October 22, 2013
Dear Mr. Bedenko,
Thank you for contacting me regarding the recent lapse in government funding. I appreciate hearing from you.
On October 1, President Obama chose to shutdown the government, despite four different measures by the House to keep the government open and fully funded, which I wholeheartedly supported. This occurred – as it has 17 times before since 1972 – as a result of the failure to pass a federal budget by the end of the fiscal year.
The federal budget is made up of 12 appropriations bills that fit within the topline budget number laid out by both the House and Senate. While the House has passed a budget blueprint along with many of these appropriations bills, the Senate had failed to act. The only action the Senate has taken has been in passing a topline budget number – and they did this for the first time in four years after the House tied congressional pay to actual results in passing a budget blueprint.
It is the primary responsibility of the President and Congress to pass a budget. This process is critical in ensuring the federal government lives within it means. Instead, however, Congress has continued to kick the can down the road numerous times by passing continuing resolutions that do nothing to get our fiscal house in order.
With a $700 billion a year spending deficit that is adding to our nearly $17 trillion national debt, we cannot keep relying on continuing resolutions to keep the government funded. We need to make tough decisions and muster the political courage to avoid adding billions more to a credit card bill our children and grandchildren will be left to pay. That is why I opposed the Continuing Appropriations Act for 2013 (H.R. 2775), because it failed to structurally balance our budget.
I understand the difficult nature of the shutdown and voted to avoid it. The House voted on four different continuing resolutions that included provisions that would have helped alleviate the enormous tab our government is leaving behind for future generations. I even supported 16 separate continuing resolutions to reopen certain functions of the federal government that are critical to the welfare of this nation. However, the President and the Senate on multiple occasions ignored these pieces of legislation and numerous offers to sit down at the table and work out a deal that would end the shutdown and avoid a debt crunch. They chose not to act for two whole weeks and waited to negotiate until the final days of when the U.S. Treasury needed an extension on its borrowing authority.
During the shutdown, I committed to not taking a salary because it was the right thing to do. I introduced the Government Shutdown Fairness Act that would withhold the salaries of Members of Congress during any future shutdown. As a private sector businessman, I know firsthand that running a successful company means leading by example and making sacrifices to keep the company going. I cannot remember the number of times I had to forego a paycheck to make sure my employees and vendors got paid, and the company stayed afloat. Members of Congress need to do the same.
America has a significant and dangerous spending problem. The President and the Senate need to recognize this and get serious about finding a long-term solution that will put us on a fiscally responsible track while growing our economy. I was not elected to Congress to continue the status quo, I was elected to fix serious problems that threaten future generations from obtaining the American Dream.
I appreciate you contacting my office regarding issues important to you and your family. I hope you will consider signing up for my newsletter at www.chriscollins.house.gov to stay up to date on the critical issues facing our country.
Member of Congress