By Congresswoman Cheri Bustos
Like many people across our great country, I learned at a young age that balancing the family budget and living within our means is a question of values.
That is why as a freshman member of Congress, I am disappointed with the recent lack of bipartisanship when it came to putting forth a serious budget that reduces the deficit in a balanced way while protecting the middle class.
Both sides in Washington put forth budgets, knowing they would garner little to no support from the opposite party. This proved true, with the Republican budget receiving no Democratic votes and the Democratic budget receiving no Republican votes.
Working to fix this partisan, gridlocked approach to governing is exactly why I ran for Congress in the first place.
To try to help put an end to the dysfunction I heard about on the campaign trail, I introduced the Government Waste Reduction Act after my first month in Congress.
With all the noisy bickering consuming Washington, it is tempting to think that lawmakers can never find common ground. The reality is that while we do have real differences, there are a range of issues on which we can agree.
My bill establishes the independent Government Waste Reduction Board, tasked with recommending legislative proposals that implement these cost-cutting measures and sending them to Congress.
Common sense proposals to cut waste out of government already exist. But they are meaningless and save nothing unless we implement them.
This bill will give teeth to Congress, and allow us to get rid of the waste and duplicative services that we don't need and can't afford.
My bill won't solve all our budgetary problems, but it will serve as a starting point to lower our deficits by tens of billions of dollars in a responsible, balanced, common sense way that protects the middle class.
I'm pleased to report that my bill has attracted the growing support of both Democrats and Republicans from a large range on the political spectrum.
Getting our budget in order and protecting the middle class isn't a partisan issue; it is an American issue.
It is time to move beyond this budgetary and political insanity and begin governing in practical, common sense and reasonable ways.