Robert Hurt: Taking the lessons of Main Street to Washington
During the month of August we kicked off our Fifth District Main Street Tour. It is an excellent opportunity for me to be able visit with Fifth District residents in all 23 counties and cities across our 10,000 square-mile congressional district. So far we have had the pleasure of visiting with constituents in their Main Street communities in Nelson, Fluvanna, Albemarle, Greene, Madison, Rappahannock, and Fauquier Counties and in the City of Charlottesville. We look forward to continuing our tour throughout the rest of the district.
During our visits, I have had the opportunity to listen to the concerns of constituents ranging from the increasing burdens on Virginia families and businesses relating to the President’s healthcare law and the Dodd-Frank Act to the growing skepticism over the Iran Nuclear Agreement. It is not only an opportunity for me to listen to their concerns, but it is also an opportunity for me to be reminded of those lessons from Main Street that should be applied in Washington.
One such lesson is the critical importance of balancing budgets. Across the Fifth District, I have met with families, small business owners, farmers, and local government officials in our Main Street communities who understand that their success depends upon operating on a budget where they do not spend more than they take in. They make the difficult decisions each day to balance their books and pay their bills, and they are understandably frustrated that the federal government willfully ignores this commonsense principle.
For far too long, leaders in both parties in Washington have abdicated their responsibility to balance the budget, which has led us to a national debt of $18 trillion and counting and a staggering level of unfunded future liabilities. This fiscal instability creates tremendous uncertainty and threatens our economic prosperity, our national security, and the promise of vital programs like Social Security and Medicare – programs that our seniors have paid into over their lifetimes. Despite these catastrophic dangers, too many in Washington still think we can continue to put off addressing our national debt and deficit challenges.
And while we have a long way to go to address our long term challenges, I have been proud to be a part of efforts to make short-term progress on reducing our annual deficit spending. When I was elected to Congress in 2010, our annual deficit was an astonishing $1.3 trillion under the leadership of President Obama, Speaker Pelosi, and Leader Reid. Since then, the House of Representatives has successfully fought for spending reductions and spending reforms that have reduced the deficit by almost one trillion dollars – from $1.3 trillion to a projected deficit in 2015 of $455 billion. We have eliminated earmarks, cut government spending by more than $2.1 trillion, and reduced overall discretionary spending by $176 billion since fiscal year 2010.
During the current Congress, I have been pleased to see that – with a new Majority Leader in the Senate – we were able to make significant progress towards finally reaching a balanced budget for our nation. In fact, for the next fiscal year the House and Senate actually agreed earlier this year to an actual budget for the first time in six years. This spending blueprint includes responsible spending reductions and reforms to ultimately balance the budget and to begin the process of paying down our debt.
As I have been reminded during our Main Street tour this month, our families and our small businesses on our Main Streets across the Fifth District recognize that responsible budgeting is fundamental to economic growth and prosperity. It is high time that those obstructing sound economic policy recognized that we must take the same approach in Washington. Otherwise, we will be leaving our children and grandchildren with an unconscionable amount of debt and a country in worse shape than it was given to us.
It is my hope that the steps we have taken to reform our spending are just the beginning, and I look forward to working together with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol to restore America’s financial stability and America’s promise of a brighter future.
If you need any additional information or if we may be of assistance to you, please visit my website at hurt.house.gov or call my Washington office: (202) 225-4711, Charlottesville office: (434) 973-9631, Danville office: (434) 791-2596, or Farmville office: (434) 395-0120.
Robert Hurt represents the Fifth District of Virginia in Congress.