Sen. Brown Outlines Need to Reduce the Deficit, Avoid Default

Senate Bill Would Reduce Deficit by $2.2 Trillion; 100 Percent of Spending Cuts in Package Have Been Supported by GOP. Ohio Households Received Almost $108 Billion in Retirement, Medicare, and Other Federal Payments in 2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today outlined the urgent need to reduce the deficit while avoiding default. A plan offered by the Senate Majority Leader would reduce the deficit by $2.2 trillion without affecting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security and without raising taxes. The bill – which will likely be voted on in the Senate this week – includes $1.2 trillion in discretionary spending cuts and $100 billion in mandatory savings over the next 10 years. One-hundred percent of the spending cuts included in the bill have support from Republicans.

“This week, we have an opportunity to avoid default, reduce the deficit by $2.2 trillion dollars, and protect Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid,” Brown said. “The debate on the debt and deficit has been complicated and contentious.  But a default should be unimaginable. A default would amount to a permanent tax hike on all Americans: interest rates could soar for anyone applying for a home mortgage, a car loan, or college loan, and we simply can’t allow that.”

Brown released a county-by-county report detailing federal expenditures in 2009. If Congress does not act in the next week, revenue coming into the government will not be enough to cover its obligations—risking the disruption of at least some government payments to bondholders and recipients and providers of Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid, veteran benefits, military payments, student loan payments and many others. 

A disruption in Social Security benefits would affect more than 54 million Americans nationally, including 2,120,025 in Ohio, while a disruption in Medicare benefits would affect more than 45 million Americans, including 1,785,961 Ohioans.  In our military community, 22.5 million veterans across the country, including 951,024 in Ohio, would be at risk of having their benefits disrupted. Among the more than 204,000 active duty troops who may stop receiving payments for their service, 7,068 reside in Ohio.

The federal government contributed $3.2 trillion to local communities’ economies across the country in fiscal year 2009. These investments include Social Security, Medicare, and grants to local and state governments for law enforcement, transportation, and other investments critical to communities.  Without these resources, states and localities may be forced to raise property taxes on families, who would already be facing additional burdens as their benefits disappeared. 

See Related Downloads (to the right) for details on federal expenditures (in thousands dollars) by Ohio county.

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