Pete Sessions Plan for Restoring America’s Future
Washington has a spending problem that has placed our nation on an unsustainable path of trillion dollar deficits and a $17 trillion national debt. That is why I have consistently voted to limit federal spending, reform entitlement programs, and am a co-sponsor of a bill that calls for the passage of the balanced budget amendment. Thanks to the Republican majority in the House, we have been able to hold the line of federal spending, putting total expenditures on a slightly downward path. Declines of total federal expenditures for the past two fiscal years are the first back-to-back annual spending reductions since the Korean War. While these reductions in spending are important, we still have a long way to go.
In 2009 and 2010, when Democrats had control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the federal government went on a spending binge. Through an $831 billion stimulus package, ObamaCare, and Dodd-Frank, Democrats dedicated themselves to more federal spending and increased government interference in the private sector. In 2009, the federal government spent $3.77 trillion and ran a $1.5 trillion deficit, both of which were the largest of all time. The federal government spent $3.67 trillion in 2010 and $3.75 trillion in 2011 and added an additional $2.7 trillion to the national debt.
In 2010, I led the effort by Republicans to take back the House and halt this spending spree. Under my leadership as Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, Republicans elected 89 freshman Members of Congress and switched 63 Democrat-held seats to the Republican column. Republicans quickly went to work reining in federal spending after removing Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House. To begin, House Republicans forced a virtual freeze in the growth of federal spending. Despite opposition from the Democrat-controlled Senate and the White House, total spending by the federal government is now growing by the slowest amount annually in over sixty years.
Since Republicans took back control of the House, I have voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011, which cut nearly one trillion in spending over a decade and led to another $1.2 trillion in sequester cuts, and the “Cut, Cap, and Balance Act,” which would have cut discretionary spending by an additional $111 billion, reduced mandatory spending by $51 billion, and capped federal spending at 20% of GDP. I was also a cosponsor of a proposal for a balance budget amendment to the Constitution of the United States. While our annual spending is still too high, thanks to House Republicans the federal government is spending $317 billion a year less than it was in 2009.
In this Congress, I voted for Rep. Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity Budget, which would have balanced the budget within 10 years, reformed the tax code, and taken our country off a path of fiscal insolvency and onto a path towards fiscal success. This budget would also take smart and responsible steps to reform our entitlement programs. When the Democrat-controlled Senate refused to pass a budget, I backed “No Budget, No Pay” legislation that forced Senate Democrats to pass a budget or else have their pay withheld.
While the new Republican majority has succeeded in capping federal spending, Congress must continue to take even more steps to control unsustainable deficits, which, if left unchecked, will place too much of a burden on future generations of Americans. That is why I remain fully committed to taking the important steps toward fiscal reform and additional spending cuts in order to get our fiscal house in order.
Since losing their majority, House Democrats, led by Nancy Pelosi, have argued for alternative spending plans that would have added trillions to the national debt. Their plan is no plan at all. In every situation and in every piece of legislation brought to the House floor (except for national defense), their “solution” is to spend more taxpayer money and move our nation closer to bankruptcy.
Nancy Pelosi today makes the absurd claim that “the cupboard is bare” for any additional cuts in federal spending. In the meantime, thanks to House Republicans and the leadership of Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, the General Accounting Office has documented that the federal government could save $125 billion (billion!) if we stopped making public assistance payments to Americans who are not eligible under the law. Food stamp fraud amounts to billions of dollars every year and the Social Security Disability system appears to have been hijacked by trial attorneys who successfully obtain benefits for Americans who are not disabled and do not deserve disability payments.
There is a moral component to the Democrats’ constant argument for more government spending which cannot go unaddressed. If we all know that it is wrong to steal, then how can we condone stealing from future generations? If left unchecked, that is exactly what we are doing, led by this generation of Democrats and the Obama administration.
The unsustainability of today’s national debt and federal unfunded obligations is reaching a critical tipping point. Financial experts such as Mary Meeker and Stan Druckenmiller have documented that if the United States were a business, we would be broke due to our future obligated payments on the debt. Today’s entitlement programs are so over-committed that in order to meet the current payouts obligated to the Baby-Boomer generation, our children may have to pay as much as 80 percent of their incomes in taxes if the U.S. is ever to balance its budget.
What kind of future are we passing on to our children if we have so loaded down their lives to burdensome debt? This scenario of one irresponsible political class obligating future generations to debt, which they cannot afford, has been recently played out in Greece, Spain and, soon, Italy and France. In all of those countries, those younger than 30 are in despair with no real prospects for their most productive years because their countries are bankrupt. Their only option is to be on welfare for the rest of their lives or leave the nation of their birth.
The summary of Druckenmiller and Meeker’s analysis are the same as what Republicans, led by Paul Ryan on the budget, have made for years on the House floor. The federal government cannot continue to spend hundreds of billions more than it receives in taxes every year. We cannot burden future generations with trillions of dollars of debt and economic history shows that economies whose central governments owe as much as the economy produces in annual output are destined to permanently slow job growth. In cases where governments never bring their budget deficits into balance, they run the risk of sudden and dramatic currency devaluations, which has occurred in Argentina, Mexico and, likely soon, Venezuela. In all of these cases, savings of working families were obliterated by their governments.
I am committed to avoiding this same fate for my children and yours. The only responsible step is to bring federal spending under control by limiting future increases, immediately reforming entitlement programs, and quickly eradicating the federal budget with its current unacceptable levels of waste, fraud, and abuse.