Wicker supports balanced budget

Published 7:00 am Thursday, April 2, 2015

Earlier this year, President Obama released a budget proposal that would borrow more, spend more, and tax more – adding $6 trillion in deficits over the next 10 years. Like the President’s previous budgets, it was overwhelmingly rejected in the Senate by a vote of 98-1.
$500 Billion in Economic Growth
Senate Republicans, however, have a better plan in mind. A budget introduced by Sen. Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, champions a pro-growth agenda instead of a big-government one. According to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Sen. Enzi’s budget would increase America’s economic growth by more than $500 billion over the next decade. In Mississippi, that could mean more than 10,000 new jobs.

Unlike the President’s budget, Republicans’ plan would balance spending and revenues, reduce the debt by trillions of dollars, and produce a surplus – all without raising taxes. Simply put, it makes the tough decisions needed to rein in spending, just like families in America are forced to do every day. It also repeals and replaces Obamacare, offering relief from a law that has not reformed health care, instead burdening Americans with canceled coverage and higher co-pays.
A Long-Term Look at Spending
Seriously addressing America’s debt problem is long overdue. At more than $18 trillion, the federal debt is unprecedented and unsustainable. Interest payments on the debt are on the rise, expected to triple by 2025, when they will top $800 billion. If that happens, annual interest payments will become the third-highest expenditure in the federal budget, behind only Medicare and Social Security. Particularly disheartening is that these payments offer taxpayers nothing in return.

As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, I was successful in adding an amendment to Sen. Enzi’s budget proposal before it came to a vote on the Senate floor. Specifically, my provision would require the CBO to calculate the long-term economic impact of major spending legislation. Instead of producing only 10-year estimates, which is the agency’s current practice, the CBO would make projections for 20 years. Such analyses, for example, would have been insightful during the debate on the President’s health-care law, which is expected to cost significantly more than the CBO’s 10-year forecasts initially suggested.
Plan for Prosperity
Producing a spending plan is a basic responsibility of governing. Congress is required by law to pass a budget resolution every year – an obligation Senate Democrats met only once while holding the majority over the past five years. Consideration of the budget is often accompanied by a marathon “vote-a-rama,” in which lawmakers offer and vote on an unlimited number of amendments. I used this opportunity to draw attention to several important issues, offering amendments to strengthen our defense ties with allies, find a cure for Alzheimer’s, advance port dredging and maintenance, and protect hospitals that serve vulnerable populations from Obamacare’s harmful cuts.

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I am encouraged by this year’s budget process, which has produced meaningful debates about government spending and America’s financial future. Taxpayers deserve a government that is run efficiently and effectively. A balanced budget would be a major step in the right direction, putting the country on a path that promises prosperity, not crushing debt.

By Senator Roger Wicker