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A missed opportunity to control government spending

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By Congressman Bob Goodlatte

A missed opportunity – that is what we witnessed this week in Washington. The funding package passed by the United States Senate and the House of Representatives and signed into law by the President does nothing to address the fundamental fiscal challenges facing our nation. The proposal raises the debt limit until February and merely delays discussion on debt and spending for a short time. During that time, the government will borrow roughly $200 billion dollars more. Simply put, this legislation is a missed opportunity to make real changes to the culture of excess spending at the root of our nation’s ballooning debt.

 

The unwillingness of the President and Senate to negotiate has been very disappointing and resulted in a measure that does not provide the reforms required to address the nearly $17 trillion dollar national debt. It also fails to address one of the greatest contributors to our debt – entitlement spending, including the massive new entitlement program coming down the pike in the form of Obamacare. Confronting this growing debt is not something we can continue to delay, only focusing on our fiscal crisis when are forced to because we have not funded the federal government.

 

As the national debt climbs to $17 trillion dollars, a new study by the Harvard University Institute of Politics helps to put the size of the national debt in perspective. Every person in the United States, including children and the unemployed, would owe $53,000 dollars. If you split the bill for the debt among every employed American, it would amount to more than $123,000 dollars each. If the debt was in the form of a stack of dollar bills, the result would be a stack stretching to the moon and back…twice.

 

After passage of the Senate’s proposal this week, the same problems still remain in front of us as a nation. The fact of the matter is that unrestrained government spending and unsustainable entitlement programs, which make up nearly 70 percent of our spending, remain untouched by the measure passed in the House. Getting spending under control and reducing our debt should be our nation’s goals, and this bill did not meet those goals. That is why I could not support the proposal.

 

After years of debate, it is time to take action. Generations of Americans have worked hard and fought valiantly to protect our freedoms and build a thriving global economy. However, our freedoms as a nation are being threatened -- not by an aggressive foreign regime, but by the oppressive forces of debt. We have the responsibility to ensure a better, stronger America for future generations. I remain committed to looking for a better way forward, and making the tough, but necessary, decisions. We must immediately begin work to implement tax and entitlement reform, and ultimately balance the budget while continuing a dialogue about how we achieve real deficit reduction.