Shelton’s Congress members split on federal budget deal

Shelton’s two members of Congress were split on the federal budget compromise that passed the U.S. House by an overwhelming margin on Thursday.

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes opposed the bill while U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro voted against it.

Himes: ‘Step in right direction’

“This budget is not perfect, but it is a step in the right direction,” said Himes, a three-term Democrat. “We are finally moving forward, before the eleventh hour, with a bipartisan plan.”

Himes said now Congress must address longer-term issues in a comprehensive way. “I look forward to working with my colleagues on more comprehensive deficit reduction that includes reforming the tax code, fairly reforming our entitlement programs, and retooling our priorities to ensure we are spending on things that matter for the future — like education and transportation — rather than the past,” he said.

DeLauro: Includes wrong priorities

DeLauro called her vote in opposition “an incredibly difficult decision...The New York Times described it as ‘The Minimalist Budget Deal.’ It eases the indiscriminate, deeply harmful budget cuts, but only for two years. They should be gone permanently.

“Funding for what should be our top priorities — education, health, child care, job training and infrastructure — has steadily eroded,” said DeLauro, a 12-term Democrat who is considered more liberal than Himes. “This [budget bill] locks in our lack of commitment to growing our economy, creating jobs, restoring social mobility, and closing tax loopholes on wealthy corporations and individuals.

A compromise bill

The budget bill was approved 332-94 margin in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, and now goes to the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate for a vote.

The bill was negotiated by the two budget committee leaders — Republican Paul Ryan of Wisconsin in the House, and Democrat Patty Murray of Washington state in the Senate. It was a compromise bill that would prevent shutdowns of the federal government for two years.

However, the deal is being criticized by both the far right and far left for various reasons.

Deficit impact is debated

According to Himes, the bill will partially roll back the sequester scheduled for next two fiscal years and increase spending caps for those two years. Himes said the agreement restores $63 billion in federal spending authority, offset by $85 billion in cuts to mandatory programs and increases in non-tax revenues.

Himes said the compromise bill provides $23 billion in deficit reduction over an extended period. That level of reduction has been sharply criticized by conservatives, who point out the federal deficit during the current fiscal year alone could be $600 billion.

Shelton has two members of Congress

The city of Shelton is divided between the Third District, represented by DeLauro, and the Fourth District, represented by fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim Himes.

The Third District is centered in New Haven County. DeLauro lives in New Haven and was first elected to Congress in 1990.

The Fourth District includes most of Fairfield County. Himes lives in Greenwich and was first elected to Congress in 2008.