Budget Vote Statement from Congressman Roger Williams

Congressman Roger WilliamsCongressman Roger Williams spoke to the Central Texas Republican Assembly membership tonight, providing a recap of the many bills he has voted for and against in this, his first session. The vote that prompted the most discussion, not surprisingly, was the recent budget bill.

Congressman Williams released the following statement about the bill and his vote in favor of it:

Friends,

As you know, the House passed a two-year budget deal authored by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray.  I supported this bill because I believe it is important to get on a budget process that cuts spending, helps the military, reduces the deficit, doesn’t raise taxes, and stops the pattern of passing CR after CR.  This congress and administration have done so for the last five years.  That’s not good for business.

While this budget isn’t perfect, let’s take a look at why it is good for conservatives.  President Obama wanted $1.1 trillion in tax increases, but we gave him none.  Obama wanted 99 weeks of federal unemployment benefits, but we cut it back to 26.  Obama wanted to increase the national deficit by $115 billion, but we will reduce the deficit by over $20 billion.  President Obama wanted to completely roll back the sequester, we maintained it at 92 % level for two years and go back to 100% sequester levels the following years.  And without this budget, our military would have borne the full force of the even more onerous cuts starting in January.  Don’t forget, President Obama wanted to put the sequester squarely on the backs of the military.

This budget gives $31 billion in relief to the Department of Defense over two years.  TX-25 is home to Fort Hood, the largest military installation in America.  After bearing the brunt of these budget cuts already, it is vital to provide our servicemen and women the resources they need.  Restoring a portion of these cuts will support our troops’ readiness, training and equipment.  To quote one general, without the restoring these cuts, we will not be able to properly train our troops to prepare to defend our freedom, for that, we will pay the butcher’s price.  I pledged to listen to our generals, and I am doing so with this budget.

The argument being made that this budget cuts veteran benefits and slashes pensions is nothing short of a lie.  No military or veteran benefits, including medical care or retirement, are taken away or even reduced in any way.  Section 403 of the Budget Act contains a provision that reduces the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) by 1 percent for military retirees under the age of 62.  Once the retiree reaches age 62, their COLA benefits would be restored to its usual rate based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and they will receive a catch-up.  The bottom line is our military retirees will continue to receive raises!  

How is this conservative?  The Obama Administration wanted to do away with these raises entirely!  I fought to maintain them with no negative adjustments, ever.  Further, I pledge to keep fighting until we have a complete 100% restoring of these reductions.  That’s why I am an original cosponsor of a bill that would reinstate the 1% COLA adjustment for these younger retirees.  I have also signed on to a bill to exempt all veterans who medically retire, those who receive Combat Related Specialty Compensation (CRSC) and those who receive Concurrent Receipt Pay (CRDP).  Let me reassure you that the Budget Act does not affect disability benefits provided to veterans in compensation for injuries sustained during their service.

Federal civilians do not receive COLAs until they reach the age of 62, while many service members are eligible after serving for a certain amount of time, no matter their age.  This is the way it should be – our men and women in uniform sacrifice their all, and we are obligated to support them in every way we can.  Supporting our veterans is our most solemn responsibility.  I will never turn my back on our bravest and brightest.  I have fought back hard against the Veterans Administration for better treatment of our veterans, and Republicans are doing more for our troops and veterans than anyone and I vow to continue to do so.

As I mentioned, this bill is not perfect.  In 2014 I look forward to continuing to fight for lower taxes across the board, to cutting even more entitlement spending, true social security reform, fighting pork spending, fighting waste, fraud and abuse in government,  getting the government out of health care, and most importantly, getting Americans back to work.

This budget is a good, solid starting point to get our nation’s economy back on track.

I wish you and you families a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Thank you for all do.

In God we trust,

Roger Williams

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