Our national debt now exceeds $12 trillion, or over $40,000 per man, woman and child in this country. This year alone, Congress will add trillions more to this total.
Americans are waking up to this growing fiscal crisis in Washington and are demanding accountability. Yet, too many in Congress continue with business as usual increasing government spending to record levels, and creating duplicative new federal programs at an alarming pace.
I ran for the Senate in large part to be a voice of fiscal sanity in a city where career politicians have come to view our tax dollars as their own reelection accounts. Over the past five years, we have made great strides in alerting the American people and in challenging the big spenders in both political parties. I now seek the approval of Oklahomans for a second and final term to continue our challenge to career politicians whose actions threaten the future of our nation and freedoms.
In the five years since I was elected, I have offered hundreds of amendments to eliminate wasteful spending, to challenge the corrupt earmarking process, and to bring greater transparency to the federal government. We have succeeded in eliminating and preventing hundreds of billions of dollars in new spending and we have passed the most important transparency law in a generation.
I have also put every senator on notice that I will challenge each bill that authorizes new spending or the creation of new programs unless the bill also reduces spending for lower priority programs elsewhere, or eliminates duplicative programs. Specifically, I will object to ("hold") any bill that violates this principle if its considered under a fast track process called "Unanimous Consent" that allows legislation to pass without debate, recorded votes, or amendments. Senate leaders use this undemocratic process to pass over 90 percent of bills in the Senate and to authorize billions of dollars in new spending. As your Senator from Oklahoma, I will continue to insist that important legislation be debated in the open with senators forced to cast recorded votes to ensure that voters have the ability to hold their senators accountable.
Finally, I will continue to fight against the special interest giveaways, known as earmarks. Earmarks are the gateway drug to overspending, and have undermined the confidence of the American people in their Congress. I have seen firsthand how individual senators and representatives have turned their critical appropriations responsibility into a personal tool to reward big donors and to cajole colleagues into supporting legislation not in the best interest of our nation. As a senator, I do not request earmarks and will continue to push for their elimination.