Democrat leaders aren’t living up to their promises and spending wildly

By Representative Kevin Hern for the Tulsa World

Looking back on President Joe Biden’s first year in the White House, there’s a lot to be desired. Despite unilateral control of Washington, DC, Democrat leaders have not fulfilled a single promise made on the campaign trail.

Biden promised no vaccine mandates; now, he’s lost multiple court battles over that very issue. He promised to shut down the virus; COVID deaths in 2021 outpaced those in 2020 — even with widespread use of the vaccine. He promised millions of new jobs after the expensive, partisan American Rescue Plan this spring; instead, inflation is at a 40-year high, and we are still over a million jobs short of Biden’s promise.

Following these failures, have the Democrats looked back over their policies and realigned their priorities with overwhelming public opinion? Of course not.

President Biden has led Democrats to believe that his presidency is an opportunity to spend as much taxpayer money as possible. The American Rescue Plan cost taxpayers $1.9 trillion; COVID relief in total came at the cost of nearly $4 trillion — much of which remains unspent. Now, they’re trying to ram a $5 trillion bill through Congress despite widespread concerns from members of both parties.

The story of 2021 is spending — unchecked, off-the-rails, reckless spending. And what do we have to show for it? Economic recovery is stagnant, workers remain incentivized to stay out of the workforce, and small businesses are folding while tech giants score record profits.

Meanwhile, the federal government is operating without a budget and hasn’t completed the full budget and appropriations process on time since 1997. Federal law dictates the way Congress is meant to pass a federal budget, yet there is no punishment for failure to do so.

Democrats haven’t written a single budget since taking back the majority in 2019. This year, the only budget introduced in the House was the one I wrote with the Republican Study Committee. Speaker Nancy Pelosi won’t even look at it.

The budget is merely the first hurdle. Funding the government through the appropriations process is the second, and it rarely happens on schedule. That’s why we’re in a never-ending cycle of short-term spending bills and government shutdowns.

If the process is the problem, we must amend the process. Until that happens, Congress is in violation of federal law.

It’s clear that business-as-usual isn’t working. At the start of this year, I introduced a slate of bills meant to make the government work more efficiently, including punishments for failure to adhere to the budget process as laid out in the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

These reforms remain a top priority going into 2022. If Congress doesn’t pass a budget on time, we shouldn’t get paid and we shouldn’t recess.

This spring, I will again lead the RSC’s Budget and Spending Task Force, where we will produce an actionable budget for the federal government and present it to Speaker Pelosi. Once again, I expect it will be the only budget written in the House.

My FY 2022 budget set a high bar: it balances in just five years while cutting taxes by nearly $2 trillion. I’ve already begun work on the FY 2023 budget and will maintain those priorities: balance the budget, cut taxes for hardworking American families, condense redundant programs and eliminate wasteful spending.

A lot of people ask me why I bother writing a budget when we know Pelosi won’t read it. The reason is simple: Pelosi isn’t my audience, you are. While Pelosi pursues failed socialist policies, the American people need to know that someone in Washington still cares about fiscal responsibility. The taxpayers demand accountability for this spending, and they want to know that someone’s prepared to do something about it.

I’m writing this budget because I want you to see our plan for America with your own eyes. It’s in stark contrast to the failed policies of Biden’s Administration.

The year 2021 may have been defined by unprecedented spending, but with necessary reforms, 2022 can be the year we return to fiscal responsibility.

Congressman Kevin Hern is a Republican and represents Oklahoma’s 1st District, which includes all of Tulsa, Washington and Wagoner counties and parts of Rogers and Creek counties.