Ensuring that we leave future generations a growing economy and sustainable federal budget are among the most important legacies that this generation can pass along. But these are by no means guaranteed. If allowed to continue on its projected course, the United States economy could be ruined beyond repair. We must act soon to avoid such a fiscal catastrophe. That is why I have made reducing the deficit my priority while representing you in Congress. In fact, my colleagues call me everything from "Mr. Fiscal Responsibility" to "Dr. Doom" because I am such a fierce advocate for balanced and honest federal budgeting.
I have used my seats on the Budget Committee and in the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition to advocate for making the hard choices that lead to balanced budgets: cutting spending, closing tax loopholes, and being upfront with taxpayers about how the federal government spends their money. I think that government must tighten its belt, just as families and businesses have done, and that's why I voted for across-the-board spending cuts. I do not request or support "earmarks" for special spending projects.
While emergency spending wasnecessary to help stabilize and spur our economy during the recession, it is now time to focus on the hard choices we must make on entitlements, other spending, and revenue. Everything must be on the table. We need to set aside our ideological biases and take practical steps to create a sustainable economic future.
Controlling the federal deficit is extremely difficult. It takes both strong leadership and strong tools. I supported efforts to reestablish the statutory pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules that led to budget surpluses in the 1990s and have helped lead the fight to curb our long-term budget imbalance by introducing the SAFE Commission. I'm thankful PAYGO is now the law of the land, and the President modeled his bipartisan fiscal commission after the SAFE Commission. The President's Commission has recently released preliminary reports on long-term proposals for cutting the deficit.
We must be prepared to make tough choices to get our fiscal house in order. Denial and gridlock will not strengthen America; supporting major changes in fiscal policy will. We need markets and businesses to have confidence that we can control spending and move to more balanced budgets. Failure to develop and adopt such a plan will prolong the economic slowdown, delay the creation of millions of private-sector jobs, and risk the credit rating of the federal government.