Americans budget and plan how to spend their hard-earned money every day. They expect nothing less of Washington. But the majority in Congress has a different idea about one of its most fundamental responsibilities.
Recently, the Democratic leadership announced it will forgo crafting a budget resolution in 2010. They believe making tough decisions in the current fiscal environment will hinder their prospects in November; it’s much easier for them to ignore Congress’ April 15 deadline for adopting a budget.
Not since the enactment of the 1974 Budget Act has the House failed to craft a budget resolution.
Failure to set budget limits cannot come at a worse time. The national debt recently surpassed $13 trillion. The massive budget deficits are the result of the Democrats’ tax, borrow and spend agenda, which since President Obama took office includes the debt-financed $1.1 trillion stimulus package, a multitrillion-dollar government takeover of health care, and an 84 percent increase in annual non-defense spending.
The American people are calling for restraint, but Democrats are defiantly moving forward with their liberal agenda. A new energy tax, known as the cap-and-trade bill, is next on Washington’s list. This burden on energy consumers will hit our country’s economy hard, and will especially devastate Wyoming’s economy.
Within two years, nearly one billion U.S. tax dollars will go to debt service every day, and it will escalate if we let President Obama’s agenda run its course.
The world is taking notice. China, the single largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasuries, finances much of U.S. debt. Last year, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao admitted he was “worried” about U.S. debt — this, when the passage of Obamacare was still in limbo.
This past Monday, German Economy Minister Rainer Bruederle called on the U.S. to join Europe in “urgently” cutting spending. “It’s urgently necessary for monetary stability that public budgets return to balance,” Bruederle said. “This is something we should also tell our American friends.”
You know something is amiss when Germany is calling on America to focus on deficit reduction.
The debt crisis in Greece draws stark parallels to the current financial situation in the U.S. The budget deficit this year is projected to reach $1.5 trillion, which is just over 10 percent of the size of our entire economy. The Congressional Budget Office reports that under the president’s budget, U.S. debt will triple by the end of the decade.
The U.S. desperately needs to stabilize our debt and solidify U.S. Treasury bonds as the world’s safest and most reliable investment. The alternative is a potential “debt spiral,” a devastating combination of monumental national debt and rising interest rates.
We must stop the reckless spending now. I have joined Republicans on the House Budget Committee in identifying $1.3 trillion in realistic savings we could achieve over the next 10 years. Part of the plan includes legislation I wrote, the Federal Workforce Reduction Act. The bill aims to gradually reduce the size of the civilian federal work force, which alone would save at least $35 billion over 10 years.
Our dire fiscal situation won’t fix itself. It’s time to make tough decisions to ensure that future generations of Americans have all the opportunities that we are so blessed to have. We need real leadership to steer our country’s fiscal ship in the right direction. The alternative is condemning our children to a lifetime of debt servitude.
House Budget Committee Chairman Representative John Spratt, a South Carolina Democrat, once said, “If you can’t budget, you can’t govern.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.
Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., is a member of the U.S. House Budget Committee.