Friday, October 20, 2017
Billy Long: We must prioritize fiscal responsibility
It is past time to make good on our promises in Washington and ensure a fiscally sustainable future for generations to come. A lot of has changed in the last eight years. When Republicans took the majority in the House of Representatives in 2011, the federal deficit stood at over $800 billion. Without control of the Senate and White House, it was nearly impossible to pass strong conservative legislation, but we did succeed in reducing the deficit by $300 billion.
While this is steady progress, these efforts have not been good enough, and the deficit for Fiscal Year 2018 is just under $500 billion. If Congress doesn’t act to make reforms, the Congressional Budget Office projects the deficit will reach $1.4 trillion in 2027. It is time to get our fiscal house in order.
Earlier this October the House passed the 2018 fiscal year budget. This budget would reduce spending, rein in the deficit and balance the budget within 10 years. It directs the House to find a minimum of $203 billion in savings through program reforms over the next 10 years. This budget would also pave the way for tax reform, limit the size of the federal government and strengthen our national defense. Our budget would reduce the deficit by $6.5 trillion over the next decade, which would result in a $9 billion surplus in 2027.
The House budget makes serious reforms to make sure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely and efficiently by reducing waste and mismanagement. In 2015, the federal government spent $843 billion on duplicative programs. To many unelected Washington bureaucrats that might not matter, but to me, and the millions of hardworking American Tax-payers, that is unacceptable. Not only are we spending money on duplicative programs, federal agencies have been unknowingly making improper payments for many years by overpaying or simply making payments to the wrong person. The waste and inefficiency is so staggering that improper payments totaled over $140 billion last year alone. My Republican colleagues and I have worked hard to make sure this does not happen again. We’re taking a serious look at all of the improper payments made by federal agencies, which could result in $700 billion in savings over the next 10 years.
Our budget also ensures that our military is ready and our men and women in uniform are properly equipped in a time of international turmoil. During the previous administration our military strength and readiness was ignored. Our defense budget was cut by over 20 percent from 2010 to 2016. As threats continue to expand it is my job to ensure we are ready. The need to invest for future needs is paramount to ensure our armed forces have the resources they need to protect our country.
President Ronald Reagan said it best when he said, “Government’s first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives.” I could not agree more. The House Republican budget does just that by prioritizing fiscal responsibility.