Robert Hurt: Fixing a broken budget system

At a time when we in the House have been waiting on the Senate to take action and join our focused agenda of enacting measures that would reduce our staggering $15 trillion debt, the Senate acted – but they acted in a way that was dismissive of their responsibility to the American people and in direct conflict with the necessary goal of passing a budget in order to restore our country to fiscal sustainability.

Though Congress is legally required to pass a budget each fiscal year, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced that the Senate would not allow a vote on a fiscal year 2013 budget resolution – marking the third straight year that the Senate has abdicated its legislative duties and not passed a budget.

Meanwhile, recognizing the critical importance of providing a budget framework in tackling our debt crisis, the House voted on two pieces of legislation that would fundamentally reform the flawed budgeting process.

H.R. 3582, the Pro-Growth Budgeting Act, is one of the House-passed measures that would reform the process by holding the federal government accountable for the economic effects of proposed legislation on our economy and job creators.  And H.R. 3578, the Baseline Reform Act, would reduce the $15 trillion national debt by ensuring real spending cuts are enacted as we work to balance our budget and restore our nation to a fiscally sustainable course.

Unfortunately, federal government spending has gone unchecked for years, in part, because of Washington, D.C., accounting gimmicks that build an automatic budget increase into every new budget. At a time when we are borrowing 40 cents on every dollar we spend and facing a national debt that has overtaken the size of our entire economy, there is no more important time for Central and Southside Virginians to know exactly how Washington is spending their hard-earned money.

Many across the Fifth District and the country are tightening their belts in this stalled economy, and these budget-reforming policies will provide greater government transparency and accountability by fundamentally reforming a broken process and getting rid of Washington accounting gimmicks that have plagued Congress for years.  Additionally, these bills will ensure that each budget priority is looked at based on needs instead of wants and will help reduce the $15 trillion national debt by ensuring real spending cuts are enacted as we work to balance our budget and restore our nation to a fiscally sustainable course.

As families across Central and Southside Virginia are making the touch choices to live within their budgets, so too should the federal government at this critical point in our nation’s history. By passing these bills, the House is building on its record of implementing commonsense reforms that will provide greater government transparency for the American people while reforming a very broken budgeting process and tackling a national debt that threatens the very future of our country.

Robert Hurt represents the Fifth District in Congress.

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