Rep. Kevin Hern: It's Time for Congress to Get Busy Fixing the Federal Budget

Washington, December 16, 2018 | Miranda Dabney
An opinion-editorial by Congressman Kevin Hern on the need for Congress to get back to the regular order of passing a balanced budget and appropriations bills to fund the government.
In October, President Donald Trump told his cabinet to “get rid of the fat, get rid of the waste.” He sent a strong message that federal spending had ballooned out of control and solving our budget crisis was a shared responsibility across our government.

President Trump understands that we can’t wait a moment longer to address the nation’s fiscal situation.

Asking agencies to cut just 5 percent of their budgets for next year is a step in the right direction. Even small cuts will have a ripple effect as we move towards fiscal responsibility and smaller government.
As a business owner, I would never run my business the way we’ve run the federal government. If I did, I’d go bankrupt almost immediately.

A company that does not operate within a balanced budget will face the harsh consequences of their irresponsibility. Yet, the federal government can grow the deficit without repercussions. That’s just not right.

The last few years, our government has been funded by short-term spending bills and continuing resolutions to prevent government shutdowns. These stopgap tactics don’t address reckless spending habits and certainly don’t address the growing deficit. We continue to add to the debt, postponing any action on the real problem.

We must work together to create a budget that balances. We must work together to pass all 12 appropriations bills. Short-term spending bills are not the solution and we cannot rely on them anymore. It’s imperative that we work together to get back on the path of fiscal responsibility before it’s too late.

In the years since Congress passed the Budget Control Act of 2011, spending caps have been raised three times – eroding the intent of the law. As a result, we’ve completely lost our grip on discretionary spending. With each successive change to the law, we betrayed the American people.

To right these wrongs, we’ll have to be creative. There is no easy fix to solve a $22 trillion deficit, but the first step is clear: work together to stop adding to it.

We cannot allow the government to spend more than it takes in. Not only is this practice irresponsible, but it’s harmful to our children and all future generations.

With the national debt growing every day, we cannot continue to kick the can down the road. We need to face this crisis head-on.

Frankly, Americans deserve better. Congress can no longer be content to pass continuing resolutions and omnibus bills that put off the hard work of true leadership.

We are long overdue a return to the normal funding order. No more shutdown fights, no more stopgap spending bills.

Governing from crisis to crisis is not leadership. It’s time we put in the work to get it right and solve our budget crisis. Let’s get to work.