Tuesday, February 11, 2014

ALARMING CBO REPORT HIGHLIGHTS NEED TO CUT SPENDING

Dear Readers:

Once again I would like to share some information from my Representative, Phil Roe, MD. 

Once again, President Obama missed the first Monday of February deadline to submit his budget blueprint to Congress.  It’s no surprise that just days before the deadline, President Obama informed Congress that he would be late again as the Office of Management and Budget announced that the budget for FY2015 would be delivered to Congress on March 4.  The late delivery increases the chance that spending is left on autopilot in a continuing resolution, rather than debating and adjusting our priorities from year to year.  To get our nation’s fiscal house back in order, both the president and members of Congress must work within the deadlines set by law. 

Since becoming the majority in 2010, House Republicans have fought tirelessly to rein in wasteful spending, and we’ve been successful, particularly on the discretionary side.  For the first time since the Korean War, federal spending has been cut four consecutive years.  But that’s not enough. On Tuesday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its Budget and Economic Outlook. We’ve made progress in getting the president to rein in the outrageous deficits that defined his first term, with CBO predicting a $514 billion deficit for FY2014.  But still, in 10 years CBO predicts a budget deficit again surpassing $1 trillion with nearly $10 trillion more in national debt, so there is a lot more work to be done. 

Too many in Washington don’t seem to understand the concept of a family budget.  When you and I are spending more than we can afford, we sit down with our families and set priorities, tighten our belts and live within our means.  That’s not how it works in Washington. 

Many still claim that raising taxes is the best way to deal with our crippling national debt.  The numbers released by CBO, however, make it painfully clear that Washington does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem.  In fact, in 2013, the government took in more revenue than at any point in our nation’s history.  While we’ve made progress in shrinking the discretionary side, we’ve got to start looking at the budget at a whole, including mandatory spending programs, and make reforms to ensure the America we leave behind for our children and grandchildren is a prosperous one. 

House Republicans have made progress toward spending reductions, but with a Democrat-led Senate and President Obama in the White House, we can’t do it alone.  It’s not going to be easy and it’s going to take a lot of compromise, but I truly believe we can take steps together to get our country back on track.  Of course that process would start with President Obama submitting his budget on time so the Appropriations Committee can look at spending priorities and bring forward bills to fund government operations. 
The budget agreement passed in December gives us an opportunity to finally start evaluating a whole host of programs, but it’s unfortunate that, despite this bipartisan agreement, the president is still making things more difficult. 

I’ll be the first to admit that the bipartisan budget agreement for FY 2014 was not perfect (for instance, I’m working to fix the cost-of-living adjustment for military retirees) and neither was the omnibus spending bill, but we managed to cut spending by $21 billion.  Still, there is more work to be done.  I will continue working to put our country on the path to a more prosperous future.

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