U.S. Rep. Michael Burgess
It’s a stunning idea for Congress: Live within a budget. Spend less than what comes in. Look at the income before deciding what to buy.
That concept, that families, organizations, corporations, even churches and nonprofits rely on to make sure the bills are paid and the needs are met, is foreign to Congress, says one member who is doing his best to introduce the idea.
“You’re almost looked at as odd if you talk about things that way” in Washington, U.S. Rep. Michael C. Burgess, a Republican from Texas’ 26th District, told WND today.
But the representative, who is a doctor, recalled starting his medical practice in the 1980s when the savings and loan industry melted down.
“You couldn’t borrow money. We lived hand-to-mouth as a business. I really would have liked to buy a sonogram. But there were no banks loaning money,” he said.
“I have not forgotten that feeling,” he said.
So in Washington, he said, there needs to be a major shift away from business as usual and toward a budgeting process that recognizes income is limited, and the best government is one that spends less than what it takes in.
Burgess, whose new book, “Doctor in the House,” outlines what he sees as solutions America needs to embrace, said there are two financial storms the nation must weather: the ongoing Democratic demands that the debt ceiling continually be raised and more money borrowed, and the still-uncalculated expenses of the Obamacare health takeover.
He said regarding the borrowing limit, the soldiers must be paid and the nation must be secure. But other options have to be considered. He pointed out while the recent continuing resolution cut $6 billion in spending, it was met at the same time with borrowing more than that.
That’s where the concept of spending less than what comes in is needed, he said.
U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, another Republican from Texas, agrees with the idea.
In a statement released by his office, he said Congress needs to refuse to raise the debt ceiling.
“Find a way, month by month, for Congress to spend only what the Treasury raises in revenue,” he said.
Then he also said Congress should start over from scratch with the 13 appropriations bills that fund the federal government. Members, he said, should, “Reject any talk of baseline budgets or discretionary spending. It is all discretionary, and members of both parties should vote against any 2012 appropriation bill that is not at least 10 percent smaller – in nominal dollars – than its 2011 counterpart.”
There already is considerable agreement among House GOP members to take that step of simply halting the borrowing.
In a recent major survey of House Republicans’ attitudes toward raising the debt limit, more than half say they are committed to opposing more borrowing, and only 22 of 241 take their leadership’s position that approving more borrowing past the nation’s current $14.3 trillion borrowing limit is essential.
The survey was conducted by WND through calls and e-mails to the offices of members and, when direct responses were not forthcoming, public statements made by the officials were used.
The results are staggering in their lopsidedness, because it takes only 218 votes in the Republican-controlled House to block any effort to raise the debt limit – an action that would precipitate the most drastic cuts in federal government programs in modern history.
A total of 121 House Republicans are already committed to opposing any additional hike in the debt limit, while 55 others say they would support the hike with conditions – most of which include spending cuts or a balanced budget. An additional 43 members say they are undecided.
House Speaker John Boehner has repeatedly said publicly that the debt limit will have to be raised while pushing for spending cuts. Boehner believes failure to raise the debt limit will result in defaults on loan obligations and poses danger to the government’s credit rating, an assessment he shares with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
WND’s Joseph Farah, who has organized the “No More Red Ink” campaign to lobby House Republicans against raising the debt limit, was pleasantly surprised by the results of the survey. Farah’s campaign has generated nearly 1 million red letters urging House Republicans to oppose any hike in the debt limit.
“The press has largely assumed Republican House members would go along with business as usual, but apparently no one has taken an actual head count,” said Farah.
“This survey strongly suggests there is a very real chance the House will say no to another debt limit increase – an action that would signal a fundamental restructuring of the way the federal government operates.”
Burgess said regarding Obamacare, Democrats in the Obama administration are working day-by-day even now to create the programs it calls for the government to purchase.
“Over at Health and Human Services they’re working fast and furious on the programs,” he said. “It gets harder and harder to walk it back.”
He believes the U.S. Supreme Court likely will torpedo the nationalization of health care decision-making, but by the time that happens, probably in 2012, the costs already will be built into the system, meaning that the more quickly action is taken to defund and derail it, the simpler that chore will be.