Weekly Columns

We Must Clean Up Our Country’s Fiscal Mess

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Washington, July 27, 2011 | comments

The closer our government gets to hitting the debt ceiling, the more anxious the atmosphere becomes across the country.  No one knows exactly what will happen if our debt ceiling is reached; however, the potential consequences to the economy are too catastrophic to risk it.  To avoid a downgrade on our bond rating, Congress must pass legislation that raises the debt limit, gets our financial house in order and puts us on a path to fiscal sustainability with enforceable spending cuts.

In a House Financial Services Committee hearing, the president of Standard & Poor's, Deven Sharma, said that he does not expect the United States to default while reiterating that the country's long-term debt situation is the biggest threat to its credit rating. He stated: “The more important issue is really the long-term growth rate of the debt ... that is the more important issue at hand.”

While the House has passed a credible plan – the Cut, Cap and Balance Act – that puts our country on a path to a balanced budget, the administration and Democrats in the Senate have yet to introduce concrete proposals to protect our national security by cutting spending and avoiding a default on our nation’s debt.  The Cut, Cap and Balance Act would help clean up our country’s fiscal mess by cutting trillions of dollars in wasteful spending, restraining future out-of-control spending and allowing the government to pay its bills.

Unfortunately, the Democratic-controlled Senate would not even allow a debate on the legislation.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid whipped his Democrat colleagues into voting for a procedural motion to kill the legislation.  It is nonsensical to deny a debate on this important bill. This country cannot afford to default on its debt because President Obama and some in Congress are playing politics.

While I believe the Cut, Cap and Balance Act is the best way forward to deal with the current debt crisis, Democrats in the Senate and White House refuse to go along with this approach.  I am still hopeful we can achieve legislation that includes significant cuts to the government’s bloated budget and that protects those in East Tennessee from higher interest rates if this country defaults on its debt.  Additionally, we must pay our bills.  It is my top priority to make sure our service members, seniors and bondholders are taken care of.

I will continue to advocate for a vote on a Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment to solve the fiscal crisis in the long-term. Congress spends more than it takes in, and because of that, we are threatening the quality of life for future generations.  Almost every state, including Tennessee, is required to balance their budget, and it’s time for the federal government to do the same.

As a fiscal conservative, the outrageous, unsustainable level of spending by Congress appalls me. It is time to rein in the spending because this fiscal crisis is a matter of national security.


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