Thomas Jefferson once 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.” At $16 trillion, the national debt is now equal to more than $50,000 for every man, woman and child in this country. This means that the amount of debt for everyone in the U.S. now exceeds the median family income. We simply cannot allow this spending spree to continue.
It is a simple concept -- you can’t spend more than you take in. Business owners, individuals and families all across this country understand this concept and live by it in their own lives. They should expect nothing less from the federal government and yet Congress continues to prove it cannot make the tough decisions on its own. We must rein in the skyrocketing deficit spending that is discouraging investment and threatening to bankrupt our nation.
This problem is not a partisan one – both parties are guilty of excessive spending and have been for decades. A handful of Members, including myself, have a long track record of opposing wasteful spending and supporting aggressive reforms aimed at reining in runaway government spending, regardless of which party has been in power. For years now, I have voted for the toughest budget alternatives offered on the House Floor. Unfortunately, none of these tough budgets have received enough votes to pass. I will continue to aggressively work to rein in government spending.
On the opening day of the 113th Congress, I once again introduced two balanced budget amendments to the Constitution as a long term solution to this problem. It will take real institutional reforms, such as a balanced budget amendment, to ensure that Washington’s insatiable appetite for spending is brought under control. When I introduced these bills two years ago, the national debt had topped an unprecedented $14 trillion. Today, the national debt has soared well past a staggering $16 trillion. This rapid increase in debt and four consecutive trillion dollar plus budget deficits are clear signs that Washington has a serious spending problem.
The House Budget (H. Con. Res. 96), the Path to Prosperity, passed with my support on April 10, 2014. H. Con. Res 96 would set federal budget policies for Fiscal Year 2015 and balance the budget in 10 years.