Our federal budget is a critical part of keeping our government functioning. It sets the boundaries and framework for how much money the federal government should spend on various federal programs and agencies. It is a fundamental measurement to help control spending and balance federal expenditures. However, for the past few years, the national debt has risen at an alarming rate. Just like a credit card can garner debt, so can the government.
Federal spending is defined by three different categories – mandatory, discretionary and interest on the debt. Mandatory spending addresses entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Discretionary spending addresses the larger aspects of funding that include several federal agencies and defense spending. The remaining portion is on the interest we pay on our national debt.
As the national debt increases, Congress has struggled to find a fiscally responsible solution that would control spending and balance the budget. Earlier this year, the House Budget Committee crafted a budget that would do just that, and it passed on the House Floor in the previous week with my support. The Fiscal Year 2018 budget will make cuts to unnecessary expenditures, improve our military and national security, reform entitlements and set forth a tax plan that will promote economic growth. Moreover, it accomplishes balancing the budget in a ten year span. This is key to establishing responsible spending practices and an efficiently-run government.
One of the highlights of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget is the priority to strengthen our national defense and return our military to top readiness levels. President Trump has made this a priority and a promise during his Administration, and through this budget, Congress will deliver. With more than $621 billion set forth for defense base discretionary funding, the military will be equipped and prepared at its highest levels to protect our national security.
Mandatory spending has slowly become a hindrance to achieving a balanced budget. Entitlement programs have assisted and protected many Americans for decades, but the reality is that these programs are structurally unsound and are the primary drivers of our annual deficits and our national debt. For example, the Social Security Trustees’ report has continuously forecasted that without reforms, the Social Security Trust Fund will be depleted by 2034. Predictions like this are harrowing, and addressing entitlement reform is the only solid solution to repairing our mandatory spending problem. The Fiscal Year 2018 budget begins to address some of these problems.
Lastly, this budget addresses the much-needed tax reform this country needs. Republicans have introduced the framework to fix and reform our broken tax code, but it is through this budget that this plan can become a reality. Through the reconciliation process, the budget allows for tax cuts and a simplified tax code. However, the budget will need agreement and passage through the Senate, and ultimately in the conference process in order for tax reform to be enforced.
It is a major legislative accomplishment to pass a budget that achieves the priorities that this one does. Our nation is better prepared when Congress addresses the discrepancies and surplus in our federal wallet. When a budget balances and prioritizes, it benefits our economy, our government and every American.