The Senate must act on the House-passed appropriations bills
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The most fundamental role of Congress is to balance the national budget and eliminate our national debt. We have a deadline of Dec. 8 to authorize government spending or else “non-essential” government functions will be temporarily halted. Will we finish the work mandated by federal law, or will we use legislative duct tape and bailing wire to meet the deadline?

Earlier this year, the House of Representatives passed twelve appropriations bills and sent them to the Senate. This was the first time in fourteen years we have done this as required by law. The Senate has done nothing, ignoring this legislation like it has more than three hundred other House-passed bills this year. And now we are told we must pass yet another stop-gap spending bill so we can keep the federal government going. Uh-oh – looks like duct tape and bailing wire again.

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Why should we pass yet another short-term spending measure instead of acting on the budget the House has already passed? These short-term measures, known as continuing resolutions, have been used more than one hundred times since 1996. They are used to avoid actually budgeting – something every family in America does day-in and day-out. Without the direct accountability of a budget, Congress will continue to spend our nation into oblivion.

Without passing a responsible budget, including spending cuts and no increases to non-defense discretionary spending, we will continue the swampish, upside-down, out-of-whack, only-in-D.C. type of spending that will bankrupt this nation. Ten years ago, our national debt was an incredible $9 trillion. Just one decade of ineptitude has produced a debt that is now more than $20 trillion.

Each American’s portion of the national debt is nearly equivalent to $63,000, meaning a family of four has a total liability of almost $252,000. Given that the median household brings in about $60,000, this means the average family federal debt share quadruples their annual income – and that’s before taxes.

What’s more absurd is that Congress routinely raises its debt limit instead of addressing the problem of skyrocketing federal expenditures. We’ve raised our debt limit 78 times since 1960 – effectively robbing the next generation of trillions in the process.

Another complication is that we pay more than $260 billion in interest costs annually. Of our $20 trillion debt, more than $6 trillion is held by foreign countries. What if those nations decide to call our loans?

This path is unsustainable and perilous. We receive an incredible amount of revenue, and yet we somehow overspend every year. We don’t have a revenue problem – we have a spending problem. Congress needs to address the elephant in the room and start cutting wasteful spending.

We owe it to every American – particularly our grandchildren – to pass a real budget, to cut spending, to decrease our debt, and to stop borrowing money we cannot afford to repay. We should not continue our death spiral through short-term spending gimmicks like “continuing resolutions.”

Some will say that producing an honest budget would be historic. They may be right. But they are only correct because Congress has habitually neglected its foremost constitutional duty.

This year, the House passed twelve appropriations bills and sent them to the Senate for action. It’s past time for the Senate to take action on those bills. No more legislative duct tape and bailing wire! We can’t afford them anyway.

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