Goodlatte on the Budget

Congressman Bob Goodlatte, though not known as one of Washington’s key fiscal critics, has been a steadfast opponent of the veritable spending spree that has coursed through Washington, D.C. over the past six months. Opposing both the bailout and the stimulus, Congressman Goodlatte has recognized both the short-term and long-term implications of trying to spend our way out of our current economic predicament. From his weekly column: 

This past week House Democrats presented their $3.6 trillion budget resolution – a budget which spends too much, taxes too much and borrows too much. The Democrat budget proposes a deficit of $1.2 trillion for 2010, with the national debt climbing to $17.1 trillion.  It also includes one of the largest tax increases in history.  The spending in this budget is so massive that independent estimates suggest roughly 250,000 new federal bureaucrats may be needed to spend it all. 

….

In these challenging economic times it is even more important for government to control spending. The federal government must work to both eliminate every cent of waste and squeeze every cent of value out of each dollar our citizens entrust to it.  Families and small businesses all across our nation understand what it means to make tough decisions each day about what they can and cannot afford, and Congress should not be allowed to ignore these tough decisions when creating spending policies for the federal government.   

One aspect of spending that has gotten alot of attention is earmarking. Here too Congressman Goodlatte has put actions behind his words. The Daily News Record notes that he has submitted the sixth lowest number of earmarks of any member of Congress:

xGoodlatte himself has long said that cutting wasteful spending should be a priority for Congress.

Earmarks, he said, can be useful for setting aside funds that have already been budgeted for worthwhile projects, based on the needs of communities, he said in a statement on Friday.

“While I have made limited use of earmarks, there have been serious abuses and excesses by others with this process,” he said.

Not spending the money that has already been budgeted is not an option, he said, because the funds would be redirected to other projects.

Virginia’s Sixth District should be represented fairly in the earmark process, he said.

More disclosure and accountability is needed, Goodlatte said.

“The entire Congress,” he said, “should enact a moratorium on earmarks until standards are adopted for all.  But until that is done I will continue to use my own careful review process,” in weighing the legitimacy of earmark-related funding.

As Congressman Goodlatte notes, the earmark process is often misunderstood. While it is correct that these projects are often quite silly and are used to reward supporters in a quiet manner, the money is generally already set aside. Indeed, Congressman Ron Paul, while voting against all earmarks and budgets, argues that all money should be earmarked so as to know its exact use. Regardless of your views on earmarks, however, it is certainly heartening to see a member of Congress that recognizes the severity of the situation and that there is no need to risk mortgaging the next generation and endangering the income of the current one to pay for things we can’t really afford and who understands the government’s moral responsibility in spending citizen’s earnings for the common good. 

It is especially heartening knowing that he’s MY Congressman.

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