This week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2920, the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2009. The bill will hold the Congress to a simple rule: that the Congress should pay for new tax policy and entitlement spending with cuts or revenue raisers elsewhere in the budget. Essentially, we have to account for what we spend.

PAYGO rules are crucial to keeping federal spending in check, and the return to this policy is not a moment too soon in this tough economy. The Congress has not been subject to PAYGO rules since the Clinton Administration, when the practice helped move America away from budget deficits and into the successive budget surpluses the nation enjoyed at the end of President Clinton’s term.

I was pleased to see the House take such a significant step towards fiscal discipline this week. As our nation grapples with the difficult issue of fixing our healthcare system, repairing our alliances overseas and setting our economy back on track, today’s legislation sends a signal to the American people that we are committed to being good stewards of their tax dollars. If families have to account for what they spend, Washington should have to do the same with taxpayer dollars.