Sam Johnson’s view: Cut spending – and starting in the U.S. House

By U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson

The American people made it abundantly clear in November; they were fed up with out-of-control government spending and voted for change. Cutting back on wasteful federal government programs is critical to protecting freedom and ensuring national prosperity.

In the last two years with Democrats at the helm of the House, Senate and White House, the 111th Congress spent more in its short tenure than the first 100 Congresses combined, adding $10,429 in new debt for every man, woman and child. It’s no wonder that the national debt recently hit $14 trillion and continues to grow at an alarming rate – and will soon eclipse the size of our entire economy.

To get our fiscal house in order, we must balance budget, pay down the debt and shrink the deficit. Each week the U.S. House will cast a vote to slash government spending in some form or fashion. In the coming year, the Congress will drastically cut government spending with the goal of returning to 2008 spending levels — before the bailout culture took hold in Washington. Before the Wall Street rescue. Before the housing bailout. Before Government Motors. Before the so-called stimulus enacted to keep unemployment below 8% …and before budget-busting Obamacare became law. It’s no wonder Americans have what’s been dubbed, “bailout fatigue.”

Republicans pledged to cut spending and get our fiscal house in order and we are leading by example. The House has cut the operating budgets of House committees, leadership offices, and lawmakers’ offices by five percent. To resurrect financial sanity, sacrifices will be required throughout the federal government, and the House is leading the charge.

While only a first step, these cuts provide real savings for the American people and demonstrate our commitment to ending the culture of spending in Washington. This $35 million serves as just the first installment of savings produced by the new majority, and our work to provide oversight and ferret out waste here in the House will continue throughout the 112th Congress.

House Republicans also adopted a “Cut-As-You-Go” plan. Under “Cut-As-You-Go,” if a Member of Congress creates a new government program or advocates new spending, he or she must also terminate or reduce spending on an existing government program of equal or greater size – in the very same bill. Combined with other ideas to break up massive spending bills into smaller, more manageable parts and limit spending on an annual basis, “Cut-As-You-Go” will play an important role in forcing the federal government to cut costs.

These are strong first steps – but only first steps – toward making difficult decisions to balance the budget, pay down the debt and shrink the deficit. Together we can get our economy back on track and create the smaller, smarter government that Americans want, need and deserve.

Make no mistake – Republicans are sharpening the budget knives and vow to make a cut a week to balance the budget, pay down the debt and reduce the deficit. Everyone knows that when you’re in a hole, stop digging!

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