Rep. Gregg Harper: Budget deal not a touchdown - WSFA.com: News Weather and Sports for Montgomery, AL.

Rep. Gregg Harper: Budget deal not a touchdown

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PEARL, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

There's a new budget deal from Congress. That means we'll avoid another shutdown.

"Nobody's claiming this was a touchdown but I'd say it was a first down," said Harper.

Congressman Gregg Harper-R is ready to keep the budget ball moving in a positive direction. Getting the latest bill out of the House was the first step.

"I voted for the budget deal but the provision that reduced the cost of living adjustment for our military retirees is something I just hated," Harper admitted.

It's the provision that caused Mississippi Senators Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran to both vote no on the deal Wednesday. For Harper, it was the impact on active troops that helped make up his mind. No deal would've forced another round of sequestration cuts.

"That would've meant a reduction in troop strength, less money for projects to buy the necessary equipment that protects our men and women and gives them in theatre the ability to do the mission that they've been given," he explained.

Harper hopes they'll find a way to restore the benefits to vets. Meanwhile, he says they'll look for ways to spend smarter. He used that theory when he authored the "Kids First" bill. It would do away with the mandatory spending from the national political conventions.

"Take that $126 million dollars that it would cost over ten years and move that money over to NIH for additional pediatric research based on collaboration," Harper said.

The bill was in 10-year-old Gabriella Miller's honor. She died in October from brain cancer. Her parents sat in the gallery as the House passed the bill.

"Those kind of things make it worthwhile. We're doing something...good. You know, we reprioritized the use of our money," said Harper.

The Senate has not taken up the "Kids First" bill yet.

As for what's ahead, Harper says Obamacare is still the major issue Congress will have to deal with next year.

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