As we begin a new year, many small businesses and families are preparing their budgets for the year. Some families are hoping to save a little more this year and others may be trying to figure out how to make ends meet.
In Washington, the President will present his budget recommendations in February. However, our Constitution gives the power of the purse to Congress. Congress must approve all spending bills, but they are also required to pass a budget.
It might surprise you to learn that the Senate has not passed a budget in three years. Congress has simply been operating by kicking the can down the road. The tough work of going line by line through the budget looking for waste, fraud and abuse is not being done.
Budgets are about priorities. Congress has to make tough choices on which programs to fund and which ones not to fund. We cannot do that unless both chambers do the work they were sent there to do.
In the last fiscal year, our federal government took in $2.46 trillion, but spent 3.8 trillion. In other words, we spent $1.3 trillion more than we have. It was the fourth consecutive year of trillion dollar deficits. That is to say nothing of the $16 trillion in debt we owe others.
There will no doubt be tough choices, but we simply cannot keep piling up debt. I hope we can work together to support a budget that reduces spending and gets us on our way back to balancing the federal books.