U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, D-MD, called passage of the Budget Resolution for FY 2008 “an important step in putting our nation back on a sound financial footing.” The five-year budget resolution funds critical national priorities while returning the budget to surplus by 2012.
“This budget moves our country in the right direction,” said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Budget Committee. “It balances the budget by 2012 and funds our nation's priorities, including a strong national defense, veterans' health care, an expansion of children's health care, and more funding for education.”
The Senator also praised the bill for adhering to the pay-as-you-go principle. “This resolution restores fiscal responsibility because it includes important enforcement provisions that require that new mandatory spending or tax cuts be offset.”
Under the budget resolution crafted by Senate and House conferees, the budget will reach a surplus of $41 billion in 2012. Spending as a share of the economy will fall in every year after 2008 and gross debt as a share of the economy will fall in every year after 2010.
It includes additional funding for national defense and it provides badly needed resources in key areas that have been under funded by the Bush administration, such as health care for children, education, and veterans' health care. The resolution also contains increases for the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda and the Food and Drug Administration in White Oak, reversing the President's proposal to cut funding for the two agencies. In total, it provides $954 billion for discretionary programs in 2008.
The budget resolution does not include any tax increase. It provides for tax relief that would benefit the middle class – including extension of the child tax credit, 10 percent bracket, and marriage penalty relief – and provides for estate tax reform. The plan also provides for immediate Alternative Minimum Tax relief, preventing more than 20 million middle-class taxpayers from being hit by the tax.
The budget resolution includes two proposals by Senator Cardin. First, it would allow Congress to take action this year to establish a coordinated financing system to help improve access to affordable, quality long-term care. It also includes an amendment he co-sponsored with Senator Bernie Sanders, D-VT, providing additional funding for child care for families moving out of welfare and into the workforce.