With budget deal, Congress again fails to hold spending in check

Congress has a bipartisan problem – an out-of-control spending habit. When I ask Coloradans, what keeps them up at night, the overwhelming majority say making ends meet and balancing their family’s budget. Yet, somehow that concept is lost in the people’s House.

Our founders envisioned a strong legislative branch that would jealously guard the power of the purse, with the House of Representatives acting to ensure the peoples’ money would be spent wisely. Regrettably, time and again this body has failed to use that power responsibly as the founders envisioned. Just two weeks ago, the House saddled the American people with another budget deal that only furthers Washington’s insatiable spending appetite. But this is not an isolated incident – it is just another symptom of a greater problem: a weak and dysfunctional legislative branch.

Last week’s budget deal puts Congress’ unwillingness to take a strong stand for fiscal stability on display for all to see. Bipartisan leaders worked together to recklessly add nearly $2 trillion to an already ballooning $22 trillion federal debt. Not only does this deal dramatically increase discretionary spending and suspend the debt ceiling until July 31, 2021, it does so without legitimate offsets. Moreover, this deal will inevitably pave the way for another trillion dollar plus omnibus spending deal this fall. Just wait for it.

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It wasn’t always this way. Congress enacted the Budget Control Act (BCA) in 2011 to solve the impending debt-ceiling crisis. Our leaders worked together to create a responsible solution and achieve the important goal of slowing the growth of discretionary spending, and it did work initially.

But with these important changes came increased responsibility, and Congress has failed the test. Since Republicans took control of the House in 2011, spending has increased by roughly $440 billion and the budget caps have been amended upward almost every single year since the BCA was enacted into law. Most recently, Congress passed the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 which increased spending by $296 billion over a two-year period. 

Where is our fiscal sanity? Where does the Republican Party stand? A fundamental principle of our party’s platform is fiscal responsibility, but today the deficit hawk is an endangered species.

So, what separates us from Democrats? Unfortunately, the answer is very little. Too often, Republicans have caved to the swamp’s unsustainable spending culture in exchange for increased spending for our own favorite programs. Then we tout the extra spending as a win all while ignoring the fact that we are saddling our kids and grandkids with an insurmountable debt.

This is irresponsible and wrong. America needs the strong Congress that the founders envisioned, one that holds spending in check while ensuring we work together to solve our nation’s problems.

We need to keep our promises to the American people and keep our spending under control. Because ultimately, when Democrats continue to spend excessively and Republicans continue to cave on reining in the budget, America is left wondering who’s running the show.

Ken BuckKenneth (Ken) Robert BuckThe House must act now on USMCA to build on the ecomomy's success Wave of GOP retirements threatens 2020 comeback With budget deal, Congress again fails to hold spending in check MORE represents Colorado’s 4th District.