I have consistently supported legislation and policies to get the nation’s long-term fiscal house in order by balancing the budget and reforming entitlements, so we can eventually pay down our debt.
Budget and Spending
Since 2008, our national debt has increased by more than $9 trillion. Under Democratic control, the United States ran $1 trillion dollar deficits for four consecutive years. After Republicans won back control of the U.S. House of Representatives, the nation’s deficits have shrunk dramatically, to $534 billion in fiscal year 2016. While the deficit is still far too high, the progress made is the direct result of conservative efforts to reign in out-of-control spending, even in divided government.
As a member of the House Budget Committee, I have consistently supported legislation to get our long-term fiscal house in order by balancing the budget and eventually pay down our debt. I support the aims of the Budget Control Act, which I hoped would lead to a solution to our long-term entitlement problems. Of the more than $3.7 trillion in spending done by the federal government, about one third is spent on discretionary programs (those that Congress and the president control on an annual basis). But unless we take on the complicated task of reforming the other two thirds of government designated as mandatory spending (mostly entitlement programs), America will eventually go bankrupt.
The country’s major entitlement programs (Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security) are the most significant drivers of our debt. In fiscal year 2012, all entitlements comprised more than 60 percent of federal spending. According to the Boards of Trustees for Social Security and Medicare, both are due to become insolvent within the next 25 years if no changes are made. Every year that we delay addressing the issue, the solutions become more expensive and more painful, and continue to put our children and grandchildren even deeper in debt.
That’s why I have supported legislation that would put us back on a path toward fiscal balance by making changes to Medicare for those 54 and younger, while protecting those who have planned their retirements around the system in place. Under this kind of plan, those 54 and younger will have the option of keeping traditional Medicare or moving into a program modeled after Medicare Part D (one of the only government programs to ever come in under budget by 40 percent). If Congress acts now, making smaller changes to critical safety-net programs will prevent worse cuts to current beneficiaries.
More on Economy
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Tom Cole (OK-04), during consideration of the rule for the House Republican budget for fiscal year 2016, made the following remarks on the House floor in support of the proposal:
In households across the United States, many families already understand that getting out of debt and staying out of debt requires a budget. Like the countless families who recognize the importance of setting spending limits and living within their means, Republicans have long agreed that the federal government should follow the same example.
During a quick glance of the news, it’s impossible to ignore the mounting crises overseas, like the dangerous uprising of terrorists groups in the Middle East and mobilization of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine. While these worldwide crises are currently in the forefront and rightly viewed as urgent threats to our nation’s security, the sometimes overlooked yet increasingly dangerous threat to our nation’s future prosperity and security is living in the form of our exploding national debt.
Washington Post - Steven Mufson, Juliet Eilperin and David Nakamura
President Obama will present a federal budget proposal on Monday that would exceed restrictive spending caps mandated by Congress four years ago and propose new capital gains and bank taxes, an effort that will likely get bogged down in congressional opposition to taxes and big budget deficits.
Red Alert Politics - Congressman Tom Cole
Even though many would prefer to forget, last week was a reminder of the painful government shutdown during October of last year. As we recall, that situation dragged on for too long and caused the American people to question the ability of lawmakers to do what they were elected to do. However, when both sides came to the table, they were able to find common ground that restored hope of a government that can function and serve the best interests of the nation.