GUEST POST: Cutting Spending Must Be A Top Priority
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Rep. Doc Hastings represents Washington State's Fourth Congressional District.
The American Dream has always been based on the idea that our children and grandchildren will have more opportunities and a brighter future than our own. To keep this dream alive, Congress has a responsibility to address the federal government’s out-of-control spending and reduce the crushing burden of debt we are leaving for future generations.
For far too long, President Obama and the Democrat-controlled Senate have refused to acknowledge that the government even has a spending addiction. After four straight years of running deficits of over a trillion dollars, our national debt now stands at more than $16.4 trillion – half of which was added since President Obama took office in 2009. This equals to an astounding $52,000 owed for every American man, woman and child.
Our current level of spending is reckless and unsustainable. We have seen firsthand the havoc that out-of-control government spending and massive debt can have on countries as images of chaos and dysfunction in Greece and Italy play out on the evening news. The only way to ensure this does not happen in America is to tighten our belts and start living within our means.
Over the last two years, the House of Representatives has considered key reforms to rein in spending. Specifically, I supported adding a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution to prevent the federal government from spending more than it takes in, ending the bailouts, and stopping federal taxpayer dollars from funding Presidential campaigns.
In addition, last March, I voted for a budget blueprint that would cut spending by more than $5 trillion. This was done in part by reforming entitlement programs that make up more than half of the federal budget and grow each year with no action by Congress.
Unfortunately, the Senate refused to act on these proposals, or provide any alternatives to make real reforms to reduce federal spending. Thus, yet again, the Secretary of the Treasury notified Congress that the statutory debt limit was reached on December 31, 2012 and that within the next two months Congress must act or government spending will cease.
Now is the time for President Obama and Senate Democrats to acknowledge that the government has a serious spending problem. Congress must accept real spending cuts and reforms to government programs in order to ensure they are available for future generations.
Our growing national debt is the most serious threat facing our nation. Without meaningful reform of entitlements and significant spending reductions, we will be leaving our children and grandchildren with fewer economic opportunities and an uncertain future. I am committed to working with my colleagues this year to find meaningful solutions to the fiscal challenges that face our nation.