Thursday April 07, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Richard Cullen
WASHINGTON (D.C.) Congressman Ben Quayle (R-AZ) released the following statement after the House passed a funding bill that would prevent a government shutdown, cut $12 billion from the federal budget and ensure that the men and women of the United States Armed Forces are paid for the remainder of the fiscal year.
“The single most important responsibility of a member of Congress is to make sure that our men and women in the armed forces have the resources they need especially during times of war. Today’s bill ensures that in the event of a government shutdown, our troops will continue to be paid in full. With today’s vote, the House has again taken the lead on making sure that our government operates in a fiscally responsible manner. With a little more than 24 hours to go until a possible government shutdown, the Democrat-controlled Senate hasn’t even pretended to offer a single funding bill of their own.”
Thank you for signing up to receive e-mail updates from my office. I’m grateful for your interest and for the chance to discuss the issues we are facing in Congress.
In this inaugural e-newsletter, I’d like to discuss Washington’s chronic spending problem and some of the recent efforts I’ve made to help eliminate a few zeroes from the federal checkbook and the national debt.
Congressman Flake illustrates the size and scope of the federal debt.
Congressman Flake: So Just How Broke Are We?
Congressman Flake writes an opinion editorial on immigration.
The Arizona Republic
A look into the changing culture of the House Appropriations Committee.
The Washington Examiner - Timothy P. Carney
Infographic: The U.S. debt as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP).
Source: House Budget Committee
Perhaps the greatest hurdle we face right now in Congress is that of passing a federal budget. Even though we’re more than six months into fiscal year 2011, we still have no budget, no plan for keeping federal spending in check. We have no budget because the previous Congress failed to pass one last year.
Unfortunately, we in the current Congress have contributed to this feckless streak by not being able to agree on the level of spending cuts to include in a bill that would fund the government through the rest of fiscal year 2011. Some, including myself, have said the cuts haven’t gone deep enough, while others have said the cuts are too deep.
After we couldn’t agree on a long-term funding bill, Congress was forced to enact two short-term bills just to keep the government going. In the meantime, members of House and Senate leadership continued to work toward a long-term deal that would fund the government for the rest of fiscal year 2011 and allow us to turn our attention to the president’s proposed 2012 budget request.
Well, here we are, facing a potential government shutdown tomorrow because no agreement has been reached. How are we ever supposed to address the fiscal year 2012 budget when we keep punting on fiscal year 2011 spending? The next few days and weeks are going to be critical, but hopefully, we’ll soon be able to put this drama behind us and put the country on firmer fiscal footing.
While this budget debate was beginning to get really dramatic, I reintroduced the Debt Buy-Down Act of 2011 in February, along with Senators John McCain and Marco Rubio of Florida. The bill would allow you to check a box on your annual tax return to designate up to 10 percent of your federal income tax liability (what you already owe) specifically to reduce the national debt. Don’t fear – Congress could not use the designated funds for more spending. Once these monies have been selected for debt reduction, the bill requires Congress to reduce federal spending by that amount. And if Congress fails to reduce spending (an all-too-common problem), the bill institutes an across-the-board cut equal to the amount designated by taxpayers.
The Debt Buy-Down Act is just one plan needed to get our fiscal house in order. Congress has turned a blind eye for years to our ballooning debt dilemma, despite many calls from taxpayers to address it. And if Congress won’t tackle the problem, we ought to let taxpayers help.
Spending in Washington is out of control, and the fiscal hole in which we find ourselves is only getting deeper. But in the coming days, weeks, and months as we begin work on the fiscal year 2012 budget and confront the debt limit, we have a real chance to rein in some of the waste that’s been allowed to litter the federal budget and drive up our debt for years. I’ll be sure to keep your interests in mind at the negotiating table.
Should you have any questions or comments, please feel free to visit my website http://www.flake.house.gov/ to send me an e-mail.
Contact: Ben Carnes at 202-225-4576
Franks Votes to Fund Troops, Cut Spending, Keep Government Running
April 7, 2011 - Following his vote in favor of a one-week Continuing Resolution that would keep the government from shutting down at midnight tonight, would ensure the troops continue to receive funding, and would cut $12 billion in spending, Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-02) today released the following statement:
"Quite simply, Democrats today have done precisely what pushed Americans to throw them out of office en masse in the last election.
"Last year, while Democrats were still in control of the House, they failed to accomplish one of their most fundamental responsibilities -- to pass a budget. Since that time, Democrats have also refused to support any Republican budget proposal, including the plan offered today to ensure our troops continue to be paid and our government doesn't shutdown.
"Instead, Democrats overwhelmingly demonstrated today that they would rather allow our military to go unpaid and our government to stop operating than to budge even an inch on their big spending liberal dogma.###
"My vote on today's troop-funding bill was a vote to continue paying our men and women in uniform, to cut $12 billion in excess spending, and to keep our government functioning."
