Weekly Columns

Congress Must Pass A Fiscally Responsible Budget

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Washington, February 1, 2012 | comments

Yesterday, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a report that shows the deficit will exceed $1 trillion for the fourth consecutive fiscal year.  With another budget due soon, the president and Congress need a viable long-term plan to restore our national security and lift the massive burden of debt this nation is currently facing.  This debt burden is ultimately our greatest barrier to creating jobs because it threatens to slow economic growth.

We must slow spending and cut the deficit at a thoughtful, yet aggressive, rate.  With the Senate’s failure to produce or pass a budget for over 1,000 days, this government continues to run on autopilot without a fiscal plan – an unsustainable and expensive way to keep the government running.  It is simply not a viable solution for the future. The Senate, led by Harry Reid, has a responsibility to the American people to make the tough choices and pass a budget that enacts real, sustainable spending cuts because the health of our economy is on the line. We cannot afford another failure by the Senate to legislate.

The CBO also projected the jobless rate would rise to 8.9 percent by the end of 2012, and to 9.2 percent in 2013.  This means business as usual will keep Americans out of work well into the future.  It is yet another reminder that our rising deficit directly affects this nation’s jobless rate. If we want to get folks back to work, we must simultaneously work on lowering the deficit.

Reforms must come with an agenda focused on restoring economic growth and creating jobs. Ultimately, I believe Congress needs accountability, and that is why I support passage of a Balanced Budget Constitutional Amendment.  The amendment failed in the House last year, but it is the most important tool Congress can have to ensure future prosperity.  It would mandate future Congresses to balance the budget, except in the case of wars or military conflict.

A rising deficit and unemployment rate would be devastating for an already weak economy.  Our number one focus in Congress must remain on job creation, and that means we must get wasteful Washington spending under control, reduce unnecessary and burdensome regulations, revamp the tax code to encourage economic growth and work towards a more energy independent America by passing good policies like the Keystone XL pipeline.

Hardworking Tennessee taxpayers want relief, but do not want to see Congress put future generations further in debt to pay for current policies. We can and we must pay for these policies by eliminating wasteful Washington spending.

A better answer for the future of our nation would be to pass a budget that cuts spending and provides economic certainty. Tennesseans deserve fiscally responsible leadership and common sense solutions to get our country’s fiscal house in order. Congress, along with the president, needs to come to an agreement that leads to stabilization and declines the ratios of federal government debt to GDP and debt to revenue.


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