This won’t be new news to you, but Congress sure has a hard time sticking to a budget. Let me back up — Congress has a hard time even creating a budget and many hardworking Americans, including our nation’s military, could end up paying the price.
Our federal government is traditionally funded through a process called appropriations. House and Senate committees will consider budget proposals for different parts of the federal government — like military and defense spending, education and transportation — and pass them individually, providing a piecemeal funding structure. It’s like putting together your family budget by looking at your gas budget, mortgage and rent costs, as well as spending on food all in separate buckets.
Makes sense, right? Well — it works when Congress does its job, but unfortunately, this process has become increasingly political over the years. Politicians often use these spending bills as a way to insert controversial provisions, decreasing any chances of bipartisanship and resulting in a stalemate. Congress constantly packages multiple spending bills together, even if they’re not related, which results in bills that are extraordinarily complex and hundreds of pages long.
Because of the inability of Congress and the president to agree on regular appropriations bills, the government will often pass “continuing resolutions” to keep the government open — Congress takes the easy way out and extends previous funding levels. We owe it to our kids to do the hard work — to look at our nation’s budget and make the tough decisions necessary to rein in spending. It’s been said so frequently I’m afraid it doesn’t sink in for folks anymore, but our nation is running an absurd $22 trillion deficit. Operating a balanced budget should not be a partisan issue.
I support adding a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It’s time for us to put some skin in the game and hold each other accountable. If this is an expectation we have of South Dakota families, and even South Dakota’s government, we should expect no differently from Washington.
The clock is ticking. Congress has until Nov. 21 to pass all twelve appropriations bills or we’ll be faced with another continuing resolution, leaving tough decisions for another day.
This process is too complicated, and I believe South Dakotans are rightfully frustrated. We must make comprehensive, structural changes to reform this dysfunctional budget process. I have fought and will continue to fight for a conservative approach that rightfully prioritizes your taxpayer dollars and also addresses the gravity of our national debt. I hope my colleagues will join me in this fight.