op-ed

Deeming the budget

Rep. Paul Broun Contributor
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If at first you don’t succeed try again. Earlier this year, Democrats tried to “deem” the health care bill into law without requiring Members to take an up or down vote, and press reports reveal they may be attempting once again to “deem” the 2011 federal budget as a provision tucked within the upcoming war supplemental bill.

For the first time since the modern budgeting rules took effect in 1974, the House has failed to even introduce a budget resolution. With the U.S. national debt over $13 trillion, Democrats have cited concerns over voting for a budget resolution that will reveal increases in spending and the overall federal deficit. By “deeming” a budget resolution, Democrats can bypass the traditional process and set the spending levels for 2011 without providing insight into how it will affect the federal deficit. As a result, Democrats weary of Speaker Pelosi’s big spending agenda will not be forced to cast an up or down vote, and they will not be held accountable for increasing the federal deficit.

The federal budget provides more than just a framework for how Congress will spend the American people’s hard-earned money—it outlines the spending, revenues and as a result, any deficits or surpluses. How can Congress make informed and responsible spending decisions without considering how it will affect the deficit? Congress has a fiduciary duty to the American taxpayer and “deeming” a budget to avoid a tough vote on an unpopular, record-high deficit is negligent.

The American people are fed up with the Congress’ attempts to bypass their responsibility and uphold their self-proclaimed promise to provide the most open and transparent Congress. The American people have spoken out, and they are tired of Washington’s out-of-control spending. Since the April 15 deadline to produce a budget has long gone and past, I have continued to urge my colleagues on the other side of the aisle to simply introduce a budget and allow Congress to take a simple up or down vote on it.  And last week, President Barack Obama sent a letter pushing Congress to “establish a fiscally sustainable budget path,” “discipline the budget process,” and “ensure a sustainable and responsible long-term budget.” However, establishing a fiscally sustainable budget starts with introducing a budget.

I will continue to demand a real budget, but I encourage you to get involved as well. You can help Congress decide on which spending cuts it votes on through the new YouCut program, or propose new ideas through America Speaking Out.

Rep. Paul Broun, M.D. represents the 10th District of Georgia. In order to stop unsustainable spending, Dr. Broun has introduced an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would force Congress to balance the federal budget and return money to the taxpayers.