We must cut, cap and balance

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By Congressman Bob Goodlatte

Currently the leadership of both the House and the Senate are engaged in ongoing discussions with President Obama about the future of our country. The negotiations center around the amount of debt the federal government can incur. Unfortunately, because of continued out-of-control spending, we are facing a situation where Congress is once again being asked to increase that amount in order to avoid default.


The stakes are very high in this debate. Allowing the U.S. to default on its creditors would unleash drastic economic consequences for the United States and its citizens. However, it would be irresponsible for Congress to extend the limit on the national credit card without reversing the culture of spending that exists in Washington.


In the coming days the House of Representatives will consider legislation called the Cut, Cap and Balance Act, which will take the necessary steps to bring fiscal responsibility back to Washington. Most importantly the legislation is contingent on passing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, like the one I introduced on the first day of this Congress.

Passage of a balanced budget Constitutional amendment would help put an end to deficit spending because Congress would no longer be allowed to spend more than it takes in. This in turn would help eliminate the need for future increases in the debt limit because the federal government would no longer need to routinely borrow money to finance its spending.


Additionally, the legislation cuts government spending immediately and caps total spending over the next ten years, putting us on a path to a balanced budget.


Let me share with you some staggering numbers. The debt held by the public has more than doubled in the past 5 years and our total debt will overtake the size of the entire U.S. economy this year. The interest paid on the debt is currently projected to more than triple over the next ten years. Government spending as a share of the economy will increase by nearly 70 percent between now and 2035. We simply cannot continue down this fiscally irresponsible path.


It is time Congress takes control of spending instead of letting it control the Congress. The debt ceiling debate is one piece of a much larger problem we must get serious about addressing before it is too late. I believe we need to cut spending now, and that we must also enact institutional reforms such as passing a balanced budget amendment and other measures that will bind the federal government’s hands and cut up its credit cards, bringing fiscal sanity back to Washington.


To contact me about this or any other matter, please visit my website at www.goodlatte.house.gov.