As an Army Reserve fiscal law attorney with three tours of active duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, I learned the federal budget process. I extensively studied federal appropriations law and became an expert on what the Constitution requires before the government can spend your tax dollars. I know about mandatory and discretionary spending and how each are funded. In private law practice, I’ve been a tax attorney my entire career. I will take this knowledge and expertise to the Senate.
The new government accounting period, Fiscal Year, 2017 begins October 1, 2016 and runs through September 30, 2017. As usual, there won’t be a federal budget passed on time. Congress routinely neglects to complete this required work. For the past six years, not one federal spending bill has been passed on time. In 2011 and 2013, Congress didn’t pass a budget at all; they simply spent the same as the previous year. To get through the November 2016 elections, Congress will again pass a last-minute same-as-last year cut-and paste spending law. No one will read it before voting. Lobbyists and congressional staff will do the writing.
A budget is not rocket science; but it does require hard work. As your Senator, I will be doing the hard work of going through each word of every appropriation and authorization bill and inform the others of what programs have expired and no longer need money. This will save billions. According to the Congressional Budget Office report of January 2016, for just this year alone, Congress approved spending $310 billion on unauthorized or completed activities.
My Senate mission is paying off the government’s $19.4 trillion debt. Those of us who follow federal budgets know that neither the Washington Democrats nor Republicans have any intent, plan, or capability to make the government smaller. In DC, the two parties are one – their unified theory of government is to award trillions in public benefits so that hundreds of billions of lobbyist initiated special projects can buried into spending bills.
Though late, the GOP controlled Congress (along with all too willing Democrats) did eventually pass the 2016 budget and appropriations bills. Both political parties dealt with caps on discretionary spending by simply raising the limits and nullifying sequestration. In the process, the debt ceiling is now unlimited (look at the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Agreement details, Public Law 114-74) until March 2017. Before October 1, Congress will pass a Continuing Resolution in order not to have to confront the runaway government before the election. This again means there will be zero debate on spending. Because there is no debt ceiling, the lame duck Congress has the ability to give away the US Treasury without any regard to the discipline imposed by debt limits. Any discussion the Washington GOP is a fiscally conservative caucus is a hoax.
I intend to work on other public policy such a fixing immigration, tax simplification, and coming up with an energy plan, but my focus will be on baby boomers, myself included, paying off our appalling level of public debt and doing it within 25 to 30 years. Controlling spending requires Congress to link tax revenue with federal disbursements to include paying principal on our public debt. It requires reinstatement of the debt ceiling. Congress should remove frivolous subsidies from the tax code, collect what is owed, and authorize only programs inherently governmental so that tax revenues will be enough to fund standard expenditures and retire the federal debt.