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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Letter to the Editor: Fact-Checking Scott Murphy's Pay-Go Record

By Tip Kubisch

Scott Murphy, Democrat incumbent running for NY's 20th congressional district, has been heralding his fiscal conservative credentials. While fiction can be fun, in voting, I prefer fact.

Fact: In February 2010 Congress passed H.J.R. 45 reinstating the PAYGO rules. Murphy voted for that bill.

In April 2010 Congress passed H.R. 4851, The Continuing Extension Act of 2010, thus making an emergency exception to circumvent PAYGO. The price tag for the bill was 18 billion dollars. Murphy voted for that bill.

In June 2010 Murphy sent out a mailing to his constituents stating, "Restoring Fiscal Responsibility. Congressman Murphy helped introduce and pass the Statutory Pay-As-You Go Act of 2009 that requires any new spending be offset elsewhere". However, in that mailing he failed to tell his constituents that he voted for H.R. 4851.

On July 1, 2010 Congress passed H.R. 5618, The Restoration of Emergency Unemployment Compensation Act, again making an emergency exception to circumvent PAYGO. The price tag for the bill was 34 billion dollars. Murphy voted for that bill.

On July 1, 2010 Murphy responded by email to a letter I sent to him on the subject. Murphy stated:

“While the current economic situation has required the government to take action to jumpstart our economy, Congress must not lose focus on its responsibility to take the necessary steps to restrain and reduce government spending. To help achieve this objective, I helped introduce H.R. 2920, The Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2009. This legislation requires Congress to offset the cost of any tax cut or increase in entitlement spending with savings from elsewhere in the budget. I believe that Congress should be required to make budget decisions the same way as families in Upstate New York do and Pay-As-You-Go rules will help bring us back to a more sustainable budget."

Pay-As-You-Go principles are a positive step toward fiscal responsibility, but I am also committed to eliminating wasteful spending. In fact, in my first few months in office, I have voted to eliminate over $24 billion in government spending and have supported efforts to cut and eliminate funding for federal programs that simply should not be continued during difficult economic times. When a bill came up that would increase the budget for my own congressional office, I voted against that too because we should all be making sacrifices”.

Fact: On July 14, 2010 Murphy, along with other members of the Blue Dog Coalition sent a letter to the House leadership urging them to properly impose budget enforcement mechanisms that cut and restrain the growth in federal spending. The letter called on the Leadership to stop designating non-emergency spending as "emergency" to circumvent PAYGO. Murphy stated "last year we took the important step of passing statutory Pay-As-You-Go legislation to keep Congress honest and began to put our fiscal house back in order. But time and again, we see new spending programs deemed to be "emergency spending" in an effort to bypass the restrictions we've put in place. Balancing our budget is going to mean making tough choices and won't be easy. We must stop looking for loopholes and start being fiscally responsible."

Fact: On July 22, 2010 Congress passed H.R. 4213, The Unemployment Compensation Act of 2010, once again circumventing PAYGO. The price tag of the bill was 118 billion. However, all but 30 billion dollars were offset by cuts elsewhere. Murphy voted for that bill.

Congressman Scott Murphy a “fiscal conservative?"

You decide: Fiction or Fact?

Editor Update:

Murphy has since voted for the Education Jobs Bill adding yet another $12 billion to the deficit.


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