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In the Spotlight: Country should follow House lead on budget

Washington, Feb 18 -

In the Spotlight: Country should follow House lead on budget
By: Congressman Aaron Schock
Peoria Jounal Star

This week, President Obama introduced his budget blueprint for the next 10 years. It's a budget that isn't serious but carries serious consequences.

Earlier this month, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projected that the federal government's deficit will exceed $1 trillion for 2012, the fourth year in a row. Since January 2009, when President Obama took office, the accumulated debt has risen from $10.63 trillion to $15.4 trillion. Should our country choose to follow the president's new spending plan, by 2022 the debt will reach $25.9 trillion. By that point, we would be paying nearly $1 trillion in annual interest alone. The U.S. already is borrowing 40 cents of every dollar it spends.

Since taking office, he has advocated for the same policies: more increased taxes, more spending, more borrowing and more deficits. If consistency were currency, the president just might have a chance at wiping out our debt. The president continues to claim that the debt problem could be solved if the wealthy would pay more taxes. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, if we taxed all household income over $250,000 at 100 percent, the revenue would not cover this year's deficit.

Despite these facts, the president's budget contains $1.9 trillion in new taxes and $47 trillion in government spending over the next decade. He takes credit for more than $2 trillion in savings that were the result of a debt-limit deal passed last year by Congress over his objections. In addition, he claims to "cut" spending by $850 billion by not having wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is hardly honest budgeting.

Consider the facts:

Last year, the House was the only chamber to pass a budget. We have been waiting on the Senate to do the same for more than 1,000 days. Our plan would have put the country on a more sustainable fiscal path, encouraging private sector investment and growth in the U.S. economy. We need a willing partner in the Senate. Their inaction is a dereliction of their duty to the American people.

Next month, House Republicans will release our own budget. It will again offer bold solutions to curb short-term deficits and address the long-term drivers of our debt - entitlement programs. Medicare is on track to run out of money in 2024, Social Security the same by 2036. By choosing the strategy of the ostrich, the president is signaling that he isn't serious about ensuring these programs for retiring baby boomers and future generations. That will hurt the very people he claims to protect: the middle class. The reality is that if we do nothing, every dollar we collect in tax revenue will go towards these programs in 2045.

At the behest of House Republicans, the government cut spending last year. For the first time since World War II, we spent less than the previous year. We have enacted legislation that cuts spending even further for 2012.

Our work is just beginning. These problems can be fixed. It will take leadership and tough decisions. The House will show again that it can be done. President Obama and the Senate need to join us.

Congressman Aaron Schock represents the 18th District, which encompasses Peoria.

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