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Government Spending and the looming shutdown
By US Rep. Jeff Duncan
web posted April 7, 2011
OPINION – Throughout our nation’s proud history, the
United States has proven its ability to overcome any obstacle with a
combination of American ingenuity and perseverance. However,
decades of neglect from out-of-touch Washington politicians from both
parties is beginning to take its toll on Land of the Free and the Home
of the Brave.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, in 2011 the United States
will pay over $207 billion in interest alone on our $14.2 trillion
national debt. To put this in perspective, our country’s interest
payments on the debt will exceed the total cost of Medicare by
2018. By 2060 the CATO Institute projects that our country will
have to devote 100% of US tax revenue on interest payments alone.
For decades both Republicans and Democrats helped fuel our addiction to
government spending, but the American people expect this Congress to
finally cut up the credit cards and get spending under control.
A few months ago, the Republican controlled House of Representatives
passed a spending resolution to fund government for the rest of this
fiscal year. The House was constitutionally required to draft
this continuing spending resolution because the previous Democrat
controlled Congress failed to pass a single appropriations spending
bill last year.
The amount ultimately cut in the House version of the bill was lower
than I had hoped. The spending bill cut $61 billion dollars from this
year’s budget, a $100 billion dollar decrease from President Obama’s
proposal but only a modest 1.7% overall reduction to federal
spending. During the debate on the spending resolution, I voted
to cut billions of additional dollars. While many of those
amendments failed, I cast those votes because Congress should be doing
what we’re supposed to do, not what’s easy to do.
While I believe the GOP’s first plan didn’t go far enough in addressing
our country’s spending addiction, at least they have a plan and at
least it cuts something. Further, Budget Committee Chairman Paul
Ryan deserves praise for releasing a serious budget proposal that makes
more substantial cuts that right-size our federal government for the
For those keeping score at home, the Republican controlled House of
Representatives has passed a proposal that curtails some spending and
funds the government through the rest of this fiscal year, and proposed
a budget that balances over time and eventually pays off our national
debt, while the Democrat controlled Senate has produced
absolutely nothing. As a result, when the latest spending
resolution expires at midnight on April 8th, Senate Democrats will
cause a partial government shutdown.
Democrats have used words like ‘draconian’ and ‘irresponsible’ to
describe Republican spending proposals. If cutting a modest 1.7% of
overall government spending is “irresponsible” then what do we call the
debt that we’re passing on to our children and grandchildren?
If Democrats can’t swallow a meager $61 billion dollar cut to
government spending then they’re asking for a fight and deserve
one. Congress needs to accept the same financial realities that
families and businesses are facing across the country and look for
practical ways to lower costs. As a small business owner, when times
were tough I had to set priorities and cut back. Our government
can’t spend its way out of recession and it can’t borrow its way out of
debt. Some of these cuts won’t be easy, but we’re all going to
have to row this boat together if we’re going to get our country headed
in the right direction.
I believe that our nation has delayed this spending battle long enough,
and I’m ready to fight to put an end to generational theft and protect
the financial security of our nation.
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