By Congressman Allen West
Mr. Speaker: I rise today to take a stand, a stand that may not be popular with the Leadership of the House of Representatives, but a stand I must take because I believe we cannot kick the can down the road for even another three weeks. The American people recognize that we must no longer take these small calculated measures. Today I will vote against another short term Continuing Resolution.
In the shortest month of the year, February, the federal government had the largest deficit of $223 billion in our nation’s entire history. The American People know that we are in a fiscal crisis and have sent me to address out-of-control spending.
The Majority in the House of Representatives passed H.R. 1 which reduced spending by $61 billion for the remainder of this Fiscal Year. Even though H.R 1 only cut spending by approximately 1.5 percent of the entire requested budget for Fiscal Year 2011, H.R. 1 reversed the trend of the Democrat Majority which increased overall discretionary funding by 24% over the last two years. The United States Senate rejected this amount as too much. They believe that, after President Barack Obama and the Democrat Congress presented trillion dollar deficit budgets, a freeze is the only viable approach.
I am not a supporter of big government. However, the federal government does perform certain important functions. Many essential federal agencies cannot move forward with planning and using resources if every several weeks they are faced with the threat that they will need to close their doors until we resolve this impasse. Could any business in America function this way? Can a family household function this way?
Mr. Speaker, President Obama and the United States Congresses of the past have created the Nanny States of America. Vast segments of the American people are now dependent on our federal government and not dependent on their own ability, skills and entrepreneurial spirit to succeed in this nation.
We are in this position today because the Democrats in the last Congress failed to pass a budget. Further, the President appoints Vice President Biden as the Administration point person on the negotiations while he flies off to Europe. The Democrats failed to show leadership last year and the President is showing a lack of leadership today. I will show what I consider appropriate leadership now and vote against this Continuing Resolution.
Mr. Speaker, the American people are watching us closely. Today, with information so readily available on the internet they know the truth of our desperate economic situation. The days of Washington, D.C. double-talk no longer works.
The American people know that the federal government is collecting $2.2 trillion and spending $3.7 trillion this year. The American people know forty cents of every dollar the federal government spends is borrowed, much of it from China. The American people also know our nation is piling up new debt at the rate of $4 billion a day. So, what does $6 billion of spending cuts really buy the American people?
Further, the General Accountability Office released a 345-page report detailing the redundancies of federal programs and the $100 to $200 billion of savings that could be achieved if these programs were consolidated or eliminated.
My colleagues on the other side of the aisle want to argue that these cuts in spending will weaken an already slow economy and contribute to an increase in the loss of jobs. I believe this is a disingenuous argument. The truth is, the spending over the last two years has not reduced the loss of jobs, but instead has contributed to the largest debt in American history which will be passed on to my children and my grandchildren.
In Wisconsin, we have seen what the unionized entitlement class can do and the pressure they can place on their elected officials. Wisconsin State Legislators running to a neighboring state to hide from making a hard vote and protestors storming the Wisconsin State Capitol are not in concert with the principles of a representative democracy.
Mr. Speaker, Madison, Wisconsin is only 700 miles from the United States Capitol.
The Founders of our nation wrote in the Declaration of Independence “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” The “Pursuit” of Happiness, not the federal government’s “Guarantee” of Happiness!
Finally, Mr. Speaker, we can continue to rehash the past of how we have gotten into this situation, but I would rather focus on the future. The future is now and the place is here for us to get our nation back on track. I support the cuts in the Continuing Resolution. I support the elimination of these projects.
However, my “No” vote should not be construed as my willingness for a “government shutdown.” My “No” vote is based on a simple principle that we need to complete the federal budget for 2011. It is time to have this debate on federal spending and get our nation back on track by cutting spending for the long term economic restoration of our Republic.
Alexander the Great once stated, “Fortune favors the bold.” The American people are looking for principled and bold leadership. I understand “political maneuvering” but the time has come to engage in the battle for the fiscal responsible future of America. I take my position on the frontlines.