WASHINGTON -- As the House and Senate debate their
respective versions of the fiscal year 2004 budget resolution, The Concord
Coalition suggested that consideration of the budget be postponed until Congress
has had an opportunity to consider the supplemental spending package for war and
homeland security expected from the Administration within a few days. At the
same time, The Concord Coalition said that among the budget plans under
consideration it favors the Blue Dog alternative in the House and the Carper-Chafee-Feinstein
amendment in the Senate.
“Hostilities in Iraq have begun and it is widely anticipated that the Administration will send a major supplemental spending request to Congress as early as next week. Reportedly, this request will include money for both war expenses and homeland security. While no one can be expected to know the full costs of war and its aftermath at this time, rushing to adopt a fiscal year 2004 budget that contains no funding for a war that has already begun can only result in a budget that is neither prudent nor credible,” said Concord Coalition executive director Robert Bixby.
If, however, Congress does not postpone debate The Concord Coalition favors the Blue Dog budget in the House and the Carper-Chafee-Feinstein amendment in the Senate. These two plans do the best job of balancing short-term concerns with long-term fiscal discipline.
“Earlier this week, The Concord Coalition released a set of criteria for evaluating budget plans. None of the proposed budget resolutions fully comply with Concord's criteria. On balance, however, the Blue Dog budget and the Carper-Chafee-Feinstein amendment are clearly superior to the alternatives. They strike a prudent balance among competing priorities by restraining spending and limiting new or expanded tax cuts to those that have an immediate impact and minimal long-term costs. Some of the other plans take a more disciplined approach to either tax cuts or spending in the abstract, but none represents as credible an approach back to a balanced budget as the course set by the Blue Dogs and the co-sponsors of the Carper-Chafee-Feinstein amendment,” Bixby said.