The debate in Washington and around the country is heated. Most can agree that the federal government has a spending problem, but there are many different ideas on how that problem can be fixed. One thing is clear, when I took office in January the tone on Capitol Hill was that of the status quo. Particularly, the Senate and the White House did not want to make any spending cuts and were actively supporting budgets that would increase spending. In less than 100 days in office, I voted for the largest spending cut in the history of our Congress and I wanted to take a moment and share with you why I took the actions that I did.
I voted for H.R. 1473, the continuing resolution that funds the government for the remainder of fiscal year 2011. While I am disappointed that the cuts didn’t go deeper, I refuse to play political games with our troops. The main reason I voted for this bill is so that our brave men and women putting their lives on the line around the world to defend our freedom could have peace of mind that they would be taken care of. If we did not pass this bill, the military would have been defunded and used as leverage for future deals and that is unacceptable.
I want to stress that I am very disappointed in the lack of leadership from the Senate and the president and their unwillingness to make serious spending cuts. For months the House has been voting to cut spending and reduce the deficit while the Senate and the administration have refused to bring any viable options to the table or any vote to the Senate floor. The president’s new budget plan that he released this week was more of a campaign strategy than an act of true leadership in a time of serious financial turmoil.
Although they were not as large as any House Republican would have liked, the cuts we made this week are the largest non-defense spending cuts in American history. Even with the cuts being the biggest overall reduction since World War II, it only slows the bleeding. This is not a solution to our deficit spending. Last Congress went on a spending spree with no limit. They were not fiscally responsible and did not pass a budget for 2011, which is why we are in this predicament. It is time for the government to cut up its credit cards and get Americans back to work. We no longer can afford the status quo of the Washington bureaucrats; we have to start acting like Main Street America. That means we have to tighten our belts like the people of the first district, who have been doing more with less, for years.
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan has proposed a budget which will cut trillions in spending, as did the Republican Study Committee. These proposals, as well as the proposal from the president’s Independent Deficit Commission, provide us options and an opportunity to include the American people in a dialogue on how to get our country’s fiscal house in order. Making budget cuts are never easy. I’m a small businessman and health care provider — I know what it is like to have to make tough choices and live within a budget. Our future generations will not have the same opportunity to pursue the American dream because they will be indebted to the federal government for today’s fiscal irresponsibility.
We can claim a victory for the American people by now framing our future discussions on spending cuts, getting our financial house in order and Americans back to work. I look forward to continuing the fight against this outlandish deficit spending in the upcoming budget and debt ceiling debates. It is there that we can discuss a balanced budget amendment and a way for America to pay down our debt. I want to encourage you to voice your opinion to me on this matter and offer suggestions as to how better the government can cut spending and start paying down our skyrocketing debt. I hope you will also direct your attention to the U.S. Senate. Urge the Senate to do their proper due diligence by stepping up to the plate and holding their leadership to the task at hand on behalf of the American people. Together, let’s dig in and dig out the United States.