As the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, said, “The national debt is the single biggest threat to national security.” With total U.S. outstanding debt fast approaching 100 percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and the rating agency Standard & Poor’s recently changing the outlook for U.S. debt from ‘stable’ to ‘negative,’ real reforms are desperately needed.
America is on a collision course with a fiscal crisis that will result in national bankruptcy and a bleak economic outlook, unless Congress and the President work together to control government spending and avert this crisis – which is the most predictable crisis in American history.
Under the Obama presidency, a record $9.32 trillion was added to our nation’s debt, solely because Washington continued to spend money it did not have, thereby depriving our children and grandchildren of a prosperous future. According to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) latest estimates, over the next decade the federal government will run a $9.4 trillion deficit. According to CBO: “Beyond the 10-year period, if current laws remained in place, the pressures that contributed to rising deficits during the baseline period would accelerate and push debt up even more sharply.
That is unacceptable, unsustainable, and it will condemn Americans to a future with a downsized American Dream; no longer will future generations be better off than their parents and grandparents but instead they will live in an America with fewer opportunities, less economic freedom, and a lower standard of living.
While our national debt is not solely responsible for the slow economic growth our economy remains mired in today, it is certainly a factor depressing economic growth. Therefore, it is essential that we rein in spending and put our nation onto a sustainable fiscal path. We cannot simply call for more spending and higher taxes that grow Washington’s economy at the expense of the Main Street economy. Ending this culture of profligate spending – and the routine of blithely passing the bill for it on to our children – represents our nation’s fiscal challenge, and combating it is our moral responsibility.
RESPONSIBLY FUNDING THE GOVERNMENT
In April of 2017, I voted for the Consolidated Appropriations bill. This legislation continues the downward trend in federal spending to put our nation on a sustainable fiscal path, while providing critical funding for education (including year-round Pell grants), transportation and other services.
The legislation prevents the transfer of detainees from Guantanamo Bay, and denies funding for California’s high-speed rail project. The bill also provides increased funding for defense and border security.