The U.S. federal budget is on an unsustainable path, and we must act soon to start solving our nation's fiscal problems. Every day we wait adds $8 billion to our debt, prolongs the economic slowdown, delays the creation of millions of private-sector jobs, and risks the credit rating of the federal government. But in order to solve our problems, we have to do so in a bipartisan manner. You can't play favorites and everything must be on the table -- spending as well as revenue.
As you know, I've spent decades talking about these issues. In fact, my colleagues call me everything from "A Budget Cassandra" to "Mr. Fiscal Responsibility" and "Dr. Doom" because I am such a fierce advocate for balanced and honest federal budgeting. I've served on the Budget and the Oversight and Government Reform Committees and used my position 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've supported a balanced budget amendment, voted for across-the-board spending cuts, worked to reinstate "pay-as-you-go" rules into law, and do not request or support "earmarks" for special spending projects. Last Congress, I introduced H.R. 1557, the Cooper-Wolf SAFE Commission, to create a bipartisan commission of experts to consider all options to balance our books and force Congress to act. My commission was the model for the President's bipartisan Fiscal Commission, which recently released a report outlining nearly $4 trillion in deficit reduction through 2020. It is bitter medicine, but it could restore our fiscal health.
Updated July 29, 2011