Budget season means time to set priorities

Published 12:23 am Saturday, March 5, 2016


The budget process is well underway in Congress, as lawmakers work to set top line government spending numbers while wrangling funding requests from various agencies for the 2017 Fiscal Year.

As you may have seen, President Obama recently released his Fiscal Year 2017 budget request. To no one’s surprise, the president’s budget proposal would never achieve balance, or bring spending in line with revenue to make sure the government doesn’t spend more than it takes in. One main reason for this is that the administration’s budget request lacks any reform proposals to ensure the long term solvency of programs like Medicare and Social Security.

His budget also attempts to shift $37 billion away from military accounts. As someone who represents a district with two key military installations at Fort Rucker and Maxwell-Gunter Air Force Base, this is especially concerning. The military has already been cut drastically over the past several years. Thankfully, we have been able to keep the worst of those cuts from affecting our bases. However, if the president’s budget request was enacted, it would mean that defense funding will have been cut by $104 billion since 2011. That represents 15 percent over six years, a dramatic cut that would further hollow out our force structure at a time when our world is getting more dangerous, not less. The ongoing threat presented by Islamic State terrorists as well as growing aggression from Russia, China, and North Korea are reasons to maintain military readiness, not erode it.

For these reasons and many others, President Obama’s budget was a non-starter in the House of Representatives. I have opposed President Obama’s annual budget requests every year I have served in Congress, working instead to pass budgets with meaningful reforms that would bring balance and stability to government spending while also properly funding the military. The House Budget Committee has begun drafting its proposal for Fiscal Year 2017 and I look forward to seeing their plan in the next few weeks.

After a budget framework is in place, the next step in the budget process is appropriations. During my time on the Appropriations Committee, I have worked with my colleagues to fill in these budget frameworks with responsible spending plans that cut waste and prioritize truly important needs. We have made progress in significantly reducing the deficit in recent years, but much more work remains in this regard.

Reining in out-of-control government spending will take time given the unrestrained excesses of the Obama presidency. However, this work is critically important to ensure future generations aren’t burdened with a mountain of debilitating debt. As your Representative in Congress, I will continue to fight for balanced budgets and responsible spending policies.


Martha Roby represents Alabama’s 2nd Congressional District. She lives in Montgomery, Alabama with her husband, Riley and their two children.