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Shelley Moore Capito: The Public Shows How to Cut the Budget

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Charleston Daily Mail

Many West Virginia families have adjusted their budgets this year due to an unexpected emergency or job loss or life event. Perhaps you sent a son or daughter off to college or maybe you have another child on the way.

The seniors in our community have certainly had to do more with less since not receiving a Social Security cost of living adjustment this cycle. With near double-digit unemployment, many people are out of a job or wondering, "Will I be next?"

In most scenarios, families cut spending in a few areas, which later adds up to extra savings.

We make hard choices in comparison shopping our groceries to make our budgets go just a bit further. Perhaps you put off buying that new appliance until after the New Year. Some find savings with a do-it-yourself home improvement instead of paying someone else.

The point is, families know that they do not have to eliminate an entire section of their budget in order to make ends meet; it's the little stuff that adds up. That's what Republicans are seeking to do in Congress - cut the excess spending across the board.

Over the past few months, I've worked with the Economic Recovery Working Group to launch YouCut, a program designed to engage the American people to come up with real, tangible ways we can rein in spending right now. The response has been overwhelming, with over 2 million people voting on cuts and thousands more offering their own suggestions on how to identify and eliminate waste.

Congress has voted on everything from selling excess federal property ($15 billion in savings) to prohibiting subsidies on first-class Amtrak tickets ($1.2 billion in savings) to eliminating unnecessary government printing (over $35 million in savings).

We've even addressed some of the tougher issues, like cutting new non-reformed welfare programs that do not prepare people to move off taxpayer assistance ($2.5 billion/year in savings).

So far we've identified over $155 billion in common sense cuts.

Each week Republicans have brought before the House the cuts Americans want to see Congress enact, and each week it has failed due to unwillingness from some members to put down their partisan blinders. Our deficit is growing at an unmanageable rate, all the while taxes stand to increase by $3.8 trillion unless Congress acts by Jan. 1.

I can't help but see the looming tax increases in conjunction with these reasonable spending cuts. If we can find other ways to reduce the deficit, why would we turn to the taxpayers to make up for wasteful spending in Washington?

Why would we levy the largest tax hike in American history at a time of sluggish economic growth, lackluster consumer confidence and near double digit unemployment? The American taxpayer should not be seen as an open coffer when times get tough.

I have been unwavering in my support for extending the tax cuts for everyone in order to spur economic growth and encourage job creation.

With the unemployment rate at 9.4 percent or higher for the past 16 months, banks hesitant to lend and the tax increases included in the healthcare law staring them down, small businesses can't seem to catch a break. The worst possible thing we can do is allow their tax cuts to expire, levying them with new and higher expenses that could instead go toward hiring new workers or investing in new ideas.

One thing is for sure, this partisan fight over tax cuts has lasted far too long. Individuals and businesses deserve to know how much they'll be paying in taxes next year in order to prepare their budgets accordingly. This partisanship is holding them hostage and it has got to stop.

As Republicans prepare to lead in the majority, make no mistake. We will seek to find compromise whenever possible and continue to prioritize savings in order to reduce spending.

Capito is the Republican congresswoman who represents West Virginia's 2nd congressional district.

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