U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, M.D. (R-OK) released the following statement today after voting against the legislative branch appropriations bill, which increases Congress' budget three times the rate of inflation.
"Congress' decision to dramatically increase its budget while families across America are cutting back is an affront to every taxpayer. We should be leading by example, not hoarding taxpayer funds for our own perks and political convenience. Spending $500,000 on town hall promotion and $4 million on consultants for leadership offices is an embarrassment to this body," Dr. Coburn said, noting that his office has returned an average of $470,000 in unspent office account funds each year he has served in the U.S. Senate.
"This bill represents a failure of leadership in Congress among both Republicans and Democrats. With this bill we are not only earning our dismal 16 percent approval rating, but are undermining financial stewardship in every other area of government. If we can't make hard choices about how we run our offices, how can we expect anyone in government to do the same? Our government wastes at least $350 billion every year through fraud, mismanagement or duplication in part because agency heads have little to fear from congressional oversight," Dr. Coburn said.
"A Congress that so brazenly holds itself above the economic laws that govern everyday life should be held accountable and replaced by the American people. Of every dollar we spend this year we are borrowing 43 cents from the next generation. Any family that managed their personal finances that way would end up in bankruptcy. In fact, that is where the federal budget is headed if Congress doesn't wake up," Dr. Coburn added.
"Our national debt today is now $11.8 trillion and counting. Our debt will double in five years and triple in ten years. At the same time, the long-term unfunded liability for Social Security and Medicare is more than $100 trillion. We simply can't continue on this course any longer. Unfortunately, this bill shows that the leadership of both parties is not only failing to recognize the depth and severity of the problems before us but is willing to put us deeper in debt in order to satisfy their own short-term parochial and political desires," Dr. Coburn said.