As the current Ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, I am in the unique position to become Chair of this committee when the Republicans regain the Senate majority in 2012. This position is critical in addressing the most pressing issues that our nation faces today. If we are ever to achieve real reforms in entitlement spending, create a more simplified tax code and reduce out of control government spending, it will have to begin in the Senate Finance Committee. As Chair, I will be able to set the nation’s fiscal policy agenda, give Utah an immediate voice and instill a Utah approach to solving these critical issues.
Balanced Budget Amendment
Reducing spending, restoring Constitutional limits on the size of government, and balancing Washington’s books are essential to our nation’s future. A pivotal piece of accomplishing that goal is to pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. I have led this charge by sponsoring and co-sponsoring a Balanced Budget Amendment 24 times during my tenure. This year, I have re-introduced the Balanced Budget Amendment and for the first time in history, secured co-sponsorship from all 47 Senate Republicans. This is a fight worth fighting and I will not stop until we force Washington to follow the lead of every American family and live within its means.
We must cut back on the dangerous spending habits of the federal government. I have always maintained that we don’t have a revenue problem in this country. We have a spending problem. The only way to reverse this fiscal train wreck is to rein in Washington’s out of control expenditures. With a $14 trillion debt, the time is now to make the hard decisions that will put this country back on the right track.
Health care choices should not be made by the federal government and bureaucrats; they should be made by consumers and patients. Last year, the Congress and the President pushed through a partisan health care law compromising existing health care programs for the elderly and creating massive expansions to the Medicaid program. This law not only puts erroneous regulations and undue pressure on struggling state budgets, it will also raise taxes by $552.2 billion. Its unconstitutional federal mandate forces citizens to purchase health care while making it more expensive for employers to provide insurance.
One of the more troubling issues facing the people of Utah is the federal governments stranglehold on Utah’s lands. More than 60 percent of the land in Utah is owned by the federal government, which means that people thousands of miles away in Washington have more say over Utah lands than the folks who live here.
Entitlement programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are the biggest driver of our national debt. They are already 60 percent of federal spending and that number is only going up. For far too long, the President and Congress have been intent to kick the can further down the road. Entitlement spending must be addressed before it sinks our national budget. Doing nothing is not an option.
Every day in the Senate, I fight for the rights of individual liberty that Utahns hold dear. Utahns know that keeping taxes lower and limiting the scope of the federal government is critical to business growth, increased freedoms and economic prosperity. Families in Utah live within their means and balance their budgets and it is time for the federal government to follow suit. When I take over as Chair of the Finance Committee, Utah values will heavily influence the nation’s financial reforms and set the fiscal agenda in the Senate.