Opinion: Working to hold the line on D.C. deficits

The U.S. Capitol Building.

Credit: Dreamstime

Credit: Dreamstime

The U.S. Capitol Building.

Debt ceilings, deficits, and budgets are back in the news these days and Americans once again see a familiar story play out in Washington: Republicans desperately try to rein in government spending and balance the nation’s checkbook, while Democrats accuse us of unthinkable cruelty for “rewinding” to the same spending levels they supported just a few years ago.

In 2011, we faced a very similar fight over the debt limit. Back then, our national debt was $14.8 trillion, a record number for the time. Today, a mere $14.8 trillion debt would be a godsend. As I write, our national debt stands at $31.5 trillion, or $94,200 per American — a 113% increase.

That is why House Republicans passed the Limit, Save, Grow Act. While this legislation would raise the debt limit by $1.5 trillion, a requirement to cover the Democrats’ spending spree of the last two years, it also allows us to continue to fund vital government programs, care for seniors, veterans and low-income families and support our courageous men and women in the armed forces. We did so in a way that would also save $4.8 trillion in taxpayer dollars over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office, a source that President Biden himself called the “gold standard” for reliable analysis.

Rich McCormick

Credit: contributed

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Credit: contributed

While it isn’t a perfect solution, I am proud to have voted for it. Republicans must act while the Democrats fearmonger and play brinksmanship games with our nation’s finances. Just look at what the Biden administration is doing to fundamentally erase the merit-based credit process — woke messaging is far more important to them than sound governance, and frankly 2024 cannot come fast enough to save our country from economic calamity.

Unfortunately, I’ve seen a lot of misinformation swirling around online about our bill. Allow me to set the record straight: The Limit, Save, Grow Act does not cut VA benefits, does not cut the defense budget, and does not cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) or Medicaid. Full stop.

Our bill simply caps discretionary spending (not mandatory spending, which includes Social Security and Medicare) for fiscal year 2024 to levels that were in place in December of 2022. The only changes to SNAP, TANF and Medicaid programs are work requirements to ensure that the hard earned tax dollars of Georgia families are lifting people out of poverty, not paying them to stay home. I haven’t met a single person in Georgia who disagrees with this goal.

The Limit, Save, Grow Act also includes measures to lower energy costs for all Americans by boosting domestic production. This means lower heating bills in the winter and lower A/C bills in the summer. In addition, our legislation forbids federal agencies like the Department of Transportation, Department of Labor, EPA, ATF, etc. from foisting massive, expensive regulations on the American people without first passing an up-or-down vote in Congress.

As a 20-year veteran of the Marines and Navy I know a national security threat when I see one and a national fiscal crisis falls into that category. We must curb unnecessary spending and work toward balancing the budget if we want to preserve the very benefits, entitlements and social safety nets that Democrats champion. Believe me, they won’t like what happens when our government can’t pay for these programs anymore. Washington has a chronic spending problem and brinksmanship over the debt limit every few years won’t work forever. Long term, the U.S. can’t just repeatedly raise the debt ceiling without addressing the underlying problems. No government (or individual) can function this way.

We can cut wasteful government projects and regulations without cutting vital services. We have to, if we want to save our nation. The Limit, Save, Grow Act is a small — but solid — step in the right direction.

U.S. Rep. Rich McCormick represents Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.