Weekly Columns

Debt Agreement Not Perfect, But Promotes Economic Certainty

f t # e
Washington, August 3, 2011 | comments

In an effort to get our fiscal house in order and avoid economic calamity, Congress passed legislation that cut spending, kept taxes low, advanced a Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment and allowed our country to keep paying its bills. The Budget Control Act of 2011 is by no means perfect—but it is a good first step that is consistent with conservative principles.

For too long, the federal government has recklessly spent way beyond its means, and that is why we are in this position today.  The president’s policies have resulted in higher deficits and have failed to create jobs, which is exactly why many are frustrated.  Since President Obama took office on January 20, 2009, the national debt has increased by $3.7 trillion.   To put that in perspective, it took the U.S. from 1776 until 1992 to accumulate the same amount of debt that President Obama accumulated in two and a half years.

While I would have preferred larger spending cuts now, this bill immediately cuts spending by $917 billion and does not raise taxes. This bill also guarantees at least $1.2 trillion in additional savings and ensures an up-or-down vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment.

A couple of weeks ago, the House passed an even better plan – the Cut, Cap and Balance Act – that puts our country on a path to a balanced budget; however, Democrats in the Senate rejected the plan.  That was unfortunate, because it would have helped to clean up our country’s fiscal mess by cutting even more wasteful spending than the agreement we reached.  Additionally, it required a Balanced Budget Amendment be sent to the states.  

Although I would have preferred to see Cut, Cap and Balance implemented into law, I believe the Budget Control Act of 2011 is the best we could achieve with the current administration. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released an analysis that confirms the Budget Control Act of 2011 cuts government spending by more than it increases the debt limit – reaffirming the principle Republicans successfully fought for throughout this debate. This is a good start.

Furthermore, all this spending has been cut without raising taxes.  We had to fight the Administration at every turn to stop a massive, job-killing tax hike, but in the end, the Administration had to settle on a deal that did not include its preferred option of higher taxes on the American people.

Finally, the agreement gives us a chance to convince 290 representatives and 67 Senators that our country needs a Balanced Budget Amendment.  I truly believe that the federal government needs the type of accountability that a Balanced Budget Amendment brings because year after year it is spending more than it takes in.  I look forward to supporting this Amendment.

Since the American people entrusted House Republicans with the majority last January, we’ve changed the debate from how much we spend to how much we save. When Congress passed the Budget Control Act, it made a down payment on realizing these savings. The agreement implements the largest cuts in history, which is a huge victory for the American people.   It is my hope this resolution will ultimately create jobs in Tennessee and put our country back on the path to prosperity.

f t # e