Hello, I’m Deb Fischer and I’m proud to represent the state of Nebraska in the United States Senate.
For the past year and a half, I’ve traveled thousands of miles all across Nebraska visiting with community leaders and citizens to learn about their views and share my positions on issues. During that time, I’ve heard a single, consistent message over and over again: Washington must cut out-of-control spending.
I agree and the American people are right to expect more accountability from their government.
I recently saw a poll indicating 3 out of 4 Americans support spending cuts across the board. These hardworking taxpayers are tired of petty ‘beltway battles’ and they’re frustrated with the lack of progress from their elected leaders. In 2009, the President pledged to cut the annual deficit in half by the end of his first term. Instead, we have seen four straight years of trillion-dollar deficits and a national debt exceeding $16 trillion.
Rather than cutting wasteful spending, the federal government added $4 billion each day to our gross national debt. This path is not sustainable. I support a more limited government that focuses on fulfilling its core duties and responsibilities. Only then can we identify the national priorities worthy of taxpayer funding.
The Constitution clearly states that the top priority for Congress is to ‘provide for the common defense.’ Despite this core duty, nearly a trillion dollars in critical national security funding is slated to be dangerously cut from the defense budget over the next decade—all because some leaders in Washington can’t get their priorities straight.
As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I’m 100 percent committed to both reducing spending and meeting my constitutional obligation to defend this nation. It is equally important to uphold America’s promises to active duty service members and veterans, those who have risked life-and-limb in defense of our nation. Keeping faith with these brave Americans is more than our responsibility; it is our honor to do so.
It’s no secret that to cut spending, we must find ways to reduce the costs of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—the primary drivers of our national debt. We must do so in a way that keeps our promises to America’s seniors, retirees, and those nearing retirement age. That is not a point for debate. But in order to save these popular programs, we must reform them. If not, they will no longer exist for future generations and will bankrupt us in the meantime.
There is a general consensus that Congress must explore ways to act on entitlements, but there is little agreement on a way forward—and few credible solutions have been put on the table. As the 113th Congress begins, I challenge my colleagues to step off the sidelines and offer substantive ideas for real reform.
Such reforms will require political courage and will demand strong leadership from the President and leaders of Congress. But without making these hard decisions, America will never rein in spending or achieve a balanced budget.
The President will soon ask Congress to raise the nation’s debt limit—again. I believe we cannot agree to increase the borrowing limit without addressing our out-of-control spending. That’s why Nebraskans sent me here. That’s what the American people demand. And that’s what our children and grandchildren deserve.
It’s time for serious action. No more kicking the can down the road. No more using the threat of middle class tax hikes to force last minute deal-making. The debate over taxes and revenues is done. Tax increases barely pay for a few days of government spending and in all my years of public service, I have never had constituents ask me to raise their taxes. The problem is not that the American people are taxed too little; it’s that the federal government spends too much.
While I may be new to Washington, I’m no stranger to making tough choices. I’m honored to serve the people of Nebraska, and I stand ready to work with the President and any of my colleagues—Republican or Democrat—to tighten Washington’s belt and cut the spending. Our economy and our nation’s future depend on it.
Together, we can build a better America.
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.