By Steven Pazzli
We've heard time and again how the number one problem our country currently faces is our national debt. The amount we currently owe, an astronomical $15.2 trillion, has been blamed for our weak economy, the downgrade of our credit rating, hesitant lenders, frustrated borrowers and a dying generation of job-creating small business owners.
In 2011, South Mississippians sent me to Washington to attack this debt and take on the policies that kept us spiraling further downward. I voted to repeal the government takeover of health care, Cut, Cap and Balance our Budget, and put America back on the Path to Prosperity - all to the tune of $6.2 trillion in cuts and deficit reduction of $4.2 trillion over the next decade.
Back in December, I joined a group of legislators as a cosponsor on Tim Griffin of Arkansas' EPIC Act: End Pensions in Congress. If passed, it would eliminate all congressional pensions for future serving members. I signed on because at a time when South Mississippians are tightening their belts, so should the federal government. And with 535 members of Congress, and each receiving thousands per year of retirement benefits after age 62, this could save the country millions.
As a member of the Mississippi National Guard and the only active NCO serving in Congress, I believe in citizen service and leading by example. That's why, in addition to cosponsoring the EPIC Act, I wrote to the chief administrative officer for the House of Representatives stating I would neither apply for nor accept any pension or retirement benefits from my time in Congress. It may be just be one small step, but it's one small step in the right direction. When we've dug ourselves into debt this far, we need to throw everything at it we've got.
And when my three children look at me in twenty years and ask, "Dad, what did you do?", I want to be able to look them straight in the eyes and reply, "Everything I could." It's an honor and a privilege to represent the good people of South Mississippi each day, and one that I don't take for granted.