The cover photo was borrowed from the Chattanooga Times Free Press and shows the various cans Congress have kicked down the road for decades.
I’ve been receiving a lot of emails from folks across the country asking me “why haven’t you written about impeachment,” and my answer is simple, it’s yet another distraction from the real issues. Now, I’m not saying it’s not an important topic, it is, however, every political pundit on the Left and Right are writing or talking about it. However, the issues that are vitally important are not being discussed, this includes the fact Congress has failed to pass a budget of any kind, never mind passing a balanced budget. Also, given that President Trump isn’t going to be impeached in the Senate and 2020 is another election year if we’re not careful America will re-elect 95% of the incumbents on the ballot. For the most part, these incumbents have either created and/or exacerbated the problems America continues to face and yet have done nothing about. In other words, we’ll send the alligators and snakes back to the “Swamp” instead of doing our part to “Drain the Swamp.”
That’s why I’ve decided to continue to write about other issues, all in the hopes I can sway a handful of people to think before they vote in the primaries and the general elections. I know you’re saying to yourself, “this guy is just anti-incumbent” and you would be wrong, many incumbents certainly deserve to be re-elected, incumbents such as Congressman Tim Burchett (TN-02) who is the Representative in the Congressional District that neighbors (TN-01), the one I live.
Budget, Deficit, Debt, and Continuing Resolution(s)
To many, this section may be insulting, but talking to people over the years about our mounting National Debt and the massive annual Budget Deficits it’s clear that many folks don’t understand the difference. I’ve found that most of them don’t care because they don’t understand the difference and how it affects all of us. On the other hand, there are those who don’t care because it’s not their money as they view the government as a “piggy bank,” while some believe the answer is simply to raise taxes or print more money. As I explain, soon we’ll run out of other people’s money and more inflation only hurts us even more.
- Budget: an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time.
- Deficit: the amount by which something, especially a sum of money, is too small. (and/or) an excess of expenditure or liabilities over income or assets in a given period.
- Debt: something, typically money, that is owed or due. (and/or) the state of owing money.
- Continuing Resolution: legislation enacted by Congress to allow government operations to continue until the regular appropriations are enacted: used when action on appropriations is not completed by the beginning of a fiscal year.
The National Debt Monster
On September 19th and again on November 19th, Congress yet again kicked the fiscal can down the road, which is one of the few things they’re good at. In many ways, Congress is collectively doing their best Doug Flutie 1984 Hail Mary (aka Hail Flutie) impressions by throwing the fiscal can a little further down the road. I’m guessing with our $23+ Trillion National Debt and the Democrats need to impeach President Trump they figure, what’s the hurry. Besides, there’s only been 4 times in the past 43 years that Congress completed all appropriations before the start of a fiscal year, the last time was in 1996 the year I graduated high school and joined the Army.
In fact, since 1996 the National Debt has grown from $5.2 Trillion to more than $23+ (nearing $24) Trillion today. Since the mid-1970s with only 4 exceptions, the Federal government has operated under hundreds of short-term spending bills. These spending bills eliminate transparency, accountability, and certainty in government departments and agencies. Also, the budgetary process hasn’t been overhauled since 1974, when the Federal Budget was a mere $475 Billion.
For example, let me put on my Army hat for a moment, should we be fighting the Global War on Terrorism using tactics, strategy, weapons, and technology from the Revolutionary War!? Simply put, we shouldn’t, so, how is it that our government can continue to run on legislation and rules that were in place in response to 1970s society!? Sadly, when explaining to most voters why the National Debt is important, it’s received through glossed over eyes and deaf ears. Also, many voters often don’t want to hear from policy wonks and those who go in-depth on issues, as we see its soundbites and snappy slogans that sway many voters, not facts.
Continuing Resolutions should be called, continuing failure. Sadly, when these continuing resolutions aren’t passed, the government shuts down. We then hear how the shutdown is the failure and not the lack of passing a budget at the beginning of the fiscal year. During these shutdowns, we always hear each side assigning blame and calling each other names. It’s to the point where each side can use Congressional inaction to great advantage. After all, it’s more important to win the blame game, score a few political points and fundraise off the shutdown than solve America’s problems. When a deal is reached, we see each side taking their victory laps all while everyday Americans continue to lose. In fact, over the past few years, shutdowns have cost taxpayers $4-5 Billion.
We elect representatives to solve problems, not create more of them then proceed to kick them down the road. These problems are utilized by incumbent Members of Congress to great success when running for re-election. What’s even worse is when candidates or Members run as fiscal-conservatives and debt/deficit hawks but their track record in Washington suggests otherwise. Thankfully, there are some bright spots in Congress, not many but there are Members who are fighting the good fight.
A Bright Spot in the U.S. House
Congressman Tim Burchett (TN-02) is one of the few Members of Congress doing their/his job. Congressman Burchett is by no means a newcomer to elective office, but in his Freshman year in Congress, he’s running circles around Members who’ve been in office for five or six terms. Also, he doesn’t let any of it go to his head and every time I’ve spoken to him, he’s told me to simply says “call me Tim.” Before I met him, I thought his Carhart jacket was a gimmick, since then I’ve come to know he’s simply being Tim.
As I mentioned in the previous section, Congress yet again kicked the fiscal can down the road on September 19th and November 19th. It was refreshing to see a Member of Congress vote against these pieces of legislation and explain why in Press Releases as well as many videos on his social media platforms.
.You can follow Congressman Burchett at the following locations
Congressman Burchett’s Press Releases
Statement from Representative Burchett Following Vote Against Short-Term Spending Deal
September 19, 2019 Press Release
WASHINGTON (September 19, 2019) – Today, after the House of Representatives passed a temporary spending package to keep the government open through the end of the year, Congressman Tim Burchett released the following statement:
“Here we go again. We have to stop funding government this way. It’s becoming way too common to pass short-term spending agreements just to get us to the end of the year, and it almost always results in a shutdown of the federal government. Congress fails the American taxpayers by not passing a real budget. We need long-term spending agreements that set priorities and wisely invest taxpayers’ hard-earned money in projects like border security and new infrastructure. I urge my colleagues to pass a responsible, long-term spending bill before this newest continuing resolution expires, and I will continue to use my position on the House Budget Committee to advocate for an accountable government budget.”
Rep. Burchett: Congress ignores responsibilities by passing CR
November 19, 2019 Press Release
WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives passed a short-term continuing resolution, or CR, this afternoon to fund the federal government through Dec. 20.
Members of Congress did not receive text of the CR until yesterday afternoon, giving Representatives very little time to review the full impact of the multi-billion-dollar spending bill they were asked to approve. Furthermore, the CR funds certain government initiatives into next year rather than for the few weeks the CR is supposed to cover.
Congressman Tim Burchett (TN-02) voted against the continuing resolution and released the following statement:
“I am nearly halfway through my first term in Congress and not a single budget nor long-term spending bill has been approved since I got here. These terrible continuing resolutions are not how Congress is supposed to fund the government, but it is how it has been operating for a very long time. I fail to understand why Congress is extending essential government funding for just a few weeks while extending the Patriot Act and other surveillance programs well into next year, all in the same piece of legislation. This body needs to get its priorities straight. Congress needs to start honoring its fiscal and budget responsibilities and end its negligent abuse of taxpayer dollars.”