Date: January 11, 2013

By: Bob Goodlatte

You don’t have to be a budget analyst or an accountant to know that out of control spending is the “driving force” behind the debt crisis.  As the 113th Congress gets into full swing, unrestrained spending remains one of the greatest threats to our nation.

At $16 trillion, the national debt is now equal to more than $50,000 for every American.  Reports for the first quarter of the 2013 fiscal year, which began on October 1st, already put the U.S. on pace for a fifth-straight trillion dollar plus deficit.  In those three months, the federal government racked up a $293 billion deficit.  

Thomas Jefferson warned of the consequences of out-of-control debt when he wrote: “To preserve [the] independence [of the people,] we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt.  We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude.” While Mr. Jefferson wrote these words hundreds of years ago, I have no doubt that if he were here today, he would be deeply concerned by the sheer volume of debt amassed by the federal government.  The consequences of continuing to spend beyond our means are very real.  We’ve seen that borrowing and spending has not put our country back to work as promised, but instead has slowed the economy and left behind a legacy of debt for future generations.

Additionally, it has been over 1,350 days – nearly four years – since the Senate last passed a budget.  The House has passed budgets for the past two years and we are getting ready to do one for the next fiscal year.  In the meantime, while the Senate has ignored the need for a budget, the debt has ballooned from $11 trillion to over a staggering $16 trillion.

On the opening day of the 113th Congress, I again introduced a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution as a long term solution to this problem.  Implementing a balanced budget amendment would require Congress to enact fiscally responsible spending measures, reduce the deficit, and ensure that the money our citizens work so hard to earn is not squandered on wasteful spending and programs.  Balancing the budget is not a new concept – it’s one that families and businesses in the Sixth District live by daily. The federal government should be forced to live within its means as well.

As a nation, we must focus on spending and tackle the massive debt.  The United States cannot be the next Greece.  There will be more discussion surrounding spending and debt in the months to come.  Congress has the opportunity, and certainly a responsibility, to address this issue.  We must stand strong on the principle that we cannot let debt be our ruler.

This Congress is a new opportunity for the president to actually work with House Republicans to address the spending side of the balanced approach he campaigned upon that we have yet to see. I urge President Obama and the Senate to open their eyes and stop the spending.  We must act now to rein in spending to help guarantee a free economy and a prosperous America for generations to come.

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