Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA-09) has penned an op-ed piece concerning the President’s (late) budget. This is 4th straight year President Barack Obama has failed to comply with the law and deliver a budget to Congress on time. Enjoy.
President Obama’s Budget – Several days late & $16 trillion short
President Obama has had much to say lately concerning Congress’ inability to address the fiscal challenges facing our nation. “Washington cannot continually operate under a cloud of crisis,” he declared during his Super Bowl Sunday interview. The President went on to say that “we need additional revenue, coupled with smart spending reductions, in order to bring down our deficit.”
But for all his advice, the President has spent much of his time in office contributing to the “cloud of crisis” surrounding the national budget.
Earlier this month, President Obama failed in his legal obligation to deliver a budget to Congress on time. This marks the fourth time in the last five years he has failed to submit a budget on time – a disappointing track record for someone who claims to be concerned with the fiscal crisis.
When the President’s tardy budget finally does make it to Congress, it’s a document that seeks to spend too much, borrow too much, and tax too much. He has never attempted to balance his budget, opting to simply add to the deficit. Not a single member of the House or Senate voted to support President Obama’s budget last year. If members of the President’s own party don’t recognize his budgets as viable plans, it makes one wonder why he bothers submitting them at all.
Of course, rhetoric is much simpler than reality. It’s much easier to talk about budgeting than actually create a workable budget. The President correctly stated that we need spending reductions. We don’t have a revenue problem in this country; we have a spending problem. The federal government is currently spending $1 trillion more than it takes in every year. At that rate, it’s no wonder we are facing a growing national debt of more than $16 trillion.
Washington needs leaders who are willing to actually articulate what cuts need to be made. True leaders must come to the table with meaningful proposals to reform spending as well as federal programs that are driving up public debt.
I joined my House colleagues this month in supporting legislation that requires the President to produce a date by which his proposed budget will balance. The Require a PLAN Act would be triggered when the President sends a budget to Congress that does not balance within the time span of that budget. This proposal would give the American people a meaningful sense of how effective a President’s budget is in improving our nation’s economic outlook.
The next step Congress must take is passage of a federal budget, which it has failed to accomplish in nearly four years. We must also conduct careful oversight of federal spending by observing the normal appropriations process. More than a decade has passed since Congress passed all its appropriations measures in regular order, instead of omnibus measures or continuing resolutions. Members on both sides of the aisle in both chambers of Congress must work together to produce a realistic budget. This budget should provide a roadmap that addresses the serious fiscal challenges facing our nation, eliminate wasteful federal spending, and keep taxes low so the economy can recover. In addition, this budget should outline serious reforms of programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security to ensure their long-term fiscal health.
A Balanced Budget Amendment should also be adopted to hold future Congresses accountable. I have already cosponsored two pieces of legislation proposing a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A Balanced Budget Amendment will be an effective tool in getting our nation’s fiscal house in order by forcing Washington to live within its means. Hard-working taxpayers have to go home every day and balance their books. They watch what they spend and know what they take in, and it’s time that Congress and the President work together to do the same.
Americans keep waiting to see what real solutions will come out of Washington, and this month, they were disappointed yet again. The President’s delay in submitting a fiscally responsible budget to Congress is yet another hindrance to economic recovery. Uncertainties like this one continue to hold businesses back from hiring new workers and entrepreneurs from investing in new projects. If the President is serious about clearing the “cloud of crisis” from the federal budget process, he can start by meeting his obligation to the American people by crafting a balanced budget for the upcoming fiscal year.