As I write to you today you should know that in the wee hours of Saturday morning a last minute deal was reached to head off a federal government shutdown. The agreement immediately cuts $38.5 billion in federal spending – the largest spending cut in American history in terms of dollars. Without the agreement the federal government would have stopped operating as of midnight Friday night.
With this deal to fund the government through the end of the 2011 fiscal year, we are beginning to reverse the runaway spending trend. This is a historic blow to the culture of runaway spending in Washington. It also gives us a chance to take on job-destroying ObamaCare as this agreement guarantees a Senate vote on President Obama’s government takeover of health care in its entirety. The agreement also guarantees a Senate debate and vote on legislation that would end federal funding for Planned Parenthood – the nation’s largest provider of abortions.
This was not the first time the House has passed legislation to keep the government open. On Thursday we passed another measure to avert a government shutdown which would have funded our military men and women through the end of the current fiscal year while cutting $12 billion in wasteful spending. The legislation also funded our government for another week to allow negotiations to continue. Sadly, the Senate refused to even consider the bill, putting our brave servicemen and women in a position that would have seen them protecting our freedoms abroad while worrying about their families getting by without pay back home. It was unconscionable!
Thankfully, the White House and the Senate finally acquiesced to cut spending and keep the government open. While we like to have gotten more cuts this year, we got $78 billion in cuts compared to what the President originally wanted for this year, which is a substantial achievement considering the President originally had proposed no cuts.
I was glad our men and women fighting for our freedoms - and their families - would not have to endure the uncertainty of no paychecks. I spoke on the floor of the House earlier in the week calling for the funding of our troops. They deserve the best and should not be used as political pawns in a budget showdown! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=65tWSTUuC88
All the talk of a government shutdown overshadowed a very important event on Capitol Hill. Budget Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled our budget for the 2012 fiscal year that begins October 1st. The budget would cut $6.2 trillion from the President's proposed budget over ten years. It would also reduce the deficit by more than $4.4 trillion over the next decade when compared to the Congressional Budget Office’s score of President Obama’s budget.
Key to this budget proposal are reforms to Medicare and Medicaid spending as the programs would be overhauled. What is important for citizens 55 and older to know is that there will be NO changes in their Medicare benefits. So, if you’re 55 or older and hear about or read scare tactics regarding your benefits – keep in mind what you are learning is NOT true. You will continue to receive your Medicare benefits as you receive them now. What is proposed are common sense reforms to preserve and strengthen these programs for future generations.
I was honored, this week, to meet with and thank more than 100 World War II veterans who made the trek to Washington, courtesy of the Central Missouri Honor Flight. These heroes, who fought for our freedom, visited their Memorial on the National Mall. We can never thank them enough for the service they gave to America.
On a very positive note, the Senate followed the lead of the House by taking action to repeal the onerous 1099 paperwork provision that was made part of the ObamaCare health care legislation. The 1099 provision would have required business – big and small – to fill out and file IRS 1099 forms for small expenditures. It was great to see Republicans and Democrats coming together to pass this important legislation that presented a headache for businesses and hurt job creation.
In another development, the House voted to bar federal regulators from enforcing new climate-change rules. This effort by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to restrict greenhouse-gas emissions follows failure to enact the cap-and-tax law. In voting against enforcement of these regulations, the House sent a message that the EPA is wrong to overreach and to unilaterally instill measures not approved by Congress – measures that are unfriendly to businesses, farmers and individuals.