“With the House budget, Republicans have shown that the federal government can, and must, do more with less. We can get spending under control and achieve a balanced budget if the president and Washington Democrats come to the table willing to make the same tough choices American families and small businesses are making every day. These hardworking Americans must balance their budgets, and Washington owes it to them to do the same.”
Republicans are doing more with less to fix the budget
By: Rep. John A. Boehner
May 5, 2013 09:42 PM EDT
Monday night, hardworking moms and dads will gather around their kitchen tables, parsing the bills one by one to budget for gas, groceries, mortgage payments, a school trip, a child’s birthday party. Small-business owners do the same every day — poring over their books to find ways to cut costs without cutting jobs. As the slowest economic recovery of the past half-century grinds on, Americans are making sacrifices to make ends meet. They’re doing more with less and, as the stewards of the people’s House, Republicans are keeping their pledge to do the same.
Recently, House Republicans announced that — after three years in the majority — we are on track to save taxpayers more than $400 million and counting on House operations. The cost-cutting began from the very first vote our new majority took: cutting our own budget by 5 percent. Since that time, House committees have trimmed more than 23 percent off their budgets, and individual offices have cut back by more than 18 percent. House officers, including the clerk, sergeant at arms and chief administrative officer, are also doing more with less. These spending cuts have all been achieved without the need for furloughs and without compromising the promise we made of a more open and accountable government.
While the White House chose to shut its doors to tourists, the U.S. Capitol has remained open to the American public. Security has been enhanced to help keep our visitors safe. And we have improved transparency with open government initiatives like providing new access to legislative documents and data and streaming House floor and committee hearings live online.
After years of higher spending and less transparency when Democrats controlled the House, Republicans have not only changed the trajectory of spending in our own House budget, we’re working to change the culture of spending in Washington, too.
Over the years, both parties routinely stuffed thousands of earmarks into massive spending bills, symbolizing a Congress that had broken faith with the people. Before the House gavel even changed hands, Republicans adopted an earmark ban to eliminate wasteful spending and help restore the public trust. That earmark ban remains in place today.
Republicans have led efforts to pass legislation — reluctantly signed by the president — to cut federal discretionary spending and eliminate and consolidate dozens of ineffective and duplicative federal programs. But with our national debt creeping closer to $17 trillion every day, much more still needs to be done. That’s why Republicans are working to balance the federal budget.
Last month, the House passed a budget that balances over the next 10 years by cutting wasteful government spending, fixing our broken Tax Code to help create new jobs and increase wages, and protecting and strengthening important priorities like Medicare. More than 180 economists agree that reining in spending-driven deficits and balancing the budget are key to fueling stronger economic growth and job creation.
Unfortunately, President Barack Obama has missed another opportunity to lead. His budget never balances, and calls for a $1.1 trillion tax hike to pay for new government spending. Under the president’s budget, America will have run deficits at or near a trillion dollars for five years straight, continuing the same failed policies that are holding back our economy and putting the American dream further out of reach for future generations. If an administration can’t even take basic steps to control government spending, how realistic is it to think it is capable of pulling off the much more difficult task of getting our economy growing at full speed again?
With the House budget, Republicans have shown that the federal government can, and must, do more with less. We can get spending under control and achieve a balanced budget if the president and Washington Democrats come to the table willing to make the same tough choices American families and small businesses are making every day. These hardworking Americans must balance their budgets, and Washington owes it to them to do the same.
John Boehner (R-Ohio) is speaker of the House of Representatives.