Weekly Column

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Since taking office, I have focused on securing critical investments for our state while working to reduce wasteful spending. I sponsored legislation that’s now law to save millions of federal dollars by closing expired grant accounts and bolster oversight of government programs. I also pushed for votes on waste-cutting amendments in the appropriations process and successfully eliminated burdensome regulations that hurt Nebraskans.

These achievements are good steps forward. But to really fix our broken budget process, we have a lot more work ahead of us.

Our $23 trillion national debt and $984 billion deficit are significant long-term threats to the sustainability of our country. In 2019, our fiscal imbalance grew for the fourth year in a row. The national deficit represents a 48 percent increase since 2017.

Inefficient and out-of-touch federal spending has escalated to a deeply troubling point.

Meanwhile, Congress’s broken budget process routinely misses deadlines and lacks accountability. The fact that we have entered another fiscal year without a budget underscores this point. The federal government has replaced serious budgeting with political brinksmanship.

We balance our books in Nebraska. Washington can do it too. A concerted effort to reduce our national debt does not mean halting investment. It means acting responsible and setting priorities.

For the future of our nation, we need serious legislators on both sides of the aisle who are committed to making tough choices and reining in our national spending. We simply cannot afford to maintain the status quo any longer. 

The Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act provides a better way forward with the first extensive reform of the budget process in 45 years. The bill would require congressional budget resolutions every other year, while maintaining annual appropriations. This is an effective tool that has long been successful in Nebraska.  

To steer Congress towards a course of more responsible budgeting, this legislation would require budget resolutions to include long-term fiscal targets that are based on our national debt as a percentage of our overall economy. This debt-to-GDP ratio would be enforced using a new reconciliation process that finally forces the consideration of budget cuts.

The Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act also restores much-needed transparency to the budgeting process. It would require the Congressional Budget Office to provide up-to-date records of all congressional budget activity and post those changes publicly.

This common-sense legislation brings a more holistic approach to tackling Congress’s broken budget process. It advances the conservative principles I have long advocated for here in the Senate and includes efforts that are desperately needed to begin serious, prudent budgeting decisions for our country.

Making tough decisions and setting priorities is how we balanced our state’s budget when I was a member of the Nebraska Legislature. We need to apply this standard to Washington.

With future generations of Nebraskans in mind, I’m proud to cosponsor the Bipartisan Congressional Budget Reform Act. Our children and grandchildren deserve much better than inheriting a legacy of debt. Passing this important bill would be a tremendous step in the right direction. 

Thank you for participating in the democratic process. I look forward to visiting with you again next week.