Budget & Debt

Washington continues to spend at unsustainable levels. That is why I voted against H.R. 8, the American Taxpayer Relief Act when it passed Congress on January 1, 2013. This plan does not address the real driver of our debt – spending. President Obama's unwillingness to address this continues to cripple our efforts to find a long-term solution. We cannot tax our way out of this fiscal situation.

The President himself has said on multiple occasions that spending cuts must be part of the solution. In fact, on April 13, 2011 he remarked, "So any serious plan to tackle our deficit will require us to put everything on the table, and take on excess spending wherever it exists in the budget." However, his words have seldom matched his actions.

We owe it to our children and grandchildren to make the tough choices and devise a long-term solution that gets our economy back on track and reduces our deficits. I remain hopeful that the President will join us in this effort.

Balance Budget Amendment

The proposed balanced budget amendment would require the federal government to balance its expenditures with its revenues. Unlike most states, the U.S. Constitution does not require Congress to pass a balanced budget, which remains one of the many reasons why our deficit is out of control. The Constitution explicitly grants Congress the power to borrow money on the credit of the United States. Unfortunately, the borrowing is currently at unsustainable levels and our country has entirely too much debt.

I am a proud co-sponsor of H.J.Res. 1, which proposes a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. We need to take serious measures to reduce deficit spending and balance the federal budget while simplifying the tax code to allow businesses and households to thrive.

Debt Ceiling

I voted against the Budget Control Act of 2011 on August 1, 2011. With a national debt that currently stands at $14.3 trillion, we needed a plan that solved the problems posed by both a potential default and Washington's spending habits. I concluded that many parts of this plan insisted upon by the President and Senate leadership took the easy way out, resulting in a compromise without real solutions.

The final bill did not include enough of the elements of my preferred "Cut, Cap and Balance" bill. "Cut, Cap and Balance" as well as the "Boehner Plan" required more immediate spending cuts, and that a Balanced Budget Amendment be passed and sent to the states before allowing the President to raise the debt limit a second time. Unfortunately, this requirement was left out of the compromise.

Additionally, the original "Boehner Plan" specified that defense cuts could not exceed three percent. However, the President insisted that as much as 50 percent of the cuts included in this bill could fall on defense, while failing to include spending reforms in the areas that are the true drivers of our deficit spending. The uncertainty surrounding the President's defense cuts could negatively impact Middle Georgia. I couldn't vote for a plan that might force our community to suffer and still kicks the can down the road.