Walla Walla Union Bulletin
Last Thursday, I hosted a public town hall in Eastern Washington to discuss the key issues facing our community and America – jobs, spending, health care, government reform, and national security. At the start of the town hall, I asked two questions. The first was, “Do you think you’ve had more opportunities and a better quality of life than your parents did?” Nearly every hand went up. Then, I asked: “Do you think your children and grandchildren will have more opportunities and a better quality of life than you did?” Almost no one raised their hand.
That – in essence – is the overarching symbol of the challenges facing our nation. For the first time in decades, people fear the American Dream may be coming to an end. And I share that fear.
After years of bad policy and broken politics, America is at a crossroads. We are in the midst of our worst economic crisis in decades. Fifteen million Americans are out of work. The average American household has lost 20 percent of its wealth. The federal budget deficit has tripled in size, reaching an all-time record of $1.4 trillion. The national debt now stands at $13 trillion. And according to President Obama, the government will need to borrow another $10 trillion over the next ten years.
That is unsustainable. There is simply not enough money in the world to pay for all of these debts without raising interest rates or devaluing the dollar (or both). And while many Members of Congress may not understand that, the American people understand it very well.
The American people recognize – as I do – that a crisis caused by too much government spending, borrowing, and bailouts will not be solved with more spending, borrowing, and bailouts. That’s why I voted against the $700 billion Wall Street bailout, the $787 billion economic “stimulus” bill, and the $1.3 trillion radical health care bill.
To rejuvenate our economy and put our fiscal house in order, I support a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and a constitutional amendment to limit federal spending. I also want to repeal the government takeover of health care and replace it with practical solutions that lower medical costs and improve outcomes.
As I heard at Thursday’s town hall, the people are demanding fiscal discipline and accountability. They want smaller, smarter government. And they want it now.
House Republicans are reaching out and engaging the citizens of our great country through two new websites: America Speaking Out and YouCut.
America Speaking Out is an interactive website in which any citizen can submit a policy idea, promote their idea, debate the ideas posted by others, and share those ideas with their friends via Facebook and Twitter. In four months, 14,000 ideas have been posted on ASO and 700,000 votes have been cast.
YouCut is another great program. At the start of each week, five spending cut ideas are presented on the YouCut website, and you can vote – either through the Internet on your cell phone – on the best spending cut idea. At the end of the week, the votes are counted, and the idea which receives the most votes is brought to the House floor.
So far, over 1.5 million votes have been cast and nine winners have been brought to the House floor. If those ideas had passed Congress, taxpayers would have saved a total of $119 billion. I’m hopeful we can bring them back to the floor for a House vote early next year.
Through ASO and YouCut, the American people are making their voices heard. Now it’s Congress’ turn to listen to the people. If we listen to the people – instead of expanding the power of government – I know we can keep the American Dream alive for the next generation.