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 have enjoyed, difficult 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, and we must not shirk that task now.
Our debt currently exceeds $20 trillion, which equals $65,200 owed by every man, woman, and child in America, regardless of income. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates we will add about $10 trillion to our debt over the next ten years if nothing is done. This path is unsustainable and will only get worse over time if we continue to ignore our spending problem.
A Budget that Balances
During my time in Congress, I have voted for a number of budget resolutions that would balance the federal budget in 10 years by gradually restricting annual spending, lower our debt-to-GDP ratio, and enacting pro-growth policies to create millions of new jobs—all while preserving social safety net and retirement programs for current and future beneficiaries.
In an effort to get us closer to a balanced budget, I introduced the Truth in Spending Act. In short, this legislation would create an expedited path of consideration for measures to cut spending that has exceeded its original cost projections. For more information on the Truth in Spending Act, scroll to the bottom of this page.
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, including:
· The Honest Budget Act, which prohibits nine of the most commonly used spending gimmicks that create the illusion of savings where there are none.
· The Legally Binding Budget Act, which gives budgets the force of law, making it harder for lawmakers to circumvent spending limits and spend money we do not have.
· The Budget and Accounting Transparency Act, which increases transparency in budget calculations by highlighting the true cost of government-sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and government-backed loan programs.
· The Baseline Reform Act, which eliminates automatic increases in budget projections performed by the CBO, reversing a bias toward increased spending.
The Truth in Spending Act
Since 1970, direct spending—which refers to spending determined by eligibility instead of the appropriations process and includes programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security—has grown from 31% of annual federal expenditures to 63% today. Some economists project that by 2047, the federal government will be spending 21% of its annual expenditures on paying down the interest on public debt, about 61% on direct spending, and 18% on discretionary spending, including defense spending.
This kind of spending is untenable and leaves taxpayers vulnerable, which is why I introduced the bipartisan Truth in Spending Act. This legislation increases the accountability of direct spending legislation and associated cost projections. It 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.