During my first campaign for Congress in 2010, I aired a television ad that we titled “Grandchildren.” We spent a Saturday afternoon filming in a classroom of Cornerstone Church in Madison with a car full of neighborhood kids and a box of school supplies purchased at the Parent-Teacher store.
In the ad, I talked about the mounting burden of debt being racked up in Washington that future generations of Americans, like my six grandchildren, would be forced to pay. The commercial ended with me looking straight into the camera, saying that we needed a Congress “with the guts to stop spending.” That line summed up perfectly why I was running for Congress, and it has remained my mantra for the three years that I have served in office.
In that spirit, I cosponsored a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, voted to repeal President Obama’s costly health care law and, most recently, stood down members of my own party leadership to vote against legislation giving President Obama a blank check to raise the debt ceiling. It was a tough vote, but I believe it was the right decision for Tennessee. Let me tell you why.
On President Obama’s watch, our national debt has exploded to $17.3 trillion. Worse, earlier this month, the nonpartisan Congressional Office released a new study showing that Obamacare will cost the country $2 trillion over the next ten years, with our annual deficits again topping $1 trillion by 2022. It is a bleak picture of things to come if we don’t change course.
My House Republican colleagues and I have worked tirelessly to stop President Obama’s spending spree but with the Senate still in Democrat control, we have been fighting with one hand tied behind our back. As a result, the United States has maxed out its credit cards once again—sending the Obama administration running to Capitol Hill to ask for an increase in the debt ceiling.
It was disappointing that President Obama refused to work with Congress and use this as an opportunity to engage in a meaningful discussion about how to address our spending problem. Presidents from both parties over the past 30 years have signed laws tying budgetary reforms to the debt limit but, in typical fashion, President Obama has refused to negotiate.
The result was a bill allowing for a no-strings-attached debt limit increase. In other words, this legislation allowed the government to borrow more of your money, without taking any steps to curb wasteful spending and address the real drivers of our out of control debt and deficits. It was a bad bargain for hard working taxpayers in Tennessee.
I came to Congress to make the difficult decisions necessary to return our country to a point of fiscal solvency, even if it means voting against the leadership of my own party. Tennesseans, and the grandchildren I mentioned in that first television ad, deserve at least that much.