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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

How to cut federal spending

Monday, March 7, 2011

I was a budget hawk before budget hawks were popular and I'm happy to see the emphasis on reducing spending that is currently sweeping Washington. It's always been popular in Nebraska.

When I was governor we balanced income with outgo every year and we did it by making plenty of cuts. Nebraska's Constitution requires a balanced budget but that doesn't make the task any easier. Tough decisions had to be made and I always kept my veto pen handy and wasn't afraid to use it.

The best way to cut spending is to lead by example. If we expect the American people to accept cuts in programs that impact them we in Congress must do the same. As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee I've introduced a bill to cut Congress' budget 5 percent for the rest of the year.

Last year, our subcommittee held Congressional spending to a zero percent increase. For the rest of this year we need to cut deeper and we'll do it again next year.

A Model for All Government

My hope is the example we set reining in spending for the Legislative Branch will serve as a model for all of government. This 5 percent reduction will not go unnoticed because it covers spending for the offices of Members of Congress, the Government Accountability Office, the Government Printing Office, the Library of Congress and more.

We also have to work together to make necessary cuts which we've shown we can do in approving a four billion dollar cut in spending over the next two weeks. Let's hope we can come together soon to pass a budget with additional cuts.

Everyone knows there will be cuts, some of them will be painful and they will be substantial. We have to bring spending down and we have to bring the national debt down because it will help our economy and lift an unfair burden we're passing onto our children.

As we work to bring down spending in Washington it will be very difficult to do so without reducing spending the states receive from the federal government. Just as states are cutting funding for local governments, federal funding to the states must be considered for cuts. It's part of everyone pitching in and living with less.

Need to Change Paths

We need to lead, we need to reduce spending and we need to take the action necessary to reign in debt and deficit. The current path is a road to economic nowhere. The nation's debt is the biggest threat to our national security according to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen.

Because Washington surely needs more fiscal accountability these days, we should adapt a variation of President Harry Truman's well-known phrase and say, "The Buck Shrinks Here."

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Congress does not need 'more' fiscal accountability, Congress needs 'total' fiscal accountability.

What bothers me is that a few Billion can be removed from the budget, that just had over a Trillion dollars added to it, and anyone, with any fiscal understanding, dare call the 'reduction' a 'reduction' in spending.

Your experience, as Governor of Nebraska, worked on the basic number being the "Income," and the 'Spending' totally being tied to that Income (moderate projections allowed, but only as cushion protection, IMO).

Most all the other Senators arrived in office fully equipped to spend more than what is projected as coming in, and you started out a tad behind in that, corrupted, logic. It bothers me that you learned so quickly. It pleasures me that you, at least see that you have overstepped propriety, and need wake up your fellow Senators, to the fact they have, also (I deductulate that is what you think). But, I blather...The sky 'IS' truly Falling, Ben. What you all do, do better, or our country will end up: Do-Do.

-- Posted by Navyblue on Mon, Mar 7, 2011, at 11:56 AM

It also helps for Governors to cut spending when they're constitutionally required to do so like in Nebraska. If a budget isn't balanced then the Governor and the Legislators are in violation of the Constitution. His bragging about cutting spending in Nebraska is much different than his record in national office which makes him more of a budget squawk.

-- Posted by McCook1 on Mon, Mar 7, 2011, at 3:35 PM

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