Last year when I was running for Congress, I spoke at length about the need to rein in runaway government spending. As a grandmother of six, I told voters that I did not want the government to mortgage future generations to pay for a federal spending spree.
Throughout the 6th District of Tennessee, people are outraged that the national debt has skyrocketed to over $14 trillion. They believe that Congress needs to stop the endless cycle of "borrow and spend," and that's why they sent me to Washington.
After watching the reckless spending spree of the past few years, I knew getting our nation's finances in order would be difficult. But now that I'm here in Washington examining how the government spends our money, I can honestly say the situation is worse than I ever imagined. Today, with the release of the President's budget, it is clear that this Administration is still unwilling to make the tough choices necessary to get America back on track.
Much has been made of the President's plan to freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. But after the two-year spending binge that included government bailouts, health care, stimulus, cash for clunkers, TARP--and the list goes on--this spending freeze amounts to a hollow promise. It's too little too late.
The President's budget just doubles down on the failed policies of the last two years. On one hand, the President proposes modest cuts, but then wants to increase spending for "investments," which to me just sounds a like buzz word for more stimulus. In order to pay for the increase, the Administration wants to raise taxes on many Americans. Failing to tighten the federal government's belt, then passing the cost onto the taxpayers is a failure of leadership from the President.
I'm sure the President will continue to tout his plan to sell thousands of government-owned buildings that sit empty and unused and expect people to applaud this small gesture. Forgive me if I'm not impressed.
In this time of fiscal crisis, we need the President to lead, but it looks like he's continuing to pass the buck. With his budget, Mr. Obama is ignoring the recommendations of his own budget commission, which called for deep discretionary spending cuts. What's worse, Mr. Obama is also ignoring the will of the American people who want the government to rein in spending.
The contrast between the Administration and House Republicans is clear. As the House debates how much spending to cut so we can pay off our debt, the President wants to put more on the government credit card.
For this new Congress, this is where the rubber meets the road--we must follow through on our promise to reduce spending back to pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels. In the coming weeks and months, I will work with my colleagues to tackle our fiscal problems head on. It won't be easy; there will be hard choices and tough cuts ahead. When House Republicans introduce our budget, it will show our continued commitment to doing things differently here in Washington. But this is just a starting point. Eventually, we will have to address entitlement programs to ensure these programs are solvent for future generations.
Today, President Obama showed us more of the same. Thankfully, this new Congress is focused on what the people sent us here to do: end the borrow-and-spend cycle and pave the way for growth and prosperity. With hard work, I know we can get there.