Congressman Jeff Duncan's Legislative Update 8/15/11
By Congressman Jeff Duncan
I wanted to give you an update on a serious situation in Washington that has been in the news for the past several weeks.
As you may know, Standard & Poor’s (S&P), one of the three major credit agencies, downgraded the United States credit rating from AAA to AA+ with a negative economic outlook. The main reason for the downgrade was that Washington failed to make large enough spending cuts when they raised the debt ceiling. One of the reasons I voted AGAINST the debt ceiling compromise was because I knew that paltry cuts and another commission wouldn’t be enough to save our credit rating and solve our debt crisis. I wasn’t sent to Washington to make deals for the sake of making deals, you sent me to Washington to fix a broken political system and help get our country back on track. You deserve to know the truth, and the truth is that there was plenty of solutions offered up that would have forced government to live within its means and protect the United States credit rating.
The first was the Republican budget that passed the House back in April. The budget passed the House with large support and would have immediately gone to work cutting spending and strengthening programs like Medicare for our seniors by ensuring the services remained financially stable. The Republican controlled House passed a budget shortly after the 2010 midterm elections, yet it’s been over 850 days since the Democrat controlled Senate passed a budget. A country operating without a budget is like trying to drive a truck while blindfolded, nothing good can come from the experience.
An even stronger plan passed the House with bipartisan support a few weeks ago that would have permanently reformed the way Washington spent money, a plan called “Cut, Cap, & Balance.” This plan included immediate spending cuts, future caps on spending relative to GDP, and a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. Unfortunately, the Democrat controlled Senate tabled the bill without even allowing it to be debated. The House Budget and Cut, Cap, & Balance were the only two plans submitted that cut over $4 trillion in spending over the next ten years, a requirement set by S&P to keep the United States credit rating intact.
So where do we go from here? The two bills I referenced are still sitting over in the Senate where they could be voted on immediately. I strongly believe that Cut, Cap, & Balance is exactly the type of revolutionary spending reform that prevents our children and grandchildren from inheriting mountains of debt. I will continue to push Congress to adopt that plan. Another opportunity to cut spending will come up in the month of September when Congress faces a deadline to set spending levels for the next fiscal year. This should be a good opportunity for conservatives to revive the Balanced Budget Amendment debate and push for short term spending cuts. Finally, as I’ve said before, we’re not $14 trillion in debt because we tax Americans too little; we’re in debt because as a country we spend too much money. If President Obama wants more taxes to pay down the debt, we should create more taxpayers not raise taxes on American families. I believe the United States can create more taxpayers by putting a stop to President Obama’s anti-small business, pro-union, and hyper-regulatory agenda that has made it harder for businesses to grow and create jobs.
The 87 new freshmen Congressmen have changed the topic in Washington. Instead of how much to spend, we’re now voting on how much to cut. The new freshmen have managed to change the conversation in Washington, but we still have a lot of work to do to really solve our problems. I appreciate all the encouragement I received during the debt ceiling debate. It meant a lot to hear so many people from back home encouraging me to stand firm and fight to get government spending under control. I’m sorry I couldn’t convince more lawmakers to stand with the South Carolina delegation and fight for the types of spending reforms that our country needs and Americans deserve. I’m looking forward to spending the next few weeks in the district, listening to your concerns so I can better carry your voice to Washington.