supporting the creation of a National Strategic Agenda. This is an agenda with clear goals that both parties can agree on to help move our nation forward in a positive way. One of the top goals in our agenda is to balance our budget by the year 2030.


     
  • Bipartisan solutions to move America forward: The Problem Solvers are supporting a number of bipartisan initiatives to help reduce waste and make our government more efficient.
     
    • Government Transformation Act: This bill would require a government-wide audit to find wasteful spending. Congress would then have to consider specific action items found by the audit to eliminate inefficiencies and to save taxpayer money.
       
    • Buy Smarter and Save Act: Many families often shop at stores such as Costco or Sam's Club to buy groceries and other goods in bulk, often at a cheaper price. Many businesses take the same buy-in-bulk approach with office supplies and other needs to save money. Unfortunately, the federal government often doesn’t take this common sense approach. This bill would help us better leverage the federal government's massive buying power and make sure that taxpayers always get the biggest bang for their buck.

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More on Responsible Budgeting

Oct 13, 2017 Press Release

Washington, DC – Rep. Ami Bera, M.D. released the following statement after news broke that the Trump administration will end key Affordable Care Act subsidies:

“This is sabotage, plain and simple,” said Rep. Ami Bera, M.D. “Why is this administration so set on hurting millions of Americans? As a doctor, I swore an oath to do no harm – it’s time the Trump administration take that same oath.

May 26, 2017 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA), issued the following statement after nonpartisan experts determined the impact of the House Majority’s bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s updated report on the latest version of the House-passed health care bill, 23 million hardworking Americans will lose their health care, premiums will rise by more than 20 percent by next year, and the bill will make it harder for older Americans and those with preexisting conditions to purchase health care.

Mar 30, 2017 Press Release

Washington, DC -- Four years after landmark legislation that led to Congress passing America’s budget on time after years of partisan gridlock,  Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) helped reintroduce the No Budget, No Pay Act.

Mar 16, 2017 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Ami Bera (D-CA) released the following statement after the White House released its proposed budget:

Jun 15, 2016 Ami's Updates

I sent an email update on Wednesday with a report on what I'm doing to build a brighter future for Sacramento County. Join my email updates now so you don't miss any in the future!

Apr 19, 2016 Ami's Updates

I sent an email update on Tuesday on what I'm doing to make government work for you. Join my email updates now so you don't miss any in the future!

Oct 30, 2015 Ami's Updates
I sent an email update on Friday about a bipartisan budget and jobs bill. Join my email updates now so you don't miss any in the future!
Sep 30, 2015 Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congressman Ami Bera, M.D., criticized the short-term spending bill passed today in the House of Representatives and called on lawmakers to work on a long-term budget solution.

Aug 12, 2015 Ami's Updates
I’m inviting you to join me for an interactive federal budget exercise to share your priorities and proposals to address our debt and deficit. The free workshop will be conducted in cooperation with the Concord Coalition, a national, nonpartisan organization dedicated to fostering bipartisan solutions to our nation’s fiscal challenges.
Apr 16, 2015 Ami's Updates

I sent an email update on Thursday on my frist hundred days serving you in my second term in Congress. Join my email updates now so you don't miss any in the future!