Fourth District Congressman Jim Himes was honored Thursday by the non-partisan Concord Coalition for his work on fiscal responsibility and his support of the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles plan to reduce the federal deficit by $4 trillion.The Concord Coalition, a nationwide, grassroots organization advocating for responsible fiscal policy, honored Democratic and Republican House members who took stances that would put the nation on a more responsible and sustainable course.“We all know we need to reduce the deficit, and it's past time to get it done,” Himes commented. “I voted for [the Simpson-Bowles plan] because it's what our country needs to do, it's what strengthens the middle class. If we're going to have the resources we need to invest in transportation and education, keep the services running that individuals and businesses depend on, and honor our commitments to our veterans and seniors, we need a bold plan that cuts spending and rebalances our tax structure to lower rates and ensure everyone is fairly contributing.
“I'm honored by this recognition, but this isn't about an award -- it's about working together to move our country forward” Himes said.
Himes, a Democrat running for his third term, received the 2012 Paul E. Tsongas Economic Patriot Award from the Concord Coalition, recognizing his vote for the bipartisan Cooper-LaTourette budget, which was modeled after the deficit-reduction recommendations of the Simpson-Bowles plan.Reacting to the honor for Himes, the campaign manager for Steve Obsitnik, the Republican running against Himes, said it is a “ridiculous notion that Congressman Jim Himes should be awarded for his so-called work to reduce the federal deficit.”“The notion that Congressman Himes has made any effort to reduce the federal deficit is as far from the truth as it could possibly be,” said Amanda Bergen, Obsitnik spokesperson. “He has voted to spend more and more of the taxpayers’ money at nearly every opportunity.”As examples, Bergen said Himes had voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, with a “real cost” of $1 trillion to $1.7 trillion; “Cap and Trade,” with an estimated annual cost of $144.8 billion; the “Cash for Clunker” program, costing $2.85 billion; and “Obamacare,” costing $2.6 trillion in its first decade.
“Furthermore, during a debate in 2008, candidate Himes ridiculed his opponent for racking up the national debt to what he called insane limits,” Bergen said. “Himes said, ‘We are coming through a period where we have been fiscally insane.’ And, ‘We are saddled with a $10 trillion national debt. That matters.’“Since then, Congressman Himes has added more than $6 trillion to that debt, sending it soaring above $16 trillion,” Bergen said.