Vote’s purpose was to bring a budget onto Senate floorOur nation faces serious financial challenges. Our government continues to spend $1.5 trillion more than it is taking in. With revenues of about $2.2 trillion and spending about $3.7 trillion, the U.S. government is adding $4 billion dollars to our deficit every day.
By: Sen. John Hoeven, The Jamestown Sun
Our nation faces serious financial challenges. Our government continues to spend $1.5 trillion more than it is taking in. With revenues of about $2.2 trillion and spending about $3.7 trillion, the U.S. government is adding $4 billion dollars to our deficit every day.
It will take a good-faith effort to resolve our financial challenges if we want to preserve programs and services we have all come to value and expect. The fact is we need to start reforming programs like Medicare or they won’t be there for future generations. Medicare is in serious financial trouble and is projected to be insolvent by 2024.
The budget plan, proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., which passed in the U.S. House of Representatives, would not change Medicare for anyone 55 years of age or older. Even still, it needs more work. The reality is, though, the vote on the House bill in the U.S. Senate last week was not a vote to implement the Ryan approach to Medicare, but rather a vote to bring a budget to the Senate floor so that we could begin the necessary task of working on a budget and amending it in an open and transparent process.
To compound our difficult financial situation, last week we learned that the nation’s unemployment rate rose again, to 9.1 percent, marking the third month in a row it has increased and the 28th consecutive month it has been more than 8 percent. Consumer confidence is down, home prices are down, and our economy is languishing with no prospect, under current policies, of helping us to grow out of our present financial difficulty. And yet, we continue to see gamesmanship and politics as usual in Washington.
Our nation clearly needs to get a grip on spending and curb our debt and deficit, but just as importantly, it needs to promote economic growth and jobs creation. That means creating a legal, tax and regulatory environment that empowers private investment and gets the nation working again, which is what I am working for in a number of new bills in the U.S. Senate. The reality is it will take both fiscal reform and a growing economy to address our nation’s current challenges and preserve the programs we all value and want.
We can no longer delay action or engage in politics as usual. At the very least, the House budget proposal would have brought a bill to the Senate floor that could be debated and amended to try and achieve a bipartisan budget to address the nation’s deficit.
(Hoeven, a Republican, is one of two Senators who represent North Dakota in Washington)