As the old adage goes, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” These wise words are certainly very applicable to the fiscal mess in Washington. The president continues to say that he wants a so-called balanced approach to getting America’s fiscal house in order, but in four years he has yet to introduce a budget that would balance – not next year, not in 10 years, not in 30 or even 40 years from now.
The result: credit downgrades; four straight years of deficits exceeding $1 trillion; nearly $6 trillion in new debt and chronically high unemployment. With no balanced budget plan in place, the president has put America on a fast-track to fiscal collapse.
That’s why, with my support, the House of Representatives passed the “Require a PLAN” Act (H.R. 444). This legislation would require the White House to either produce a balanced budget within the 10-year budget window or provide a supplemental budget plan by April 1, 2013, that identifies in which fiscal year the president’s plan would achieve balance. Requiring the president to put forward a plan to balance the budget is surely not too much to ask, particularly considering the fact that US debt is now more than $16 trillion.
Since Republicans regained majority control of the House of Representatives in 2010, we on the House Budget Committee have offered our solutions to the country’s fiscal challenges by introducing and passing a budget on time that prioritizes spending and expands opportunities. However, the president and Senate Democrats who run Washington have continually rejected responsible budgeting. Without a responsible budget plan passed into law, our fiscal problems have only gotten worse. That is why the “Require a PLAN” Act is so important.
This is not based on partisan politics; it is based on math. This is about averting the most predictable crisis in American history. In the coming weeks, the House Budget Committee will introduce our budget proposal and will pass it by the April 15th deadline just as we have the two years prior. As the minority party in Washington, Republicans have a responsibility to offer solutions as well as to hold the president and his party accountable. I will continue to work tirelessly to balance the budget and get America’s fiscal house in order. It is long past time for the president to do the same.
-Congressman Diane Black represents Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District and serves on the House Budget Committee and Ways and Means Committee.