For years, the administration and Congress have talked about the need for a bold plan to restore
our economy and strengthen America, but the President has failed to move beyond words and actually engage.
So every week, I head to the Senate floor to urge the President to step up and lead. I urge him to work
with Congress and act on a serious, long-term deficit reduction plan that will put our country on a path
to prosperity. I urge him to deliver on his vow to reduce unsustainable deficit spending so our children
and grandchildren will have promising opportunities, rather than a future burdened with debt.
This week, the President invited me and some of his other fiercest critics to dinner for a face-to-face
discussion on the economy and how we can work on a credible debt reduction plan. While I have spoken
repeatedly about the need for action and highlighting lessons Washington can learn from Indiana to get
its fiscal books in order, I don’t expect the President is turning on CSPAN every time I head to
the Senate floor.
So this dinner provided me with a unique opportunity to look the President in the eye and tell him
why I feel his tax, spend and borrow policies are failing. It allowed me to directly carry a message
from Hoosiers that we need to stop spending money we don’t have.
This outreach to fiscally conservative Senate Republicans was long overdue by the President. It was
a much-needed adult conversation following months of political posturing and campaign tactics that have
taken the place of constructive debate. I appreciated the invitation, but as we all know, talk can be
cheap. The onus is now on the President to take real action and show leadership.
Digging out of our nation’s $16.5 trillion debt will not be easy. Fixing Medicare, Medicaid
and Social Security to preserve them for future generations will take courage and political will from
both sides of the aisle. Overhauling our outdated and unfair tax code will demand Congress and the administration
work together in the same way President Ronald Reagan proved possible.
There is no doubt that the challenges we face are difficult, but America has seen greater challenges
before and we have risen to the occasion. The time is now for Congress and the administration to act.
It will require presidential leadership and recognition that the root of our fiscal problem is out-of-control
I returned to public service for one reason: I want to be able to tell my children and grandchildren
that I fought and gave it everything I had to provide a stronger and more prosperous America for them.
This is the same commitment I made to the Hoosiers I am honored to represent. I will continue this fight,
and I hope you will stand with me.