Fiscal cliff discussions continue on Capitol Hill as House Republicans complete organizational meetings.
GOP leaders huddled with former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, Erskine Bowles, who co-authored "The Moment of Truth" with former Republican Senator Alan Simpson. Their proposal, better known as the "Simpson-Bowles commission," led to a non-partisan movement dubbed "The Campaign to Fix the Debt" chaired by the commission's namesakes.
Their 2010 report noted that the federal debt has increased from 33 percent to 62 percent of GDP since the last time the nation's budget was balanced and acknowledged that, "federal health care spending represents our single largest fiscal challenge over the long-run."
Earlier in the week, House Speaker John Boehner said, "As we've seen in recent days, the American people support an approach that involves both major spending cuts and additional revenue via tax reform with lower tax rates."
The speaker's statement parallels the policies offered by the House throughout the 112th Congress, including attempts to modernize entitlement programs and reform America's outdated tax code.
Let's be clear: Congress must significantly cut federal spending. Any balanced approach to strengthen the nation's fiscal health must also reform the greatest drivers of debt -- such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security -- while protecting the solvency of these health and retirement programs that benefit seniors and are critical for lower-income families.
Meanwhile, the White House released its blueprint yesterday that calls for $1.6 trillion in tax increases and $50 billion in new spending. The New York Times said their plan is "loaded with Democratic priorities and short on detailed spending cuts." To boot, the administration asks Congress to yield its authority to raise the debt limit completely to the president.
Raising your taxes and spending more borrowed money will not fix this problem. There is a responsible way to resolve this issue, and it's already been authored and passed by the Republican-led House.
As negotiations move forward, I will continue to stand for Mississippians who are being crushed by a weak economy and out of control federal programs.
Member of Congress