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Congressman Capuano's
E-UPDATE
An update from the office of U.S. Representative Michael E. Capuano
8th Congressional District of Massachusetts
Thanks for subscribing to this periodic correspondence. We hope you find the information useful. As always, let us know your questions, comments or concerns. Our contact information is provided at the end of this e-mail.

July 28, 2011

Dear Friends,

Debate over raising the debt ceiling continues and August 2nd, the day the US will reach its credit limit, is days away. If we don’t take action, the federal government simply won’t have enough money to meet all of its obligations. I have included a list of our obligations just for the month of August at the end of this correspondence.

It is important to keep in mind that the US had a balanced budget from 1998 to 2001. Those were the first balanced budgets in a generation. We accomplished it through a combination of thoughtful taxation and spending policies.

The first steps on the path toward the deficit were taken when the Bush tax cuts passed in May of 2001. Those tax cuts were implemented without any corresponding spending cuts. I voted no.

After the 9/11 attack, Congress voted to authorize war against those responsible. It had become clear that the terrorists were in Afghanistan, that its Taliban government would continue to protect them, and military force was necessary. We took more steps on the deficit path by financing the war with a credit card, the first time in history that the US went to war without a tax increase to support the enormous cost.

I voted to send our military into Afghanistan in 2001 and thought it was an effort worthy of our tax dollars. However, since 2009 I have been calling for withdrawal because our goals in Afghanistan have been accomplished.

In 2003, America invaded Iraq. I voted against this war. And, again, Congress did not increase taxes to pay for it. Now we had two wars on our credit card.

Worse, in budgetary terms, in 2002 Congress repealed the “pay-go” rule. That one rule forced Congress and the President to pay for every budget addition with either offsetting cuts to other items or increasing revenue. I was one of only 19 Members who voted to keep that rule in place.

In 2003, the Republican-controlled Congress passed the second Bush tax cut. Again, this was done without corresponding spending cuts, and in the middle of two wars. I voted no.

In 2008, the financial crisis enveloped the US and the world economy came close to the edge. This crisis required us to stabilize our own economy. I voted to take positive action and jump start job creation.

So here we are in 2011, days away from reaching the debt ceiling and risking the full faith and credit of the United States. A series of bad policy actions and a worldwide economic collapse have brought us to this moment.

As you think about the answer to this question, I wanted to pass along some information. This month the Bipartisan Policy Center prepared a list of bills that will be due and payable by the federal government between August 3rd and August 31st. The list totals $306.7 billion. During that same time period, the Center reports that the federal government will bring in $172.4 billion which means there will be a shortfall of $134.3 billion. That is why we must extend the debt limit. I am including a link to their report and other related materials if you are interested: http://www.bipartisanpolicy.org/library/staff-paper/debt-limit-analysis.

I recognize that some believe it is easy to get from where we are now to a balanced budget. As an educational exercise I have simplified the Bipartisan Policy Center’s list of payments and sorted them from the most expensive to the least expensive obligations. Which obligations would YOU not pay in August? What would YOU reduce permanently to bring us into balance? Would you raise taxes so we don’t have to cut any spending? Or would you do some cutting and some revenue raising for a more balanced approach?

I think that once you review this list you will quickly realize that the ONLY responsible answer is a BALANCED approach – some thoughtful spending cuts, some thoughtful revenue increases and smarter long term policies as we move forward. This is what I have been fighting for in Washington and will continue to fight for as this debate goes on.

Payments due August 3 - 31, 2011

$306,700,000,000

Running Total

Medicare & Medicaid payments due

$50,000,000,000

$50,000,000,000

Social Security Benefits due recipients

$49,200,000,000

$99,200,000,000

Defense Dept - Vendor Payments (e.g. - food, materials)

$31,700,000,000

$130,900,000,000

Interest on Treasury Securities (not paying this is "default")

$29,000,000,000

$159,900,000,000

Federal Employee Salaries & Benefits - all non-military agencies

$14,200,000,000

$174,100,000,000

Unemployment Insurance Benefits

$12,800,000,000

$186,900,000,000

Dept of Education - Pell Grants

$10,400,000,000

$197,300,000,000

Health & Human Services Grants

$8,100,000,000

$205,400,000,000

Food & Nutrition Services (e.g. - food stamps, WIC)

$6,700,000,000

$212,100,000,000

Dept of Education - other programs

$6,200,000,000

$218,300,000,000

Transportation - Federal Highway Admin

$4,300,000,000

$222,600,000,000

Housing & Urban Development - Rental Assistance

$3,900,000,000

$226,500,000,000

IRS Refunds

$3,900,000,000

$230,400,000,000

Dept of Education - Special Education Grants to states

$3,600,000,000

$234,000,000,000

Dept of Energy (e.g. - energy research)

$3,500,000,000

$237,500,000,000

Defense Dept - Military Active Duty Pay

$2,900,000,000

$240,400,000,000

Veterans Affairs Programs

$2,900,000,000

$243,300,000,000

Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

$2,600,000,000

$245,900,000,000

Housing & Urban Development - other programs

$1,900,000,000

$247,800,000,000

Dept of Justice programs (e.g. - FBI, Federal Courts)

$1,400,000,000

$249,200,000,000

Dept of Labor programs (e.g. - job training services)

$1,300,000,000

$250,500,000,000

Transportation - Federal Transit Admin

$1,300,000,000

$251,800,000,000

Dept of Interior

$1,200,000,000

$253,000,000,000

Environmental Protection Agency

$900,000,000

$253,900,000,000

Housing & Urban Development - Public Housing

$900,000,000

$254,800,000,000

Center for Disease Control

$500,000,000

$255,300,000,000

Small Business Admin

$300,000,000

$255,600,000,000

All Other Federal Spending

$51,100,000,000

$306,700,000,000


Congressman Mike Capuano
8th District, Massachusetts
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee on Financial Services

P.S. I welcome your feedback on our e-Updates. Please let me and my staff know what you think of this service by e-mailing our office.


District Offices:

110 First Street, Cambridge, MA 02141
and
Roxbury Community College, Campus Library, Room 211

District Office Phone:

(617) 621-6208

DC Office:

1414 Longworth Building, Washington, DC 20515

DC Office Phone:

(202) 225-5111

Website and e-mail:

www.house.gov/capuano

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