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Public Statements

Edmond Sun - Lankford: Spending Cuts Don't Have to be Across-the-Board

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By James Coburn

The government does not have to make an across-the-board budget cut to lower spending, Congressman James Lankford said. There is no single budgetary line item to cut in order to lower the national debt of $16 trillion, he added.

Congress and the Obama administration certainly will be debating budget cuts as they endeavor to resolve the March 1 deadline to avert the fiscal cliff, as well as sequestration and raising the debt limit ceiling. Meanwhile the nation is $16 trillion in debt.

A lot of things will take a 1 percent to 4 percent cut in expenditure, said Lankford, R-Edmond. An 8 percent to 10 percent cut would be excessive in areas, he added. Spending is inflated in some areas, he said.

People will not necessarily do without, but will make do with less, Lankford said. An example he offered is the free cell phone program. The program was designed to get emergency phone capability to people in rural areas without phones, Lankford said.

According to FOX News, Lifeline is an extension of a program that began in 1985, although many recipients credit President Barack Obama for enabling the program.

Bloomberg News reports there are 12.5 million of these phones in use today in comparison to 7.1 million made available in 2008.

The free phones provide users with 250 minutes of free communication, according to FOX. Carriers are paid $10 a month by the federal government per use of phone.

"Now we have people who have three or four free cell phones that are handing it out to everyone in their family," Lankford said. "And that was never the intent of that program, but no one is trying to stop that."

Lankford supports the Sunset Clause, which would create a seven-year review of federal programs, he said.

"When a program gets out of control there's no way to shut it down without a major act of Congress," Lankford said.

The nation's spending was $1 trillion less five years ago, Lankford said. The question for Congress is to compare the budgets of 2007 and 2012 to determine where funding was increased, he said.

"Even if we inflation-adjusted from 2007 to the present, you would save $800 billion," Lankford said.


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