On Dec. 12, I voted in favor of passage of the Bipartisan Budget Act for fiscal year 2014. It is a budget package that takes a long overdue first step toward rolling back the devastating sequestration cuts that continue to hurt our constituents.

Like so many compromises, this package includes policies I don’t support, and leaves out some I do. We must find a way to continue providing jobless benefits to the long-term unemployed, especially as the unfortunate partisan gridlock in Washington, D.C., has inhibited the strong economic recovery that will put Oregonians and Americans back to work. Also, I regret that this bill continues the harmful trend of looking to federal employee compensation as a place to save money; it is especially disappointing that this includes some of our retired service members. Federal employees are not the cause of our long-term deficit, and they must stop being used as political pawns.

Despite the shortcomings of this deal, it does several important things: it partially repeals sequestration; allows for continued payments to doctors treating Medicare patients; reduces the deficit; and brings two years of certainty to the federal budget process.

I hope this is a first step toward a more collaborative budget process and an open dialogue on our shared priorities for federal spending. It is not perfect, and it is not a final solution, but it is a negotiated bipartisan effort that, in the balance, is worthy of support.

Suzanne Bonamici

Member of Congress

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