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National Debt

Congressional Budget One of Few Being Slashed in Washington

  • August 04, 2015

     Washington, D.C. has become known for many things, but a smaller federal budget is not one of them. Over the past few years the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has actually become the norm when it comes to the budget for the legislative branch.  One of their first acts after taking control in 2011 was to vote to slash their own budget by $35 million. 


    Just this past month, they took steps to continue their commitment of fiscal restraint for their own operations. H.R. 2250, the legislation that will fund Congress for FY 2016, holds the line on House funding and puts Congress on track to save taxpayers $782 million – a nearly 14 percent reduction in House spending under the Republican majority of the past 5 years. 


    In addition, the bill continues the pay freeze for Members of Congress that has been in place since 2010. It also protects funding for the Government Accountability Office, which provides independent oversight of federal operations at the direction of Congress, issuing reports that have shed light on government misspending. 


    Unfortunately, this show of fiscal restraint has not spread to other corners of our government. Late in 2014, the federal debt hit a record $18 trillion. This consists of $12.92 trillion in public debt, including all of the outstanding Treasury bills, notes and bonds held by individuals, corporations, foreign governments and others. That number also includes $5.08 trillion in “intra-governmental” holdings, special securities held by U.S. government trust funds and special funds – or basically IOUs from the federal government for money that it “borrowed” from Social Security and Medicare. 


    That debt when divided equally among the U.S. population means every man, woman and child in the country owes $56,250. Under President Barack Obama, the U.S. debt has skyrocketed 70%. With Republicans in control of both the House and the Senate, now is the time to push fiscal restraint beyond the legislative branch, and into the rest of our government’s operations.

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