This week, the Senate gave final approval to the House-Senate budget deal that sets upcoming levels for government spending.
While I appreciate the bipartisan effort that brokered this budget deal, I couldn’t support the proposal. It spends an additional $63 billion over the next two years when we have a $17 trillion debt. To offset that higher spending, it raises revenue over ten years but spends that money in the first two years. It raises fees on air travelers and corporate pension premiums and reduces retirement benefits for military retirees to offset unrelated spending. The spending cuts are meager, and nearly all of them are put off until 2022 and 2023. We’ll never get the nation’s fiscal house in order if we keep kicking the can down the road, or pretending the can doesn’t exist.
As a start at fiscal discipline, we should at least abide by the spending caps put in place in August 2011 that provided a $2.1 trillion increase in the nation’s debt ceiling. This budget deal emphasizes that Congress has a spending problem. In the new year, I’ll continue to advocate for fiscal restraint and getting the most value for tax dollars spent. One of Congress’ primary duties is enacting a budget and appropriating spending. That means there are always opportunities to reduce spending if we just have the will to do it.