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Public Statements

Spending and the National Debt


Location: Washington, DC

Astronomical government spending over the past years has pushed our national debt to more than $14 trillion and counting. My daughter Sarah is over a year old and when she was born, her share of the national debt was $35,000, today it is around $45,000. This is alarming, and Congress must start making the tough decisions on spending so we can provide our children with a better future.

Many federal programs have received funding increases over the last several years that outpaced both inflation and the growth of the American family budget. In fact, over the past two years, regular non-defense, discretionary funding has increased by 24 percent, while the stimulus bill alone cost around $821 billion.

This spending spree is unacceptable and unsustainable. Across Ohio and the nation families prioritize their own budgets to make ends meet and they should expect no less of Congress. We did not land in this spending crisis overnight and we will not turn around it around overnight; however vote-by-vote, Congress can reduce the out-of-control spending and debt.

The U.S. House of Representatives has already moved forward in reducing government spending in a number of ways. It was important that the first step in putting the nation's fiscal house in order was to start by cutting our own office budgets by five percent, for a savings of around $35.2 million. Then in January, we voted to repeal the health care law which would cut new spending by $2.6 trillion over 10 years and reduce the deficit by $700 billion.

Furthermore, I joined my colleagues in cutting $100 billion from the budget for the rest of Fiscal Year 2011, which goes through September of this year. Now that it has passed the House, the budget for the rest of this fiscal year is now under consideration by the U.S. Senate. Lastly, I voluntarily cut my own salary by five percent and each month I return that amount to the U.S Treasury to go toward paying off the national debt.

These are just the first steps in the process of turning around our nation's spending and debt crisis. As Speaker Boehner recently announced, the next step will be entitlement reform. When addressing this issue we need to ensure that promises made are promises kept and those who are reliant on these programs today are not adversely impacted. However, we need to make certain that these programs are not just around for our parents or ourselves but that they are still around for our children and grandchildren.

The longer we put off reform of these programs, the harder it will be to fix down the road. Republicans and Democrats need to work together for Congress to make any progress on this issue and I look forward to having an open and honest conversation with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on entitlement reform in the coming months.

If we want to give our children a brighter future where they are not buried under a mountain of debt, then we need to learn to live within our means today. That is why this Congress has made reducing government spending a priority and we will continue to move forward with our commitment to restore fiscal responsibility to our country.

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