Tough decisions on budget must be faced: Column
By Rep. Dan Newhouse
Congress is responsible for funding our country’s government, and we have some difficult decisions to make. I came to Washington, D.C., to advocate for the priorities of my constituents, and I have heard loud and clear that the people of Central Washington want to ensure we aren’t further saddling our future generations with crippling debt.
The Budget Control Act (BCA) set spending caps for Congress to abide by. Under this law, if the spending caps are exceeded, a government-wide sequester of both mandatory and discretionary funding would occur. This would mean cuts to our military, social and safety net programs like Medicare and Social Security, and all other government-funded projects and departments. The threat of sequester is something that has been looming over the heads of Congress since I was elected, but we are dealing with it in the wrong way.
The House and Senate recently passed the Bipartisan Budget Deal of 2019, which would increase the spending caps of the BCA by $320 million and add nearly $2 trillion to our national debt.
Instead of taking a serious look at our spending and our finances, members of both chambers hurried to support a deal negotiated by Speaker Pelosi, despite the long-term consequences. I have served in Congress for nearly five years, and this was the third time I have faced a vote to abandon our fiscal responsibility and raise the spending caps. I voted no, just as I have in the previous two cases.
While the BCA has become outdated and is in need of rejuvenation, I wholeheartedly believe in the intent behind the law. I have long advocated that if the average household in Central Washington is unable to spend above its means, then why should the federal government?
Our national debt is quickly approaching $23 trillion, and we owe it to our children and grandchildren to take meaningful action. I have consistently supported a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution that would that require the federal government to spend only what it takes in. I have voted to stop the toxic practice of the government spending billions of dollars on expired and unnecessary programs that haven’t been used in years. I have cosponsored resolutions to recognize our national debt as a threat to our national security, and I will continue to voice my concerns.
We can’t keep kicking this can down the road. The United States has a spending problem, and we must take a hard look at our funding levels – both mandatory and discretionary – to ensure we are best serving the American people.
Our economy is booming, unemployment is at a historic low, and wages are rising across the country – we should not waste this opportunity on votes to raise spending caps, recklessly operate without a budget, or spend above our means. This is not the right decision for Central Washington or the rest of the country.
Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Wash., represents Washington’s 4th District in the U.S. House of Representa-tives. To send an email to Rep. Newhouse, go to https://newhouse.house.gov/contact.