In these difficult times Mississippi families are setting priorities and living within a budget, and government should be no different. We need to put an end to wasteful earmarks. We also need to do a top-to-bottom spending review of all federal agencies. We do not need to just cut spending, we need to change the way we operate government and that is what I have been doing as Chairman of Appropriations in the Mississippi State Senate.
In February, President Obama stated that "We will not be adding more to the national debt. To use a sort of an analogy that families are familiar with, we're not going to be running up the credit card anymore. That's important, and that's hard to do. But it's necessary to do." Despite this rhetoric, the President has asked Congress to vote on a clean debt limit increase that would necessitate raising the statutory debt limit by $2.4 trillion dollars to prevent default through the end of 2012. As recently as May 25th, Secretary Geithner said, "Our plan is for Congress to pass the debt limit. Our fall-back plan is for Congress to pass the debt limit and our fall-back plan to the fall-back plan is for Congress to pass the debt limit."
However, on May 31, 2011, the House of Representatives, by overwhelming 318-97 vote, rejected H.R. 1954, which would implement such a debt limit increase. This vote made clear that a debt limit increase that does not include significant spending cuts and structural reforms has zero chance of passing the House of Representatives, and I am strongly opposed to this unreasonable proposal that would not only keep our country on a fiscally unsustainable path, but continue business as usual in Washington. Without substantial decreases in spending, I will continue to reject an increase in the debt limit. It is time for the President and the Democratic leadership to get serious about Washington's spending problems. The President has yet to come forward with a detailed plan that reduces the national debt and addresses entitlement reform, and we cannot have honest and forthright discussions on how to address this issue without such a plan.