As the President begins his second term and a new Congress continues to get to work, now is a timely opportunity to assess how our country is doing -- and how it should be doing. The President will make his case before a joint session of the House and Senate on Tuesday night in the annual State of the Union address, but I want to help ensure that Iowans have their voices heard, too.
I'd like to take a few moments in advance of the President's address to share my thoughts on the state of our country and ask for your feedback and opinions.
Here are a few quick facts about the condition of America's finances. As Americans have seen an uptick in an unemployment rate that has remained above 7.8% since January 2009, we are more than $16 trillion in debt; it's been nearly 1,400 days since the U.S. Senate adopted a budget resolution; the President just missed his legal deadline to submit his budget to Congress for the fourth time in five years; and according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, we are on track to add another $845 billion to the nation's debt this year.
If this isn't enough to convince Official Washington of the urgent need to work together to find long-term solutions for our economic stagnation and begin spending within our nation's means, nothing is. We have entered critical territory, and piling another trillion here and another trillion there onto our debt burden is just heaping extra weight onto an already crushing problem. We're in trouble as it is -- we only make the trouble harder to overcome by not acting swiftly.
It is for this reason that I have helped the House pass legislation early this year to force all elected officials to take responsibility and lead on finding solutions -- measures like:
No Budget, No Pay -- legislation, which has now been signed into law, that withholds the pay of the members of any chamber, the House or the Senate, that fails to do what every responsible Iowa family, main street business and farm does: set a budget.
The Do Your Job Act -- my bill that makes the No Budget, No Pay concept a permanent law that is enforced every year Congress does not enact a budget by the legal deadline of April 15th.
Require a PLAN -- legislation the House approved last week that calls upon the President to present to Congress his plan for putting the country's finances on a stable and balanced course.
As I have said often, it's been proven the last few years that as long as Official Washington keeps missing deadlines and failing to budget, deficits will remain unacceptably high, the debt will continue its steep climb, and the nation's shared fiscal pain will go on hurting. This will only cause additional pressure on our economy and unemployment situation.
That is my state of the union -- now I want to hear yours.
I would appreciate you taking the time to participate in a brief survey -- let's call it your state of the union. To participate, click the link below and answer a few multiple choice questions about America's fiscal situation and what Congress can do to improve it moving forward. As I have always been in my service to Iowans, I am grateful for your feedback. It is through your active involvement that I am better able to represent the people of Iowa.