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.
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.
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."