I have spoken to many Missourians throughout the district and one of their top concerns are consistently the federal budget's affect on our future. I have pledged to the good people of the Fourth District that I will work hard to lower our national debt. Hard decisions have to be made, but I intend on keeping my promise to get our nation's fiscal problems under control. Our country's debt crisis has met its boiling point and threatens our economic recovery and prosperity.
As a member of the Budget Committee, I am committed to pursuing a lean budget that puts our country on a track to economic prosperity. Our economy is on the brink of collapse as the debt grows in leaps and bounds. If we want to avoid heaping mountains of debt on our children and grandchildren, we have to take a stand now to stop the runaway spending. Just as American families have had to cut back and prioritize their budgets, the federal government must seriously change its spending patterns and many federal agencies and programs need to be streamlined or restructured to maximize productivity. The following graph illustrates the severity of our spending problems:
I have co-sponsored legislation to combat this reckless spending spree. Congress needs a firm structure in place to restrict its ability to spend uncontrollably. To this end, I have co-sponsored two Balanced Budget Amendments. These bills seek to curb spending by amending the U.S. Constitution to require a supermajority in both Houses of Congress to run an unbalanced budget or to increase the debt ceiling. History has proven that Congress needs a firm structure in place to restrict its ability to spend uncontrollably.
While the vote for a Balanced Budget Amendment failed to garner the two-thirds support it needed to pass the House in the 112th Congress, I am not going to give up. I have co-sponsored the Balanced Budget Amendment again this year, and I am supporting alternative budget plans that balance our budget even without an amendment. Last year I voted for the Path to Prosperity, the comprehensive House budget proposal that would have put us on a path towards a balanced budget as a nation while saving important programs for future generations. As you can see from the slide below, autopilot spending is driving America's severe debt crisis.
The Path to Prosperity included ground breaking reforms of Medicare and Medicaid, the two huge cost drivers to our national debt. We must act now to save these important programs from bankruptcy so our children and grandchildren will still be able to access these programs. Under the Path to Prosperity, seniors are allowed to choose between traditional Medicare and a private plan that would be partially paid for by the government. This would be similar to the way in which employers currently offer insurance to employees in the private sector. This proposal would provide a selection of guaranteed issue health care plans for future seniors (those under age 55 currently) to choose from. This idea would achieve the goals of saving Medicare, providing quality health care for seniors, and lowering costs to the government.
Additionally, the Path to Prosperity plan creates state block grant programs to tackle the ever-increasing Medicaid autopilot-spending problem. This common-sense reform sends Medicaid funding back to the states in the form of a block grant. State leaders like this idea because it turns over more control to the states, giving them the flexibility to meet the need of low-income individuals in their state rather than forcing everyone into a "one-size fits all" program dictated by Washington. Now is the time to get serious about runaway spending. We must reform mandatory spending programs to preserve them for future generations. By putting more people to work while cutting spending, we will move toward a balanced budget, which Washington needs so desperately.
We must also pursue legislation that empowers small businesses to create jobs by simplifying the tax code and reducing regulatory burdens. Last congress, I supported over 30 jobs bills that the Senate simply ignored. The Path to Prosperity also contained several job-creating initiatives such as reducing the corporate tax rate and removing onerous regulations, so American businesses will stay here rather than going abroad. Additionally, it repealed President Obama's job-destroying government takeover of healthcare, and it lowered taxes for all Americans to keep more money at home and in the local economy. As a member of the Budget Committee, I look forward to building upon last year's budget and developing new innovative ways to spur economic activity and rein in government spending. It is a priority of the Fourth District of Missouri and it is a priority of mine as your representative.