U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, discussed the state of the economy and key policy issues Thursday during a town hall meeting at Zwink Elementary in Klein ISD.
"Since 2010, the debt has skyrocketed." he said. "Babies born today at Northwest or Tomball regional owe about $50,000 -- they'll basically owe a Lexus. By the time they're 13, they'll owe another one. By the time they're 22 and ready to start their life, they'll owe a third one."
Currently, each citizen's share of the national debt is nearly $53,000.
As the national debt rises, Brady said there will be fewer jobs that pay less on average. New graduates will be the hardest hit, he said.
"When a country is this deep in debt -- and we're getting there -- the economy slows because there are fewer jobs, interest rates go up and taxes go up," he said.
To control the debt, Brady advocates a balanced budget and debt free America. The budget House Republicans approved in March would have balance the budget and paved the way for a debt free America in 10 years, he said. But with a divided Congress and Democratic president, the budget was ultimately not approved.
"For us, the magic number is 290 to override a presidential veto and pass a constitutional amendment," said Brady. Currently, Republicans occupy 233 seats out of 435. In the Senate, overriding a veto would require 67 votes and 60 to override a filibuster.
The president also released a budget that, according to the Congressional Budget Office, would add $115 billion more to the deficit in 2014 while increasing taxes by $974 billion. As a result of spending $46.5 trillion over the next decade, the budget ends with a $542 billion deficit in FY 2023.
Because the congressional and presidential budgets couldn't be consolidated, a series of deals were made to keep the government running.
As part of a deal to reduce government spending in 2011, Congress agreed to raise the debt ceiling in return for an agreement to reduce the deficit by $2.2 trillion. In the end, an agreement was not reached, triggering the $1 trillion in automatic, arbitrary and across the board budget cuts, commonly called the sequester.
"We wanted a whole lot more than that, but that's what we could force through a Democratic Senate," he said. "To put it in perspective all we asked the federal government to do as if they were a 500 pound person, we asked them to lose 10 pounds."
Part of the problem, he said is the broken social security system and lax requirements for entitlements. "Spending is the problem," he said. "You can't tax your way to a balanced budget. It's impossible. You can double your taxes and it wouldn't happen."
Discretionary spending makes up almost two thirds of the budget, he said. House Republicans tried to pass a bill that would require parents to add their child's social security number to claim them, but it was ultimately voted against, he said.
"If you qualify for those programs, you get them," he said. "Right now there are 10,000 new seniors a day claiming social security benefits. So social security and Medicare and Medicaid will continue to grow."
In addition, the United States Department of Agriculture shows that a record number 47.8 million people enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, an increase of more than a million over the year.
Brady also advocated tax reform, repealing the Affordable Care Act, protecting the value of the dollar, protecting second amendment rights and ending incentives for illegal immigrants.
"Our problem is we could be so much stronger economically," he said. We could add so much more jobs and have more opportunities. We have to address these issues if we hope to get our economy back on track."