Weekly Columns

Spending Cuts & Long-Term Deficit Reduction

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Washington, August 17, 2011 | comments

Congress raising the debt limit has been routine for way too long. This practice is a big part of why America is facing an economic and debt crisis.  I am working to change Congress’ bad routines and implement practices that are fiscally responsible so we can get our financial house in order and allow our economy to recover.

In April, President Obama asked Congress to do what it has always done and pass a “clean” debt limit increase. However, as a result of this routine, the past decade saw the national debt more than double from $5.6 trillion to $14.3 trillion with no significant debt-reduction bills attached to any of its 10 debt-limit increases.  This way of doing business is over.

A new routine and standard is being adopted.  If the debt limit must be raised, there needs to be an equal amount of spending cuts over the following decade, just as there was in the Budget Control Act. If Congress continues to produce spending cuts larger than debt limit increases for the next 10 years, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) calculates that we will balance the budget by 2021 without raising taxes over current rates.

This method could produce savings of more than $5 trillion over the next decade, and even more in the following decade. Ultimately, this will force our government to live within its means and end the era of debt limit increases.

While I would have preferred larger spending cuts now, the spending cuts enacted through the Budget Control Act put America on a path that will lower our outrageous deficits.  Ultimately, wasteful spending in all areas of the government must be eliminated because the current level of government spending is unsustainable.

For too long, the federal government has irresponsibly and recklessly spent way beyond its means.  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. Budget cut after budget cut, we are making a down payment on a new way for government to operate. Now, we must keep working to lessen excessive government regulation and keep taxes low so small businesses can expand.  This will help get our financial house in order, strengthen the economy and get folks in Tennessee back to work.

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