Hello, my name is Susan Brooks. It's a pleasure to speak to you from Hamilton County in my home state of Indiana. I've lived in Indiana just about all my life. My husband, David, and I have raised two children here. I've been a U.S. Attorney for this area, and starting last month, one of the Hoosier State's voices in the U.S. House of Representatives.
I'm proud to live in a state that spends less than it takes in, has earned a AAA credit rating and a budget surplus that will be partially repaid to taxpayers. The secret to our state's success has always been a value system that promotes a strong sense of responsibility and accountability—as family members, taxpayers and community volunteers.
For too long, the Democratic majority in Washington has failed to see the value in this sound model of working hard and living within your means. On their watch, we've been operating without a national budget, piling up debts that now exceed $16 trillion and unemployment levels that remain stubbornly high. We are again at risk of having our credit rating downgraded.
Despite these challenges, Americans concerned about our nation's spending problem may now have cause for optimism. ?
I recently voted along with my colleagues in the House to present the Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate with a simple, but powerful challenge: pass a budget or you don't get paid. By forcing Senate Democrats to finally live up to one of the most basic responsibilities of governing—passing a budget—we are presenting them a golden opportunity to confront and solve our spending problem.
In addition, we are holding President Obama accountable for the "sequester" spending cuts he first proposed in 2011. Republicans want to replace the president's "sequester"—which is a series of harmful, across-the-board cuts—with better, thoughtful, common-sense cuts and reforms.
All of this will require Democrats in Washington to finally get serious about our spending problem. Each of the last two years, the Republican-led House has passed a responsible budget that addresses what's driving our debt in order to put our country on a path to prosperity.
Unfortunately, it's been nearly four years since Senate Democrats last passed a budget—1,375 days to be exact. In that time, I've seen one child through high school and into college while another graduated from college and entered the professional workforce. Like most parents, I'm worried that our nation's children will pay—in both actual dollars and opportunities—for our failure to lead.
Remarkably, there are leaders in Washington who don't understand why it's so important for us to have a budget. One Senate Democrat said a budget was not "all that meaningful," another said it would just be "foolish." I respectfully disagree, and I'm sure many hard-working parents do as well.
You see, solving these questions is why I ran for Congress in the first place. A budget matters to Americans who can't afford to see their taxes go up or lose the jobs that would be destroyed in the process. A budget matters to people who worry about protecting and saving critical programs like Medicare and Social Security. A budget matters to younger workers who fear more and more money will be taken from their paychecks to fund another generation's spending spree.
These are big challenges, but with some much-needed determination and a healthy dose of optimism, we will meet them. We have a chance to begin balancing our nation's checkbook, jumpstart our economy and restore faith in our government. Republicans will work tirelessly to hold the Democratic majority in Washington accountable and make sure, together, we seize this opportunity.
Thanks for listening, and as the daughter of a former high school football coach, I'd like to wish everyone a happy Super Bowl weekend.