US Representative Vern Buchanan
By the time you finish reading this, our national debt will have increased by over $5 million. Currently at $31 trillion, the debt is a ticking time bomb that is driving us to the brink of bankruptcy and placing an immoral burden on our children and our children’s children. grandchildren. And if that doesn’t scare you, consider the fact that about a third of our debt is held by foreign countries, including China.
Now is the time to act as Washington debates raising the debt limit. Nobody wants to default on their debt, but we also can’t afford to keep spending money we don’t have. And we can’t keep raising the debt ceiling without addressing the root cause of the debt itself—the massive overspending of the federal government.
Under one-party rule in Washington and record spending by the Biden administration and Democrats in Congress, our national debt has increased by $3.8 trillion in just two short years. In fact, the federal government spent nearly half a trillion dollars last year in net interest payments on the debt alone.
To put that in perspective, that’s more than the government spent on veterans benefits and transportation combined, and the interest payments could exceed total defense spending by 2029, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Washington’s massive spending problem has led to record high inflation and skyrocketing interest rates that are killing the budgets of everyday Americans and small businesses across the country.
Our country is on an unsustainable path, and we risk losing our standing on the world stage unless Democrats work with Republicans to cut spending and pass real budget reform.
We must impose limits on discretionary spending, restore work requirements for welfare benefits, and pass balanced budget amendments to ensure that we do not return to the days of trillion-dollar spending bills that have become commonplace under President Joe Biden.
That’s why the very first bill I introduced in Congress—and continue to support—is a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that would force Washington to spend no more than it takes in. It’s just common sense, and it’s why 46 of the 50 states have a balanced budget requirement.
Florida is a great example of a state with a huge budget that manages to balance it every year. In fact, in fiscal year 2022, Florida had the largest budget surplus in state history at $21.8 billion, more than 21% more than the state budget for the fiscal year.
In Florida, we make tough choices in our budget as part of our duty to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars. Washington should be held to the same standard.
Congress should also consider legislation I support to create a bipartisan committee tasked with identifying and eliminating wasteful, duplicative, and outdated government programs and finally beginning to shrink the federal bureaucracy.
To get our fiscal house in order, we also need to implement pro-growth policies that create jobs and revitalize the economy. The national debt is an albatross around the necks of our children and grandchildren, hampering their ability to pursue the American Dream. According to the most recent data, each US taxpayer has $246,867 in US debt, and that number is only growing.
We must end this reckless cycle of taxing, spending and borrowing that is bankrupting our country once and for all. Just as every family in America must live within their means, we must force the federal government to do the same.
U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan represents Florida’s 16th Congressional District, which consists of parts of Manatee County and Hillsborough County. He is co-chairman of the bipartisan Florida delegation and also the senior Republican on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.