While much of the media attention over the past two weeks has been focused on the government shutdown, the real story is why it was shutdown: we have a spending problem in this country.
Our national debt has grown larger than the size of the American economy. Today our government borrows forty-two cents for every dollar it spends.
This must stop.
Our national debt is a drag on our economy that limits opportunity. By increasing uncertainty, it stifles business expansion and job creation.
I opposed the debt limit "deal' put forward by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid because it failed to address our long-term spending problem.
Instead, the temporary fix reopens government until January 15 of next year and sets a December 13 deadline for agreement on a long-term plan for spending and taxes.
While I could not support this package, I remain committed to working to advance reforms that will free future generations from a life indebted to China. We must come together to ensure that three months provided for by the agreement last night is used productively so we are not in this position again in January.
I have long supported a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution and implementing spending limits that tie government spending to revenues. If families, small businesses, states, counties, and municipalities can balance their budgets every day, the federal government should be able to do the same.
I will also continue my push to advance appropriations measures in regular order. Continuing resolutions like the one passed last night only address the top level and restrict Congress' ability for oversight and reform within government.
Moving appropriations measures in regular order is how I was able to get Senate Democrats and President Obama to agree to cut $3.6 billion from the agriculture budget.
While we have a long road ahead, a long journey begins with small steps.