Roby Column - April 5, 2012
Ongoing Budget Debate
Families work within a budget, as do business owners and employers. A budget is a blueprint, or a roadmap, from which to navigate, measure, and regulate spending. In the absence of a budget, irresponsible and careless spending is easier to hide. This is unfortunately our present situation in Washington.
The current Congress is operating without a budget, as it has been more than 1,000 days since the Democrats in the Senate passed a plan. As a result, our country is experiencing the largest deficit in our nation’s history, one that has grown under the current Administration faster than any preceding it.
We do not have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. We need to take hold of our country’s spending problem now by implementing an effective plan. We must cut spending and pay down the debt to put America back on track toward sustained, free-market economic growth. This means passing a budget plan that will chart an effective course for our nation’s current and future spending.
My Republican colleagues and I took action last week when we passed a budget to restore fiscal responsibility to federal spending. Introduced by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, the “Path to Prosperity” is a plan that will lower our nation’s deficit, advance tax reform, and improve Medicare. The plan will deliver pro-growth tax cuts, will get federal spending under control, and will strengthen entitlement programs for future generations.
The federal government must have a plan in place to regulate our nation’s spending. Chairman Ryan’s plan is an aggressive approach that will cut unnecessary spending and set our country on a path toward a balanced budget. It will help our businesses owners, it will reduce taxes, and it will strengthen Medicare. My hope is that the Democrats in the Senate will have the courage to finally take budget action and support this plan.
The Ryan plan is a responsible attempt to move in the right direction. Our problem is serious and it will take a consistent, mature approach over a long period of time to make a difference. I think the Ryan plan puts us on that path.
Update on Committee Hearings:
Each week while I am in Washington, I spend a good amount of time examining policies during committee hearings. I serve on three important committees: the House Committee on Agriculture, House Armed Services Committee, and the House Education and the Workforce Committee. My seat on each committee provides me the opportunity to advance legislative initiatives that are important to the Second District.
Last week, I participated in a House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing reviewing the President’s Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Proposal for the U.S. Department of Education. During the hearing, I questioned Education Secretary Arne Duncan about current education policies affecting the states. Our current education system is broken and is in serious need of reform. The Obama Administration is seeking to promote uniform federal regulations—developed by unelected, unaccountable officials at the Department of Education—on our local schools. However, Alabamians know our local educators are the best to determine the educational needs of our children and the ways to fulfill those needs on a daily basis. To fix our system, we need to implement policies that grant teachers and administrators the flexibility to run innovative and effective schools on the local level. I was glad to have the opportunity to highlight my concerns with Sec. Duncan during the hearing.
Earlier last week, I attended a House Armed Services Tactical Air and Land Forces Subcommittee hearing to examine the Fiscal Year 2013 Department of Defense Rotorcraft Modernization Programs. Based on current planned force structure reductions and the critical role rotorcraft play in military operations, the demand for rotorcraft capability will soon become even more significant. Representing Fort Rucker, the home of Army Aviation and the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, it is my job to fight hard on issues vital to Army aviation programs. I was eager to hear officials from each military branch regarding the condition of existing U.S. helicopter fleets and future plans for upgrades and modernization. During the hearing, Major General William T. Crosby, Program Executive Officer of Army Aviation, discussed certain procedures and tools being implemented to minimize problems and improve helicopter operations.
My Meetings last Week:
Last week was another productive time for me to speak about important Alabama issues with groups and individuals who were visiting D.C. Thank you to all of those who met with me, including the following: the President of the Professional Fire Fighters of Alabama; members of the Coalition of Alabama Waterways; Dr. Manoj Mishva from Alabama State University in Montgomery; members of Alabama Suppliers of General Dynamics; Chuck Watkins of Rex Lumber; Twitchell Manufacturing; members of the Alabama Housing Authority; representatives of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA); the Alabama Grocers Association; and an Alabama representative for the National Writing Project.