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Weekly Column: Spending Responsibly

The mindset in Washington for far too long has been “spend now, pay later,” leaving our children and grandchildren to pick up the tab. This has led to a national debt of more than $18 trillion that threatens future economic growth. When Republicans took over the Senate this year, we promised to put an end to this kind of reckless spending. The budget we passed in the Senate offers a robust plan to not only rein in spending, but also grow the economy, repeal Obamacare and protect Americans from new tax burdens.

Balancing our budget is not new to South Dakotans. Our state leaders balance the budget every single year, which helps keep South Dakota’s economy strong and unemployment low. In addition, balancing the budget helps keep government accountable to taxpayers and makes sure their money is being spent wisely. The Senate budget resolution we passed would help accomplish all of these things. It would balance the budget over the course of ten years – without any additional taxes. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which provides nonpartisan legislative analysis, estimates that by 2025 the spending reductions in the resolution alone will grow the economy 1.5 percent per person, providing them an additional $1,200 dollars in income annually.

In addition to controlling spending, our budget offers the best path to repeal Obamacare, increases defense spending and encourages domestic energy production so we can become energy independent. It reforms welfare and Medicaid programs by providing states with the resources and flexibility necessary to care for their residents’ needs while protecting our most vulnerable citizens. This is a stark contrast to the policies promulgated by the President and Senate Democrats, and one we believe will get us on the right economic path. 

I was pleased to offer a number of amendments to the budget resolution that were included in the final package. One of my amendments would open up mortgage options in rural areas to make it easier for families to purchase a home. Another amendment I offered seeks to eliminate waste, fraud and abuse within federal agencies. Overall, 53 amendments were voted on during debate, and dozens more adopted in the final budget resolution that was passed, giving all Senators a chance to offer their ideas. 

Now that the budget resolution has passed, the Senate can begin to tackle chronic overspending and waste in government. We now have twelve opportunities in twelve separate appropriation bills in which we can impact how money at the federal level is being spent. When I was elected to the Senate, I promised South Dakotans that I would come to Washington to get things done. I intend to make good on that promise. Passing the budget resolution will give us the tools to start the real work of appropriating taxpayer’s hard earned  dollars in a meaningful and responsible way.