Right now, America faces critical decisions about the direction of spending and growth of our federal government. Unfortunately, for far too long, the government has lived beyond its means, borrowing money from future generations to pay for unnecessary government programs, earmarks, and other wasteful projects. In 2010 alone, federal spending was $3.5 trillion while tax revenues were $2.1 trillion. This difference spending and revenue is our $1.3 trillion deficit and is part of growing debt that is set to reach $20 trillion under President Obama's budget plan.
Families in Arizona understand the need to create a budget and stick to it. The current slow economy and credit crisis have reminded all of us about the need to live within our means. One of my top priorities in Congress is to ensure that the federal government accomplishes the same goal. Specifically I will:
* Work to actually pass a fiscally responsible budget: In 2010, for the first time in modern budget history, the House failed to pass a budget as required by the 1974 Budget Act. Without a budget in place, it is impossible for Congress to make sound judgments about spending bills.
* Overhaul the budget process: we cannot be serious about fixing out budgetary problems if we do not look at the manner in which we establish budgets for the federal government. Right now, Congress establishes the budget based on one year time periods. However, switching to a process of biennial budgeting would require two year budgets and allow for more time and greater deliberation over the respective merits of government programs.
* Tie spending to specific metrics: recently we have seen an unprecedented growth in government spending and hiring in spite of a slowing economy. I believe we must tie federal spending to GDP growth in order to ensure that government spending does not outpace growth in our economy.
* Hold the line on spending: since the economic crisis of 2008 we have seen unprecedented growth in government intervention into the private sector. Policies like TARP, the Recovery Act, and Cash for Clunkers have resulted in massive new obligations with no benefit to taxpayers. We can save $100 billion right now by reducing spending to pre-bailout, pre-stimulus levels.
* End government control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: federal intervention in the private sector in 2008 resulted in the government takeover of the mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These institutions continue to lose money spending while leaving taxpayers on the hook for these losses. The only way to address this problem is ending government control of Fannie and Freddie.