U.S. Representative Vern Buchanan
By the time you finish reading this, our national debt will have increased by over $5 million. The current $31 trillion in debt is a ticking time bomb that is bringing us to the brink of bankruptcy and immorally burdening our children and grandchildren. If that doesn’t scare you, consider that about a third of our debt is held by foreign countries, including China.
Enough is enough.
Now is the time to act, as Washington discusses raising the debt ceiling. Nobody wants to default on our debts, but we also can’t keep spending money we don’t have. We cannot continue to raise the debt ceiling without addressing the root cause of the debt itself—massive overspending by the federal government.
Under one-party rule in Washington and record spending by a Biden administration and congressional Democrats, our national debt has ballooned by $3.8 trillion in just two years. In fact, the federal government spent nearly $500 billion last year on net interest payments on its debt alone.
Put that in perspective, that’s more than the government spends on veterans benefits and transportation, and interest payments could exceed total defense spending by 2029, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Washington’s mammoth spending problems, which have led to record inflation and soaring interest rates, are killing the budgets of ordinary Americans and small businesses across the country.
Our country is on an unsustainable path, and unless Democrats work with Republicans to reduce spending and implement real budget reform, we risk losing our place on the world stage.
We need to impose caps on discretionary spending, restore work requirements for benefits, and pass balanced budget amendments to ensure we don’t return to the era of trillion-dollar spending bills that were commonplace under President Joe Biden.
That’s why one of the first bills I introduced in Congress — and continue to advocate for — was a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that would force Washington to spend no more than it took in. This is just common sense, which is exactly why 46 of the 50 states have some form of 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 FY 2022, Florida’s budget surplus is the largest in state history — $21.8 billion, more than 21% higher than the state budget for that fiscal year.
In Florida, we make hard choices in our budget as part of our obligation to steward taxpayer dollars responsibly. Washington should be held to the same standard.
Congress should also consider legislation I co-sponsored to create a bipartisan commission tasked with identifying and eliminating wasteful, duplicative, and outdated government programs, and ultimately begin reducing the size of the federal bureaucracy.
To get our finances in order, we also need pro-growth policies that create jobs and revive the economy. The nation’s debt is a burden on the necks of our children and grandchildren, a drag on their ability to realize the American Dream. According to the latest figures, each American taxpayer holds $246,867 of American debt — and that number keeps climbing.
We need to 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 need to force the federal government to do the same.
U.S. Rep. Fern Buchanan represents Florida’s 16th Congressional District, which consists of parts of Manatee and Hillsborough counties. He is the co-chairman of Florida’s bipartisan delegation and the most senior Republican on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee.