Our nation reached an unfortunate milestone this week. The national debt rose above $13 trillion dollars, up $1.7 trillion in just one year. It is ironic we hit this new high in a week that found Congress on recess, given its central role in creating the current spending crisis.
True to form, as members of Congress were rushing to leave town
last week, the Senate spent its remaining hours ramming through an
“emergency” supplemental appropriations bill that will spend an
additional $60 billion without a single way to pay for it.
During consideration of this bill, I offered amendments that would have ensured the entire costs of the legislation would be offset with reductions in lower priority spending. Among other things, my amendments would have frozen pay increases and bonuses for civilian federal employees, cut Congress’ own internal budget, and forced agencies to use leftover funds (“unobligated balances”) rather than borrowing the money. My amendments narrowly failed by votes of 45-53 and 47-50.
I was criticized by senate appropriators for the spending cuts I suggested. Yet they did not offer a single alternative. Instead, we got more of what we have come to expect from Washington—excuses.
My question to the big spenders in Washington — “when is enough, enough?” Will it take a collapse like we have seen in Greece to force politicians to make the hard choices?
In November, the ballot box will give us the opportunity to answer these questions. Any politician —Republican or Democrat — who is unable to show what tough choices he would make (or has made already) to end the current spending crisis — must hear from us.
By the most conservative estimates, at least 10 percent of the federal budget, or $350 billion, is lost to waste, fraud, and abuse each year. Ask anyone seeking federal office in your area — or that of your family and friends — one simple question: if elected, what federal programs do you intend to overhaul or eliminate?
Edit Note: To hear U.S. Senator Tom Coburn’s complete remarks on the floor of the Senate, click here. History will note and you should remember Sen. Coburn and others warning that the United States of America will collapse in financial ruin unless the government stops “wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of caring for them” (Thomas Jefferson). You are warned. You must hold Congress accountable or in the very near future hyperinflation and total economic collapse will come to your family. Then you will not be able to afford food, electricity, gasoline, and housing and, as your children cry in despair, what will you tell them? Will you tell them that at least you tried to warn people by sharing this article with others? If the currency collapses, remember Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution of the United States of America requires that Congress maintain the value of the currency. If they fail in that task, all who voted for unsustainable spending have committed crime. You may use the "share" feature on this page to send Senator Coburn’s remarks to others.