Berry Votes To Restore Fiscal Responsibility To Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Marion Berry (AR-01) today voted in favor of H.R. 2920 the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2009, also known as PAYGO.  Congressman Berry, who has advocated for fiscally conservative legislation since he was elected to Congress in 1996, is an original cosponsor of the bill. The bill passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 265 to 166.

In the 1990s, statutory PAYGO proved successful in helping the Federal Government reverse huge deficits, creating a projected $5.6 trillion budget surplus. Unfortunately, the expiration of PAYGO in 2002 has been a major factor in turning surpluses into deficits, resulting in the current $11.6 trillion national debt.

“PAYGO is an essential part of the plan to strengthen the American economy,” said Berry.  “By restoring a pay-as-you-go discipline in Congress we are returning to the basic rule every American must already follow: you don’t spend money you don’t have.  Until we reduce the deficit, we have fewer opportunities to invest in vital priorities like health care, education, and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.”

The Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2009 requires Congress to offset increases in entitlement spending or the cost of tax cuts with savings elsewhere in the budget over five and ten year periods.  The bill requires across-the-board cuts for non-exempt mandatory programs if Congress has not offset the costs of all new policies enacted during the year.  The legislation also assumes the extension of current policies such as income tax cuts for taxpayers with incomes below $250,000, estate tax relief, the extension of child tax credit, marriage penalty relief, Medicare physician payments, and protection from the Alternative Minimum Tax.