Congressman Jim Cooper

Representing the 5th District of Tennessee
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Budget and Economy


The biggest crisis our nation faces is our fiscal future, and we must act soon to start solving these problems.

As you know, I’ve spent decades talking about these issues. In fact, I've been called everything from  “A Budget Cassandra”  to “Mr. Fiscal Responsibility” and “Dr. Doom” because I am such a fierce advocate for balanced and honest federal budgeting. I've served on the Budget and the Oversight and Government Reform Committees and used my position in the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition to advocate for making the hard choices that lead to balanced budgets: cutting spending, closing tax loopholes, and being upfront with taxpayers about how the federal government spends their money. Everything must be on the table – spending and revenue.

So far, only one bipartisan and balanced budget has been introduced in Congress that's big enough to address our problems -the Simpson-Bowles budget alternative that I introduced in 2012. Although it didn't win the support of the majority in Congress, it was praised by budget experts and newspapers all over the country as a serious effort that would actually work.

I've also supported a balanced budget amendment, voted for across-the-board spending cuts and worked to reinstate "pay-as-you-go" rules into law. I've introduced bipartisan bills to eliminate wasteful spending and prevent agencies from duplicating programs that already exist. The main ideas behind my No Budget, No Pay Act, which would stop paying Congress if it fails to pass our budget and spending bills on time, became the law of the land in early 2013.

We need citizens, business leaders and elected officials to work together to protect the future of our nation. From debt ceiling debates to fiscal cliffs, I believe delay is never an option. Every day we wait adds over $17 billion to our debt, prolongs the economic slowdown, delays the creation of millions of private-sector jobs, and risks the credit rating of the federal government.

Links & Additional Information

What is the Debt Ceiling?

Congressional Budget Office (CBO)

House Budget Committee

Financial Report of the United States from the Department of the Treasury

Current U.S. Debt

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

Government Accountability Office (GAO)

Calculate Your Tax Receipt


More on Budget and Economy

Mar 12, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Last week, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper spoke at a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee. The hearing allowed Members to question Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and discuss the FY15 budget request from the Department of Defense (DOD).

In his remarks at the hearing, Cooper said DOD should get discretion when applying cuts from sequestration.

“Why don’t we untie the hands of our own Pentagon, so that you can be all that you can be, so that you can be as effective as possible?” Cooper said.

Feb 27, 2014

Welcome to our #coopergraphics page. No fancy graphic designers here, just a staff trying to make infographics about what's going on in Congress. We're always looking for new ideas, so send us an e-mail if you have suggestions or questions.

Taxpayers' Right to Know: My bill on duplicative programs passed the House on February 25, 2014. Check out the full GAO report on Duplication & Cost Savings here.

Dec 12, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON—U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5) today supported a House bill that will fund the government for the next two fiscal years, but stood firm in demanding a comprehensive budget solution for America's long-term debt and deficit problems.

"This is a puny deal but it's better than no deal at all," Cooper said. "It shows that Congress can keep government open, but not fix our fundamental budget problems. I will keep working harder than ever on major reforms of Congress and American government."

Nov 22, 2013
Press Release

Stuck in the Middle: U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, punching bag of hardcore liberals, puts up his dukes in a wide-ranging Scene interview

By Steve Cavendish and Steven Hale

(Reprinted from the Nashville Scene)

We've lost track of how many times we've heard it from Democrats over the years: Jim Cooper's a great guy and really smart and ... he's a Republican, right?

Nov 21, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON—U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-5) has cosponsored a bill that will curb federal payments to deceased individuals.

Oct 24, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON—U.S. Reps. Jim Cooper (TN-5) and Aaron Schock (IL-18) recently introduced the Intergenerational Financial Obligations Reform (INFORM) Act, a bipartisan bill that would require the government to show the long-term consequences of its tax, spending and economic policies.

Oct 16, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper (TN-05) today joined a bipartisan group, led by Reps. Charlie Dent (PA-15) and Ron Kind (WI-03), in issuing the following statement in response to the deal to reopen the government and avoid a default on the nation's debts:

Oct 9, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON— Co-chairs of the fiscally conservative, Democratic Blue Dog Coalition—Reps. Jim Cooper (TN-05), Kurt Schrader (OR-05), John Barrow (GA-12) and Jim Matheson (UT-04)—today sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) reaffirming the Coalition's commitment to tackling our nation's long-term debt and deficit problems and offering support for a comprehensive budget solution.

Oct 7, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Jim Cooper (TN-05) and Ron Kind (WI-03) today sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner pledging their support for a "clean" continuing resolution (CR).

In the letter, Cooper and Kind assert that there is "more than enough bipartisan support in the House to pass a clean CR and reopen the government." One hundred ninety-seven Democrats have committed to supporting a CR, free of conditions, in order to get the federal government up-and-running again following a weeklong shutdown.

Oct 3, 2013
Press Release

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper today joined a group of moderate Democrats and Republicans in outlining a proposal to reopen government, returning 800,000 federal employees to work.

"In a weak economy, even a few days of government shutdown weaken America," Cooper said. "Congress needs to fund government now and stop partisan bickering."