By Rep. Paul Broun, M.D. (GA)
Congressional Republicans received a late-night surprise on Saturday. In a three page letter addressed to Republican and Democrat leaders, President Barack Obama requested Congress to quickly approve an additional $50 billion in “emergency” stimulus funds to help bail out state and local governments. President Obama spent two thirds of the letter explaining the need to pass this “critical legislation.” However, on the last page he switched gears and mentioned three times the need to “establish a fiscally sustainable budget path,” “discipline the budget process,” and “ensure a sustainable and responsible long-term budget.” I have just one question, Mr. President: what budget?
The House has failed to produce a budget for the first time since 1974. As Politico’s David Rogers points out, “the White House has yet to back up its words with formal budget requests, and Saturday night’s letter to House and Senate leaders — leaked in advance to maximize coverage in the Sunday newspapers — was greeted as more of a public relations ploy.”
Similar to the family budget, a federal budget provides guidance for how the government should spend the American people’s hard-earned money. And perhaps more importantly, a budget provides accountability and transparency. With the U.S. national debt at $13 trillion and rising, I agree that Congress needs to “discipline the budget process.” Unfortunately, President Obama’s spending requests do not reflect this rhetoric.
The American people need more than “public relations ploys” and a bigger national debt that they will be forced to pay back down the road. I have introduced a Balanced Budget Amendment that would ensure the federal government does not spend more than it takes in. However, in order for this amendment to be effective, House Democrats need to complete their basic responsibility and introduce a budget.
I will continue to demand a budget from Congressional leadership, but I encourage you to get involved as well. You can help Congress decide which spending cuts to vote on at YouCut or propose new ideas at America Speaking Out.