Senator William Proxmire, more than anyone else, taught me the value of fiscal responsibility. As a college intern in his office, he asked me to help research politicians and government agencies for his infamous Golden Fleece awards -- an annual award presented to government officials who waste our money. I remember one project in particular, where a government agency spent $350,000 studying the effects of tequila on goldfish!
Ever since that first internship, I've made fiscal responsibility a top priority. I support a no budget, no pay law which says that if Congress doesn't do its job and balance the budget the right way, then Congress members don't get paid.
Here Is What I Am Doing Right Now to Reduce the Deficit
Office Savings - Fiscal responsibility starts at home, which is why I have given back a portion of my Congressional budget each year, returning over $1.4 million to taxpayers. I have also consistently opposed Congress' automatic pay increases and have given every penny received as a charitable contribution to the United Way.
Earmark Reform - I continue to lead the effort for earmark reform, forgoing requests for the last three years, co-sponsoring a bill that would ban earmarks to for-profit companies, and introducing multiple forms of legislation to reform the earmark process. I opposed $12.1 billion worth of earmarks in 2009.
Corporate Giveaways -- It's not just government that needs to do its part to help reduce our debt. That's why I want to close wasteful corporate tax giveaways for companies that who ship American jobs overseas and why I want to stop the special exemptions for big oil--which is one of the most profitable sectors of our economy today.