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Congressman: Budget bill is a ‘stunt’ and a ‘gimmick’ but I voted for it anyway

  • The House of Representatives voted on the Senate's budget plan, called a budget "blueprint" in Washington-speak.
  • While I'm relieved that we can finally move ahead with delivering tax reform, the fact that we are yet again failing to address our nation's budget and debt crisis is deeply troubling.
  • When it comes putting our nation on a responsible and sustainable fiscal trajectory, this 'blueprint' is a stunt, not a solution.
Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio.
Chris Maddaloni | CQ Roll Call | Getty Images
Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio.

As a businessman who spent 30 years running companies and balancing budgets, I know firsthand that a business cannot thrive or survive without working within its fiscal framework.

As a family man who spent three decades providing for my family and saved to send three kids to college, I know the importance of living within our means.

Yet as a member of Congress since 2011, it's apparent that budgets in Washington generally mean absolutely nothing, because even when they're passed, they're almost always ignored.

With that in mind, the House of Representatives voted Thursday on the Senate's budget plan, called a budget "blueprint" in Washington-speak. It's called a "blueprint" because in reality it's just a proposal, not an actual budget like the ones families and businesses use in the real world. After all, Washington isn't the real world.

Nevertheless, Republicans in Congress are moving forward with this budget blueprint because once it passes both chambers, Republican leadership will need just 51 votes to pass our tax reform plan in the Senate, instead of the usual 60 votes needed to pass legislation. In other words, the budget blueprint is simply a necessary procedural step required under Washington's rules to eliminate a filibuster from Democrats and move forward with badly needed tax relief for families and businesses.

"I plan to vote in support of the Senate-passed budget. Not because it's the right thing to do fiscally, but because it's the Washington gimmick needed to get tax reform done. Yes, another D.C. gimmick."

And while I'm relieved that we can finally move ahead with delivering tax reform for the American people, the fact that we are yet again failing to address our nation's budget and debt crisis is deeply troubling. The simple fact is that we are on an unsustainable fiscal path. Our mandatory spending now represents 70 percent of federal spending and by 2026 will have doubled compared to 2013. Yet once again Washington will shirk its responsibility to pass and actually implement a responsible budget.

As a member of the House Budget Committee, we spent months putting together a budget that balanced over the next ten years and that would make real strides in addressing mandatory spending. I fought for 400 plus billion mandatory spending cuts and agreed to 200 billion -- only to see it get reduced to zero in the Senate budget.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, the Senate chose to take an easier path and decided not to include mandatory spending reforms in their budget—again ignoring the true drivers of our over $20 trillion national debt. God help our children and future generations of Americans as we continue to bury them in unsustainable debt.

I just celebrated my first child's wedding this past weekend and wondered: how my future grandchildren will thrive under the reign of Chinese dollars? How will we repair our bridges? How will we provide for our seniors? How will we remain competitive with the world and fund our military?

Yet having said that, this week I voted in support of the Senate-passed budget. Not because it's the right thing to do fiscally, but because it's the Washington gimmick needed to get tax reform done. Yes, another D.C. gimmick.

We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass tax reform in order to raise wages for hard working Americans, simplify the tax code, and make our businesses more competitive. But make no mistake, when it comes putting our nation on a responsible and sustainable fiscal trajectory, this 'blueprint' is a stunt, not a solution. As wholeheartedly as I welcome the advancement of pro-growth tax reform, I just forcefully implore Congress to end its long and ugly history of budget gimmicks and finally address the true drivers of our country's crippling debt—mandatory entitlement spending.

Commentary by Congressman Jim Renacci (R-OH). He is serving his fourth term representing the 16th district of Ohio. Currently he serves on the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Budget Committee. Follow him on Twitter @RepJimRenacci.

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