The House I led balanced the budget every year. During my tenure as Speaker, we finished our work ahead of schedule, all four years in a row. Congress, in contrast, careens from one self-inflicted crisis to the next, lurching from showdown to shutdown. This is no way to run a government.
At $17 trillion and rising, the federal debt threatens America's economic future. Interest payments on the debt alone are expected to exceed $230 billion this year, siphoning resources that could be put to better use. Washington's chronic inability to produce annual budgets creates uncertainty among employers, consumers and markets.
The best ways to bring the federal budget into balance are to:
Grow the economy. Persistent unemployment and underemployment have imposed a real burden on too many American families and on the economy as a whole. I made economic development one of my top priorities as Speaker of the Colorado House, and I'll do the same in Congress.
Identify and reform or eliminate programs that don't work. Performance- or outcome-based budgeting holds agencies responsible for meeting measurable goals. That makes far more sense than simply reauthorizing programs and ignoring their results.
Curb the cost of health care. Each year, the U.S. spends more than $8,000 per person on health care, more than twice as much as other developed nations do. Rising medical costs have bankrupted families, burdened businesses, and driven out key investments in other areas. Curbing those costs is essential.