February 26,2009

Senate Finance Chairman Baucus Comments On President’s FY2010 Budget

Baucus applauds commitment to health care reform, middle income tax relief

Washington, DC – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D?Mont.) commented today on President Barack Obama’s Fiscal Year 2010 budget. The Senate Finance Committee’s jurisdiction includes tax policy, Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program,Social Security, and international trade, and the panel was responsible for constructing more than half of the economic recovery package recently signed into law by the President. Baucus said today that he is pleased with investments in health care reform and middle income tax relief, and will continue to review the budget in the coming days.

“This is a strong proposal that focuses on urgent priorities. On health care, the President hasshown a clear commitment to action this year with an important and historic down payment on reform. Several elements in the budget are consistent with my ‘Call to Action’ white paperon health care reform, like efforts to reduce hospital readmissions, pay for high quality outcomes, and eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in the system. We can and must achieve comprehensive health care reform this year, and this budget gives us a launching pad to move forward,” Baucus said. “I’m also pleased to see the extension of the middle income tax cuts for millions upon millions of hard working American families. Tax incentives for savings and education are also encouraging. Some of the reforms and offsets contained or referenced in the budget, such as the limitation on itemized deductions, raise concerns and will require more study as we determine the best policies for getting America back on track.”

Baucus also expressed concern about cuts to agriculture programs, and said he would work to protect family farms while also watching closely to ensure that any changes to USDA’s Market Access Program do not reduce the ability of U.S. producers to promote their products overseas. Baucus welcomed the budget’s extended funding for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) and a commitment to open new markets and reduce trade barriers through the International Trade Administration. The Chairman was also encouraged by the President’s commitment to address climate change by establishing a cap and trade regime, and noted that the budget charts a sustainable fiscal course by keeping public debt as a percent of GDP stable beyond the current recession.

Baucus will convene a hearing of the Senate Finance Committee with Treasury Secretary Geithner next week to discuss the President’s budget proposal.

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