By Sen. Rand Paul
Last week, the Senate voted to suspend the debt ceiling until Feb. 7, 2014, and fund the government through Jan. 15, 2014. I opposed this deal because it does not begin to address the fiscal problems that got us here in the first place.
Our country faces a problem bigger than any deadline: a $17 trillion debt. I am disappointed that Democrats would not compromise to avoid the looming debt debacle.
This deal neither balances the budget, nor makes any reforms to a broken government. This is just another example of the 'kicking the can down the road' mentality that has taken over Washington. Our nation currently faces a debt that is approaching $17 trillion; meanwhile, we will not be offered any relief from the economic harm being imposed by Obamacare. This is a real problem that will affect our children, grandchildren and the future of America.
Debt ceiling deadlines have been averted, but the real problem remains: a $17 trillion dollar debt and a President who continues to pile on new debt at a rate of a million dollars a minute. How did we get here?
The government shutdown occurred because Sen. Harry Reid allows the Senate to lurch from deadline to deadline without passing a single appropriations bill. Had Reid passed each of the 12 appropriations bills, the government could have stayed open.
Opening government has not resolved the big picture because we are still left with an unsustainable debt.
In March of 2006, then-Sen. Barack Obama took to the Senate floor to oppose raising the debt ceiling. He stated, "Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. America deserves better."
When Obama opposed raising the debt ceiling in 2006, it was $8 trillion. Today, it has more than doubled to $17 trillion. If we are to survive this breakneck spending that has become the norm in Washington, it must be stopped and reversed. We need a leader that is willing to negotiate for the betterment of our nation, not someone who harbors a 'my way or the highway' mentality. Raising the debt ceiling proves failure in leadership.
Americans want leaders who are willing to rein in a government that is completely out of control. Americans want leaders with solutions.
There are solutions like a Balanced Budget Amendment or the Penny Plan. We could only spend what we bring in, show some restraint, common sense and begin following the Constitution.
There were no winners coming out of the government shutdown. But any future deals should result in something better than kicking the can down the road. I have proposed balanced budgets and real solutions each year, and will continue to work to cut spending and balance our budget.