Congressman Franks is serving his fifth term in the U.S. House of Representatives and is a member of the Judiciary Committee, where he serves as Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Constitution and a member of the Subcommittee on Courts, Commercial and Administrative Law. He is also a member of the Armed Services Committee, where he serves on the Strategic Forces Subcommittee and the Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities
Weekly Column from Congressman Gosar
“My View on Spending Cuts”
By, Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-01)
Since my first day in office, the House of Representatives has been debating ways to cut the federal government’s massive spending problem. I have voted repeatedly for bills that cut wasteful programs and unnecessary spending. Indeed, if all of the bills I have voted for were signed into law, we would have slashed several hundreds of billions in wasteful and unnecessary spending. And even that is just a start. This year our country is on track to make it the third straight year in which the nation borrows over $1 trillion. Our national debt is scheduled to exceed $14 trillion, which is almost the same size of the entire U.S. economy.
Everywhere I go in the District, people talk to me about their concerns about our economy, the reckless spending in Washington, and their serious concerns over our national deficit. The people in Arizona want the federal government to balance the budget and live within its means. We may not agree on how we balance our budget, but few people disagree that the path we are on as a nation is unsustainable. The President has said so. The Bipartisan Fiscal Commission has said so. The Federal Reserve Chairman has said so.
There is one budget cut that I voted for that I would like to take the time to address. It is one example of the problem—and the solution. Several people have reached out to me regarding the cuts to National Public Radio (NPR). Some individuals wanted to cut this portion of the budget, others did not. On two separate occasions, I voted to defund NPR. First, the House voted to defund NPR in H.R. 1, which passed on February 19th. A stand alone bill, H.R. 1076, was also passed on March 17th. I supported both of these measures but allow me the opportunity to explain why.
When discussing NPR it is important to take a look at my views on spending. My approach to discretionary government spending is simple. First, does the program serve a core governmental function such as defense, commerce, treaty obligations, or infrastructure? Second, is the program necessary? Third, can we afford it? Answering these questions requires us to discern between what we like, what we want, and what we have to do. That is why I voted to defund NPR: we can’t afford it, it does not serve a core governmental function and it is not necessary for taxpayers to fund this entertainment or news programming. The private sector is more than capable of this.
Public broadcasting has provided memorable and valuable programming. It has even achieved a certain level of commercial success through licensing activities of Sesame Street characters and and sponsorships that have commercial-like qualities. But I part ways on the notion that public broadcasting is a public necessity. Ron Schiller, a now former employee of NPR, has said that NPR could survive, and in fact would be better off, without federal funds. I believe that at this time, NPR is better funded through private funds.
As discussed above, our country is burdened right now, with a deficit that threatens the very fabric of our country. We have a $1.5 trillion deficit this year alone. We have a national debt over $14 trillion. What we are doing is unsustainable and we risk our national security and the America that once was, if we do not reduce spending. That is not just my thinking. On May 14, 2009, President Barack Obama said that current deficit spending was "unsustainable," that it would lead to high interest rates, inflation and severe economic harm. On June 9, 2010, according to the New York Times, “Mr. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, warned on Wednesday that ‘the federal budget appears to be on an unsustainable path.’” In addition, Admiral Mike Mullen said in June 2010 that the nation’s debt is the biggest threat to U.S. national security.
Each and every day I listen to my constituents and hear about the tough decisions they have to make. All too often people in my district have to make a choice between what they want and what they can afford. If Main Street has to make these choices, then the Federal Government should also do the same. That is why I voted to defund NPR.
Rep. Schweikert: Time for GOP to Stop Giving In; No Deal Close
April 07, 2011 1:01 PM
ABC News’ Rick Klein reports:
As talk swirls on Capitol Hill of possible compromise, some members of Congress are digging in, demanding that their party take a stand.
On ABC’s “Top Line” today, freshman Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz., told us that no deal on government spending is close – and indicated that that may be a good thing.
“Being one of the people who sat in every caucus meeting, I don’t remember a discussion that we were close to a deal,” Schweikert said. “At some point, this really is about your country is on a precipice of financial disaster.”
Schweikert said he’s sick of compromising: “I will tell you it's time for our side to stop being the one to give in. We did the first continuing resolution to take us through the rest of the year. Then we did the two-week. Then we did the three-week. Then we did the set-up last Thursday.”
“At what point does the House stop being the one that does all the heavy lifting and we actually get some work product, some genuine work product out of the US Senate?”
He added: “I think the public is tired of Washington looking in the camera and lying to them about what's going on. It's time we toughen up. It's time we do what's necessary and this little game of incremental, ‘Oh we'll come to an agreement, oh by the way, we're still awash in an avalanche of debt.’ It has to come to an end.”
Watch Jonathan Karl and Amy Walter’s interview with Rep. David Schweikert HERE.