Just as every family in America must live within its means, so too should the federal government.
The federal government cannot govern responsibly if it continues to spend more than it takes in year after year. Out-of-control spending weakens our economy, threatens our social safety net, and sets up future generations to inherit a bankrupt nation. In order to ensure our kids and grandkids have the same opportunities we did, hard decisions must be made to place our finances on a sustainable path.
I am committed to working with my colleagues to end Washington's culture of reckless spending. We must work together to address the drivers of our debt, reform our broken budget process, and bring stability to our finances. It is our duty to leave future generations with a better country than the one we inherited - we must not shrink from that task now.
Our debt currently exceeds $19 trillion, which equals $52,000 owed by every man, woman, and child in America. The Congressional Budget Office estimates we will add another $8.2 trillion to our debt over the next ten years if nothing is done.
All this debt weighs on our economy, stifling growth and fostering uncertainty. Last year, the U.S. spent over $230 billion in interest on debt alone, a figure that is projected to grow to $850 billion over the next ten years. To put this into perspective, over the last five years, we spent nearly $300 billion more on the interest on our debt than we did on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This path is not sustainable, and will only get worse over time if we continue to ignore our spending problem.
A Budget that Balances
On March 21, 2013, the House passed a budget introduced by Chairman of the Budget Committee Paul Ryan that reforms our tax code, spurs economic growth, and balances our budget in 10 years. The Path to Prosperity, H.Con.Res.25, brings our country's finances into balance gradually by restricting annual spending growth to 3.5%, down from 5%. In addition, this budget will lower our debt-to-GDP ratio by 21%, saving $700 billion in interest payments over that time.
In addition to lowering spending, H.Con.Res.25 enacts pro-growth tax reform, preserves retirement programs for future generations, and will lead to the creation of five million new jobs.
Reforming our Broken Budget Process
For too long, budget gimmicks and loopholes have allowed politicians to overspend and pile more debt on the American people. I have cosponsored and voted for numerous bills that would eliminate these gimmicks and inject some much needed transparency and common-sense into our budget process.
Truth in Spending Act
Since 1972, direct spending – which refers to spending determined by eligibility instead of the appropriations process and includes programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security – has grown by over $1.9 trillion. During that time, its share of the federal budget has increased from 30% to 55%, and by 2035, CBO estimates that direct spending will account for nearly 3 of every 4 dollars spent.
This kind of spending is unsustainable and leaves taxpayers vulnerable to runaway programs, which is why I have introduced the Truth in Spending Act.
The Truth in Spending Act (H.R. 2518) has been introduced in the last three Congresses with bipartisan support and aims to increase the accountability of direct spending legislation. This bill requires the Office of Management and Budget to review spending legislation passed five and ten years ago to determine if an Act exceeded its CBO cost estimate. If an Act exceeded its five or ten year estimate, this bill provides for fast-tracked legislation to move through the House and Senate to cut the excess costs. This process would happen each year, providing lawmakers with an additional tool to cut deficits and debt.