February 21, 2013
Senator Mike Enzi - February Newsletter
Senator Enzi’s response to the State of the Union Address
Senator Enzi heard a president who, “acts like he leads a country that has a lot of money,” when he listened to President Obama’s State of the Union Address.
“We’re in the midst of a financial crisis in this country and it’s getting worse. We all need to face that fact. Trotting out a long laundry list every year of what more the government is going to do for people won’t work. We need to take care of the successful programs we already have,” Enzi said. “His budgets haven’t reflected that we must bring down the deficit. Instead of cutting it in half as the president claimed, it’s risen to nearly $1 trillion per year. Now he’s proposing new federal programs that we all know would cost billions more in new borrowing. He can name his own price in a speech, but the reality is a different price. A speech won’t become law.”
“My hope is that the majority in the Senate settles down, stops deal making and starts legislating. Let’s pass a budget and work appropriations bills through the committee process. Then we won’t be moving from crisis to crisis.”
Debt ceiling cannot be another credit line
The last time the debt ceiling was raised it was with a warning to cut and a promise it would be done. It wasn’t. Senator Enzi believes there should have been dollar-for-dollar reductions in spending for every dollar the debt ceiling was raised; an end to emergency “deals” to avert a shutdown of the federal government; and provisions to ensure the United States does not default on its debt. Those were all amendments to the debt ceiling increase bill that Enzi voted for but were defeated in the Senate in late January. Enzi also voted against the final passage of the bill (H.R. 325).
“The Senate hasn’t passed a budget in almost four years. This will be the fifth year that we’ve overspent by more than $1 trillion. Why? Because we’re addicted to spending money we don’t have and refuse to honor the limits we’ve put on ourselves,” said Enzi.
The bill contains a No Budget, No Pay provision that requires both the House and Senate agree to their own budget for fiscal year 2014 by April 15 of this year or compensation for members of Congress will be suspended until a budget resolution is passed or the end of the 113th Congress in early 2015 if the budget doesn’t get done earlier. Senator Enzi is a cosponsor of the Senate version of the No Budget, No Pay Act, but said this one good provision was not enough to compensate for the overall fiscal irresponsibility of the measure.
Disasters shouldn’t be spending free-for-alls
Areas hit by Hurricane Sandy should be and are getting federal aid, but we have to change the way we fund emergencies. The fund has to be part of the budget, not an unpaid for addition, according to Senator Enzi.
“In the Senate, I voted for legislation that would provide nearly $24 billion to the communities affected. However, the majority rejected that proposal in favor of a $60 billion bill that included funding programs not directly related to Hurricane Sandy or even related to disaster relief at all. I voted against that wasteful bill,” said Enzi. “I voted against it, but they got their $60 billion anyway.”