Seventh District Pulse - The Federal Budget
In this District Pulse, I'd like to hear from you about how to deal with the federal budget. Since I came to Washington, I have told you that I would make solving America's budget crisis a priority. Knowing that President Obama and I have a very different view on balanced budgets, I knew that success would often come in baby steps, but I committed to doing as much as I could as often as I could. Recognizing your and my commitment to success, my colleagues appointed me to the Budget Committee, named me as Chairman of the Rules Committee Budget Subcommittee, and made me Chairman of the Republican Study Committee Budget and Spending Task Force. True to my word, I am proud of the progress that we have made over the past three years.
For the first time since the end of the Korean War, America's total spending has declined two years in a row. For the first time in American history, Congress and the President reached a budget reform bill eliminating more than $2 trillion in borrowing -- debts that would have to be paid back by our children. Knowing that thrift begins at home, in my Seventh District Office I am committed to a budget today that is lower than any other in the past ten years. Knowing how much disagreement exists in Washington, I hope that you will agree with me that making this progress the law of the land is a huge success.
Notwithstanding this progress, however, you and I both know that there is much, much more to do. I am working to try to find that path forward through the Washington gridlock. Last month, for example, I invited congressmen from coast-to-coast to a roundtable with Maya MacGuineas, a leader in the Fix the Debt Campaign, a well-respected bipartisan group of prominent business leaders facilitating a national dialogue to address our spiraling federal debt. Fix the Debt is working with citizens across the country to create awareness and share ideas on where we can go from here. As part of my roundtable with Fix the Debt, my colleagues and I examined different ideas that might work to change our long-term spending trajectory.
With the House of Representatives and Senate currently in a budget conference to set funding levels for FY2014 and FY 2015, now is the time to bring ideas out of the shadows and into the debate. The sequester, a term we all know too well now, is attractive in that it makes real reductions in spending today, but even with the sequester America's spending will rise to unsustainable levels in the future. Our mandatory spending-the term the law uses to describe Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on our national debt-is growing rapidly and today constitutes the majority of all federal spending. Looking at the math, I know that these programs will face insolvency in the coming years if we do nothing. I also know by looking at the math that if we take steps today, we can protect and preserve these programs for future generations as well as tackle the rapid growth in spending that is driving the federal debt.
How concerned are you about our federal budget imbalance?
68.5% I am extremely concerned. I agree with the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullin, who said that America's debt represents the greatest threat to our national security.
4.8% I am not concerned. Washington is always talking about budgets and never doing anything about it. Yet, America continues rolling along. If the debt becomes a critical issue, I'm sure that we'll all come together and focus on it, but today it is simply a political talking point that one side uses to attack the other.
18.7% I am concerned, but I am more concerned about other issues. I do want Congress and the President to address our growing debt, but not at the expense of focusing on other priorities that are important to me.
8% None of the opinions above accurately express my views.