You might think Republicans are divided, but my plan will unite us all

By Representative Kevin Hern for Fox News

Last week, the media obsessed over House Republicans’ debate concerning rules reforms and leadership decisions for the 118th Congress. Despite wall-to-wall coverage of the speaker election, most media outlets ignored that conservatives are unified behind the desire to fix the top issue facing our country, the national debt and President Biden’s reckless spending agenda. 

Restoring fiscal sanity will be what unites the House’s Republican majority and advances the conservative movement in 2023. The Republican Study Committee (RSC), reinforced by new House Rules designed to rein in excessive spending, will be leading that charge.  

Nancy Pelosi’s $2 trillion lame duck omnibus, which was riddled with additional mandatory spending, only added to our nation’s $31 trillion national debt and accelerated the United States’ approach to yet another fiscal cliff: the debt limit, which is set to expire later in 2023. 

Since Biden took office, Democrats have created $10 trillion in new spending, a record amount in just two years. Overspending has left America’s fiscal house in ruin and our economy ravaged with record inflation. Many economists believe next year brings new risks of major recession, stagflation and market instability. 

Rather than take any responsibility, Biden and his allies have tried repeatedly to blame Republicans and the so-called "Trump tax cuts" for America’s yearly deficits. This assertion is simply false. In fact, the Congressional Budget Office now projects that revenues are on track to increase by roughly $500 billion over 10 years since TCJA’s enactment – even after adjusting for inflation. Furthermore, 2022 tax revenues were the second highest in history outside of World War II.

This much we know is true: our government does not have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. 

At some point, the government will run out of borrowing authority in 2023. As we approach this harsh reality, it’s our responsibility in Congress to institute real spending reforms and restraints. It’s been over a decade since Congress enacted meaningful legislation to fight our swelling debt, and in that period, about $16 trillion has been added to our national debt. It more than doubled. 

Conservatives must be bold. We must fight to restore fiscal sanity and rein in government spending. Major reforms to the budget and appropriations process are necessary, as well as significant reductions in spending. Our voters elected us to ease the economic pain; anything else is a disservice to them.  

I recently began my tenure as the new chairman of the RSC. My job is to ensure our members are given the policy knowledge and a voice to advance their conservative priorities. 

Regarding our spending problem, there’s a lot we can and must do to tackle it. For starters, lawmakers should institute strong discretionary statutory caps on spending, rather than leaving our annual limits up to negotiations conducted by a handful of powerful members. More mandatory spending should be subject to the annual appropriations process, reversing the persistent trend of moving discretionary spending to the mandatory side of the ledger. Congress must not shy away from reforms needed to protecting the solvency of our most important safety net entitlement programs. 

Moreover, countless government programs are non-essential or duplicative and must be consolidated or eliminated. In 2010, Congress required the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to inventory all existing government programs on their website. Over 12 years later, OMB is still unable to count how many federal programs exist. This is unacceptable.

I am pleased that one of the promises made by House Republican leadership during last week’s negotiations was to pursue through regular order a congressional budget that balances in 10 years. Since Democrats took control of the House in 2018, Speaker Pelosi had not produced a single budget, violating her own axiom, "Show me your budget and I will show you your values." In stark contrast, RSC has put forth a budget every fiscal year (I was proud to lead the efforts for FY 22 and FY 23), and we will continue to do so.

The RSC’s budget offers a clear path to balancing in less than 10 years. The longer we wait to begin the work of balancing the budget, the harder that process will become.

It’s time for conservatives to fight – relentlessly – to reduce government spending. For Americans discouraged by the passage of Pelosi’s last $2 trillion bill, know that the RSC stands ready to guide the House Republican agenda and stop Joe Biden’s dangerous spending in the 118th Congress.