The House voted this week on a bill to stop the debt limit from going into effect until mid-May. But the bill also included a provision to suspend pay to Members of Congress if they fail to pass a budget. I voted for the bill because pushing the debt limit back gives Congress the time to focus on dealing with across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration. Congress has a number of big issues that need solutions. We have to be smart and deliberate in how we deal with these issues without risking an economic crisis.
Passing a budget is one of the most basic responsibilities of the House and Senate. If Members of Congress cannot fulfill that part of their job they shouldn’t get paid. Making sure both the House and the Senate have a budget is a critical first step to help us get spending under control. You and your family live on a budget, so should the United States Government.
Without this bill the United States would default on its debt in the middle of February without a debt limit extension. Two weeks later, on March 1st, sequestration would go into effect. In late March the Continuing Resolution which funds the entire federal government will expire and will need to be renewed. Failing to deal with any of these issues would be devastating to our economy and our national security.
Replacing automatic defense sequestration cuts by the March 1st deadline is one of my top priorities. Texas would be among the hardest hit states if these cuts kick in as scheduled, and Tarrant County would be one of the hardest hit areas in the country. These cuts would do great harm to our local economy, and put our national security in peril. We need to replace these cuts, but getting to an agreement by the deadline would be nearly impossible if Congress was fighting over the debt limit at the same time.
I hope the President and the Senate will support this bill. It contains the right set of measures to put us on the way to a real solution on spending, because it requires all Members of Congress to vote on a budget, and tell the American people how they would deal with our fiscal problems. It also gives us the time needed to thoughtfully consider all ideas to cut spending, and avoid big defense cuts.
I’ll keep you updated throughout this important period in Congress.
Member of Congress