I share the relief of our constituents in knowing that the federal government has resumed its normal operations and that we have avoided the consequences of a breach of our debt limit. However, I was unable to support the Senate spending and debt limit legislation because it failed to impose even the most modest spending reform.
I am disappointed that the Senate’s complete refusal to negotiate with the House has resulted in leaving the voices of Fifth District Virginians without a seat or a say at the conference room table. Under our Constitution, it is the obligation of both the House and the Senate to participate in the legislative decision-making that relates to our nation’s spending and our national debt. Sadly, however, prior to the introduction of the House’s first spending proposal back on September 20, 2013, the President and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid stated loudly and clearly that there would be absolutely no negotiation with the House on any spending or debt limit legislation.
And now, the President and the Senate have succeeded in defeating every single House proposal for reform and defeating every single House effort to reopen the federal government during recent weeks. Indeed, they have gotten exactly what they wanted – a continuation of a spending and borrowing policy that has resulted in a $17 trillion national debt – a debt that amounts to $123,000 for every working American.
Now we must turn to the future. We have three months before we as a nation will again face the exact same deadlines we put behind us last week. It is my hope and prayer that the President will engage immediately and in good faith with members of both the House and the Senate to put in place serious reforms that will address the looming debt crisis that threatens the future for our children and our grandchildren.
Robert Hurt represents the Fifth District in Congress.