Today the House approved H.R. 444 the “Require a PLAN Act.” I supported this legislation.
The President is required by law to submit a budget no later than the first Monday of February. The President has failed to meet this legal requirement four out of the last five years.
This bill is about transparency. It requires the President to show the American People a budget by April 1, 2013. If the budget does not balance the President would be required to tell Americans when his policies would actually achieve a budget that balances and what measures he believes would need to be taken to get to the point where we are not spending more money than we are bringing in.
In other words, put your cards on the table in front of the country.
Let’s be clear, the President promised Americans that he would cut budget deficits in half during his first term. He has not done so.
Here are some incontrovertible facts:
$ For the last four years Washington DC has been spending $1 trillion more a year than it has taken in;
$ Over thirty cents of every dollar spent by the President and Congress is borrowed;
$ Our payments on just the interest on the national debt now stands at nearly half of what we spend on our National Defense;
$ Over 70% of Americans say they want the government to take action on reducing the national debt;
$ Transparent government is the best type of government.
The House has met its obligation to pass budgets and to put a plan before the country to ensure we can meet our fiscal obligations and to spur economic growth. People may or may not agree with the plan presented, but no one can say that we’ve kept it a secret.
The Senate has failed to pass a budget for three years and it was only the recent no-nonsense “No Budget, No Pay” bill passed by the House in a bipartisan manner that broke the logjam.
Some people will say that this bill is political theater. I say if it is political theater, then it is a play the American People deserve to see.
People cannot make choices in a vacuum. They need to be able to put opposing plans next to each other and see how they compare. In order for our democracy to work, people need the information to make rational choices about what will benefit them personally and what will benefit the country.
This bill is a bipartisan message to the President, a message supported by 26 Democrat Members of Congress – “Put your plan before the people and trust in them to decide once they have the information.”
The legislation passed by a vote of 253-167.