The Times News: Senator Crapo: Responsible Budgeting Wanted

By: Sen. Mike Crapo –

The U.S. Congressional Budget Office’s annual Budget and Economic Outlook report shows that, absent action, the United States continues to remain on an unsustainable fiscal path with the national debt expected to grow by $9 trillion over the course of the next ten years. According to CBO, the cost of the interest payments alone on the debt are expected to rise by 5.6 trillion, which would account for roughly 13.5 percent of total annual federal spending. Our nation’s fiscal picture is clearly not back on track, which demands truly responsible budgeting.

As a nation, we recently surpassed $18 trillion in debt. Despite record revenues coming into the U.S. Treasury, we went almost half a trillion dollars deeper in debt during 2014. When President Obama took office, we were $10 trillion in debt; with now-record revenues coming in, that debt figure has nearly doubled and shows the problem is spending, not taxes. Now, in the budget proposal President Obama recently sent to Congress, he is proposing to spend $74 billion more in the next year alone than is allowed under the budget cap that he agreed to and signed into law just a couple of years ago.

As a member of the Senate Budget Committee, I had the opportunity to question the director of the CBO at a recent Senate Budget Committee hearing to examine CBO’s annual Budget and Economic Outlook report. CBO Director Doug Elmendorf confirmed that our nation’s $18 trillion national debt remains a drag on the economy and job growth, and continued increased federal spending used as a short-term strategy to boost the economy will have serious negative long-term effects on the country’s economic future.

I recently co-sponsored several bills that call for balancing the federal budget and controlling spending by moving to a biennial federal budget process. The new balanced budget legislation I co-sponsored would provide directives that should already be, but inexcusably are not, common practice. The legislation would mandate that the president submit a balanced budget to Congress; require that two-thirds of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives would be needed to approve certain tax increases and new deficit spending; and stop court rulings that would impose tax increases that would bypass Congress…

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