This week, my colleagues and I in the U.S. House passed a responsible Fiscal Year 2014 budget that balances in ten years, creates a healthier economy, and will help create American jobs.
When I talk to the hard-working people of Missouri's Fourth Congressional District they tell me they have to balance their budgets and they think Washington should have to do the same. They're right! As a member of the House Budget Committee, I am proud to support a responsible budget that promotes economic growth while reducing wasteful Washington spending.
Other groups in the House tried to pass budgets that never balanced and imposed draconian cuts to our military. I went to the House floor to speak against these measures and, thankfully, they were rejected.
The budget we have produced balances in ten years -- without ever raising taxes on any Americans. Our budget helps hard-working Americans by removing obstacles to job creation and getting our economy moving forward. We must put an end to talk about increasing taxes and put the focus on Washington's uncontrollable spending.
Our debt has swelled to more than $16 trillion and is growing every day. The federal government now borrows 36 cents out of every dollar it spends. It is time to rein in out-of-control spending, and we do this by reducing the rate of growth in spending from 5 percent -- the current trajectory -- to 3.4 percent each year over the next decade. This budget also provides appropriate funding for our military to help our men and women in uniform protect this country. We owe the American people a responsible, balanced budget. This budget accomplishes that goal.
On another issue, I introduced legislation this week to end the duplicative and wasteful catfish inspection program. I am pleased to work in a bipartisan way, with members from both sides of the aisle and from both the House and Senate, to address Washington's wasteful spending. I have been joined by Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-California) in introducing H.R. 1313 in the House. Senators John McCain (R-Arizona) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-New Hampshire) introduced S. 632, similar legislation, in the U.S. Senate to end the redundant program.
We don't need two government agencies inspecting seafood. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently inspects all commercial seafood. A provision in the 2008 Farm Bill to move catfish inspection to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) makes no sense and will only waste tax dollars. The General Accounting Office (GAO) estimates it will cost $30 million in start-up costs and at least $14 million each following year for the USDA to train inspectors and run this program. Washington needs to stop this practice of wasting taxpayers' hard-earned dollars.
Opponents of the USDA Catfish Inspection Program include the American Soybean Association, Food Marketing Institute, National Meat Association, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Producers Council, National Restaurant Association, and the United States Dairy Export Council.
Finally, I want to remind Fourth Congressional District high school students to be part of a wonderful opportunity to showcase their artistic talents. The 2013 Congressional Art Competition is a chance for aspiring young artists to see their artwork displayed at the U.S. Capitol in Washington as the winning entry will hang in the Capitol for one year, joining other works of art from Congressional districts around the country.
I am also looking forward to meeting the winning artist. That winner will be awarded round-trip airfare to Washington, D.C. and will be invited to attend a ceremony to unveil the winning artwork from across the nation. For information, forms, and general guidelines please visit my website at www.hartzler.house.gov or contact Levi Mitchell at 417-532-5582. There is still time to enter, but the deadline is coming fast -- Wednesday, April 17, 2013. I look forward to seeing the submissions from our district's talented young people. It is a pleasure to serve you.
Have a good week.