Wednesday, April 8, 2015

We Need a Balanced Budget

Phil Roe
by U.S. Representative Phil Roe, 1st District of Tennessee -  Earlier this week I launched a redesigned Congressional website, which will allow me to better serve and communicate with constituents in the First District. In order to spread the word to as many East Tennesseans as possible, I emailed everyone on my newsletter list to let them know and asked for some feedback on a very important question: What do you think Congress most needs to focus on the most to get our country back on track? While the poll wasn’t scientific, out of nearly 2,000 responses, almost 32% said government spending. Another 16% said jobs and the economy should be the focus in Congress. You might be pleased to know that just last week the House took an important step to address these issues when we passed a budget.

Like you, I believe that out-of-control spending is one of the most significant threats to American prosperity. For too long, lawmakers from both parties have been irresponsible with tax dollars and put off the tough choices until the next budget year or the next Congress—really just leaving them for the next generation. I feel so strongly that we need to balance our budget that I am a cosponsor of H.J. Res. 2, a Constitutional amendment to prohibit spending from exceeding revenues unless three-fifths of both the House and Senate vote otherwise. I voted for this Constitutional amendment in the 112th Congress, but, unfortunately, it did not receive the two-thirds vote required to pass the House. Tennessee has a balanced budget, as do 48 states, and it’s time Washington live by the same rules.

The budget proposal passed by the House last week cuts spending by $5.5 trillion and brings the budget into balance in less than ten years. It preserves Medicare for future generations, repeals the president’s health care law and provides adequate resources to maintain a strong military and national defense. It paves the way for investment in important things like education and infrastructure, and ensures Americans who are facing hard times have a safety net by funding public housing, unemployment and disability insurance and other programs intended to provide temporary assistance to those who are struggling.
The proposal also eliminates waste and targets fraud and abuse in government programs. For example, there are 92 different anti-poverty programs, 17 food aid programs and 22 housing assistance programs. An Inspector General report found that employees at the Environmental Protection Agency are taking paid leave after work-related violations. I believe we can provide important services without dozens of duplicative programs and there is no reason taxpayers should pay leave for government employees who are being disciplined. These are just a few of many examples of ways our wasteful, bloated government is repeatedly failing taxpayers.
I was also proud to support the Republican Study Committee’s budget proposal, which would cut spending by $7.1 trillion and balance the budget in six years. Unfortunately, this budget did not receive enough votes to pass the House.
I’m open to many ideas and proposals that would get our country’s fiscal house back in order. I believe Congress can work together to introduce and debate bills that will start the process of shrinking government while making the government we have work for the American people. Please rest assured I will continue to support proposals that will cut spending, eliminate wasteful programs and pave the way for private-sector economic development and job creation.

Feel free to contact my office if we can be of assistance to you or your family. Our contact information can be found on our website,

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