This opinion column is written by U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Menomonee Falls).
It was April 15, 1912 when the “unsinkable” Titanic sank. As it stands, our growing debt and deficit continue to make our own nation more vulnerable to sinking. In an effort to better prevent our own Titanic, Friday afternoon, I was proud to vote in favor of Congressman Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity budget proposal for fiscal year (FY) 2012. His plan takes the bold and necessary steps to shift our government’s spending priorities.
For the first time in a long time, Congress is now deciding what spending to cut, not whether to cut spending. This is a huge and important step in getting our debt and deficit under control, and I’m proud that House Republicans are leading the way.
Last year, Speaker Pelosi and the House Democrats failed to draft a budget for a vote, which caused a near government shutdown recently. With Republicans now in control of the House, a budget was finally passed that funds the government through September, the end of the 2011 fiscal year. The budget cuts spending by $39.877 billion compared to the prior year. It is also $78.5 billion less than what the President requested to spend in FY 2011, and cuts an additional $315 billion out of the budget over the next decade.
These are historic cuts and they are a good start, but we didn’t enter into this fiscal crisis overnight. This is a problem that has grown over time, so we can’t expect to escape from our fiscal crisis overnight. Billions of dollars in cuts simply won’t do.
We need more, and that’s why in Congressman Ryan’s FY 2012 budget we move from cutting government spending by BILLIONS of dollars to cutting $6.2 TRILLION. Sadly, this still won’t solve the entire problem, but it’s a large, bold step towards finally stopping the government from spending money it simply doesn’t have.
With the vote in favor of Congressman Ryan’s plan, we started an honest debate about getting our spending under control and taking real steps to make that happen by cutting trillions of dollars, reforming the tax code and welfare system, and eliminating wasteful spending. At the same time, the budget preserves and strengthens the health and retirement programs for those who are currently 55 and older and future retirees.
Our deficit doesn’t exist because American’s are taxed too little; we have a deficit because Washington spends too much, and I commend Congressman Ryan for having the courage to lead on this issue and his work to keep America sailing smoothly.