Upton Statement on Spending Reduction Act

December 20, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) today took to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives to speak in support of the Spending Reduction Act of 2012. Nearly $100 billion in savings over the next decade that the Energy and Commerce Committee identified were included in the legislative package, providing more targeted spending reductions than those that would come through across-the-board cuts in the nation’s armed forces and other key priorities.

Click here to view Chairman Upton’s remarks

Chairman Upton's remarks as prepared for delivery:

Today we take a stand for future generations as we work to get our $16 trillion national debt under control and put us on the path toward a more sound fiscal future.

In the Spending Reduction Act of 2012, we identified key areas to sensibly reduce spending in the effort to replace the blunt instrument known as the sequester.

Without this thoughtful, balanced package of savings, in two weeks the sequester will cut discretionary spending indiscriminately while shielding the lion’s share of the government’s budget from reductions.

Critical priorities, such as important cancer research at the NIH and FDA review and inspection budgets to help keep foods and medicines safe, are on the chopping block because we have failed to engage in a substantive discussion on reforming entitlement programs that threaten to derail the long-term solvency of the U.S.

I’m proud of the work of the Energy and Commerce Committee that identified over $100 billion in savings over the next decade, and we accomplished it in a sensible, responsible manner.

We say enough is enough to the litany of slush funds tucked into Obamacare. Slush funds we discovered through aggressive oversight to be blank checks given to HHS that will cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

We make common-sense changes to Medicaid that will put this important program on firmer ground.  Among other reforms, we eliminate the Medicaid Maintenance of Effort requirement.  This federal mandate impedes states’ ability to implement program integrity measures and actually weakens the safety net by making it more difficult for states to target resources to the most vulnerable Americans.

We achieve significant savings as well by including a measure noticeably absent from the president’s health care law – that being real medical liability reform that truly lowers health care costs.  The common-sense tort reforms included in our package will help end frivolous lawsuits, end the practice of defensive medicine, and save taxpayers nearly $50 billion in the next decade.

The president proudly declared in his 2011 State of the Union address, “I’m willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs, including one that Republicans suggested… medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits.” After two years of empty promises, now is the time for the president to fulfill the pledge, and finally put doctors, patients, and taxpayers first. That’s in this bill.

The House passed a budget, and now legislation again, that truly cuts spending to offset the automatic spending cuts, or sequester.

Our debt grows by nearly $4 billion a day and it is our children and grandchildren who will pay the price if we stand by and do nothing. Without action, a $20 trillion debt could soon be a reality.

So if not us, who is going to do it? If not now, when is it going to happen? Our work will not be easy, but it is necessary. It’s time to make the tough choices to get this deficit down. Let’s vote for this bill.

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