U.S. Rep. Ron Kind today held a press conference to highlight his plan for deficit reduction and make his annual office give back, returning $120,078 to the U.S. Treasury to pay down the deficit.
"We must begin dealing with our long-term fiscal challenges and pay down the debt to ensure that future generations are not stuck with our unpaid bills," said Rep. Kind. "I learned well from Senator Proxmire that there it too much waste, fraud and abuse in the budget and that we need to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars."
Kind believes savings can be found by cutting wasteful and unnecessary spending in four key categories. They include:
* Rising health care costs - the fastest area of spending in the federal budget. One out of every three health care dollars, nearly $800 billion, is spent on things that don't work. We must change the way we pay for health care to get these costs under control. Fortunately, recent health care reform puts us on a path to do this.
* Wasteful spending and cost overruns in the defense budget. Nearly 80,000 troops are stationed in Western Europe protecting us from nonexistent Cold War threats and the latest GAO report states that our weapons programs are $300 billion over budget.
* Outdated taxpayer funded farm subsidy programs. These subsidies are not responsible to taxpayers, do not help family farmers, and have only distorted the marketplace. Every year, over $30 billion in taxpayer dollars goes to wasteful farm subsidies that fund only a few large agribusinesses.
* Earmarks are irresponsible spending. We must eliminate earmarking altogether. Kind has for years worked with his colleague Rep. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) to reform the earmarking process and has forgone requests since 2008.
Rep. Kind also opposes the automatic cost of living increase for Members of Congress and gives back a portion of his Congressional budget each year to reduce the deficit. This year's giveback brings Kind's total to a sum of $1.48 million since he first took office in 1996.
"I am committed to making the tough decisions to support investments and programs that are vital to our economy and at the same time cutting wasteful and unnecessary spending. When times are tough, western Wisconsin families tighten their belts and that's exactly what we need to do in Washington."