03.19.15

Whitehouse Adds Two Amendments to Budget

Washington, DC – Today the Senate Budget Committee debated the proposed Republican budget resolution and voted on a series of amendments.  Among the amendments adopted by the committee was a measure by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) intended to ensure that tax expenditures are accounted for in the budget.  The Committee also adopted a second Whitehouse amendment to establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to enhance the preparedness of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to address disasters related to climate change.

“The Republican budget completely ignores corporate tax loopholes and giveaways for the wealthy that continue to cost us hundreds of billions of dollars,” Whitehouse said.  “If we’re serious about reducing our debt and deficits, we can’t afford to overlook tax spending.  My first amendment displays in the budget the total amount of tax expenditures that we lose every year, so we can clearly see how much money we’re adding to the deficit through tax spending.  I hope this will provide an impetus for Members to look more seriously at closing tax loopholes in the future.”

The budget resolution lists aggregate totals for a number of categories, such as total revenues, spending, deficits, and debt.  The Whitehouse amendment ensures that tax expenditures, which will total almost $1.5 trillion in 2016 alone, are added to the list.

Senator Whitehouse has repeatedly argued that closing tax loopholes and ending giveaways to profitable corporations and multi-million-dollar earners should be a central part of our effort to reduce the deficit and pay for important programs.  Earlier this year, he introduced three “tax fairness” bills that could generate $300 billion over ten years by ending tax breaks and loopholes that benefit multi-national corporations and the highest earners.

“Rhode Island has been hard hit by storms and floods, so my second amendment can help ensure that FEMA is adequately prepared to respond to disasters, including those caused or exacerbated by climate change,” Whitehouse added.  “We know that the effects of climate change load the dice for stronger and more frequent severe weather events like Hurricane Sandy, and we need to do everything possible to plan ahead.”

Reserve funds allow the chairman of the Budget Committee to adjust the budget resolution when certain legislation is considered, to accommodate revenue and spending levels included in the new legislation.

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