Our national debt is out of control. In the last ten years, it has more than doubled from $7.1 trillion to $17.6 trillion. Today, every American’s share of the debt is more than $55,000. That could go a long way towards paying off your mortgage, covering home heating costs, or paying tuition for a four-year degree at Pitt-Johnstown or Penn State Beaver.
We paid almost $416 billion in interest on that debt just last year. Rather than sending billions to China, we could better spend that money on health care, roads, and other infrastructure.
Failure to address the debt and deficits threatens to rob our children and grandchildren of the opportunity and prosperity that previous generations enjoyed. The crushing debt and deficit also directly threatens our ability to pay for promises like Social Security, Medicare, a strong national defense, and care for our veterans.
With responsible fiscal policies, we can eliminate persistent deficits and begin paying our debts so that we will have the money necessary to keep the promises that we have made.
The House passed a budget on April 10th that reduces spending by $5.1 trillion and balances in ten years. Importantly, it protects and preserves Medicare and Social Security for current retirees and future generations.
In contrast, President Obama offered another budget that increases taxes by $1.8 trillion, expands the government, does nothing to save Medicare and Social Security, and never balances.
The President’s budget proposal received only two votes in the House. It was rejected by a huge bipartisan majority in a 2-413 vote, including every Representative — Republican and Democrat alike — from Pennsylvania.
At least President Obama offered a budget for consideration, even though he submitted it more than a month late.
April 15th is an infamous date in America. It the day our taxes are due. It also happens to be the date by which Congress is supposed to pass a budget so you can see how your money will be spent.
Unfortunately, Harry Reid’s Senate does not believe you are entitled to know how he intends to spend your money and will not even consider a budget this year.
This cavalier irresponsibility highlights the need for the Congressional Pay for Performance Act, which I introduced on January 15, 2014. This straightforward
legislation requires Congress to comply with deadlines just like everyone else.
The principle is simple. If either house in Congress does not perform one of its core constitutional duties in a timely manner, it should not get paid until the work is done.
President Obama and Harry Reid’s Senate should approve the House’s responsible budget. By doing so, we can hang a sign on our nation’s doorstep that says “America is Open for Business” and usher in a new era of growth and job-creation. That is what is needed to allow us to pay for the promises we have made to our seniors and veterans, and provide the kinds of opportunities to our children and grandchildren that previous generations enjoyed.