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Budget Control Act Is A Step In The Right DirectionPosted Friday, August 5, 2011, at 9:09 AM
It comes as no surprise to families and job creators in Missouri and across America that we are facing a critical point in our nation's financial future.
National unemployment has remained above 8 percent for 29 months. We're borrowing 40 cents of every dollar. Washington has racked up more than $14 trillion in debt and counting. Small businesses are still struggling to make ends meet. And our country came very close to maxing out our federal borrowing limit this week.
If President Barack Obama and his party leaders had their way, Congress would have voted this summer on a so-called "clean" debt limit increase without spending cuts or a larger discussion about the way we are doing business in Washington. But as I have said for some time, the only thing worse for the country and the economy than not raising our debt limit is raising it without putting fundamental spending reforms in place.
Thanks to groups like the Tea Party and other Americans who stood up against the status quo, the debt limit debate shifted a step in the right direction this week. We had a lengthy -- and often heated -- discussion focused on our nation's financial future. And ultimately, I believe we took steps in the right direction by passing a bill that begins to enact real spending reforms.
The bill that was passed into law -- the Budget Control Act of 2011 -- is far from perfect. There are plenty of reasons to oppose this plan, and there are plenty of reasons to argue that this is not an ideal agreement. If Republicans controlled the entire federal government, there is no doubt that we would have passed bigger spending cuts as well as a Balanced Budget Amendment.
But the reality is we have a divided government in Washington. My party only controls one-third of what it takes to pass a bill into law. As a result, no party is going to be completely happy with an agreement.
I voted for the Budget Control Act because it can cut trillions of dollars in federal spending over the next decade and increases the federal debt limit without borrowing more money that we don't have.
This plan also includes a Joint Select Committee, which will be comprised of 12 members of Congress, equally divided between both parties in the House and Senate. This committee is tasked with reducing the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion -- a minimum amount that I hope the Committee ultimately exceeds.
This wasn't the best possible agreement, but it was likely the best agreement that was possible. The Budget Control Act may not be perfect, but it is a victory for Americans who want to start changing Washington's spending behavior.
The work is far from over, but we have taken a critical step in the right direction this week as we work to get our nation's economy back on the right track.
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U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.) serves as a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations as well as the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.