Ellsworth Calls For A Freeze On Federal Spending
As President Barack Obama prepares to deliver his first State of the Union Address Wednesday night, one local Congressman is hoping the President's message will focus on reigning in federal spending. Rep. Brad Ellsworth and several members of the fiscally-conservative Blue Dog Coalition called on the President to support a freeze on all non-defense discretionary spending in the upcoming Fiscal Year 2011 budget. The move would hold federal spending at current levels and could save the taxpayers as much as $20 billion.
"For too long, Congress has paid lip service to restoring fiscal responsibility in Washington and stood by as the bills piled up. While freezing federal spending will not solve all of our budget problems, it's a step in the right direction - holding the line on spending and sending an important message that we're serious about getting our fiscal house in order," said Ellsworth. "I hope the President will use this historic moment to shine the spotlight on our troubling fiscal policies and lay out his plan for addressing these challenges head-on. I stand ready to work with him and members of both parties to eliminate unnecessary spending and restore fiscal sanity in Washington."
The text of the letter to President Obama follows:
The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20500
Dear President Obama:
In August 2009, the Congressional Budget Office released revised deficit projections that projected over $9 trillion and 8.5% GDP in deficits by 2019. CBO Director Doug Elmendorf said of this projection, "Over the long term, the budget remains on an unsustainable path." We could not agree more.
In last year's budget message you stated, "We must begin the process of making the tough choices necessary to restore fiscal discipline, cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term in office, and put our Nation on sound fiscal footing."
Today we are writing to request that you help fulfill that pledge by including a freeze of non-defense related discretionary spending in your upcoming Fiscal Year 2011 budget proposal.
We are in complete agreement with you that this situation calls for serious steps to be taken. While the majority of our debt and projected deficits were inherited from the Bush administration, it falls to us to put our nation back on the right track
A first step is to freeze discretionary spending across all non-defense related agencies and departments. This simple freeze from the FY2010 levels will demonstrate required fiscal restraint and provide a positive step toward reducing future deficits.
More will need to be done to get our fiscal house in order, but we believe this freeze in non-defense related discretionary spending is a good place to begin. We hope you will seriously consider our request and join us in our efforts on behalf of the American taxpayer.
Brad Ellsworth (IN)
Kathy Dahlkemper (PA)
Patrick J. Murphy (PA)
Michael Arcuri (NY)