MY VIEW: Jim McCrery

When Congress returns from recess in early September, they will have to address two major upcoming challenges: pass appropriations for next year before October 1, and raise the debt limit before the nation bumps up against our legal cap on borrowing, which could happen as early as October. An inherent part of this debate is the fate of the sequester--whether Congress will keep the reduced spending levels created by across-the-board cuts, or replace them with a credible long-term plan to replace the deficit.

Former Representative Jim McCrery (R-LA), a member of Fix the Debt's steering committee, explains the recent improvement in short-term deficits. McCrery served as as Ranking Member to the House Ways and Means Committtee, which oversees both taxes and many entitlement programs.

At the heart of both of these issues is a fundamental disagreement among Republicans and Democrats, conservatives and liberals, about federal spending, budget priorities and deficits, and the national debt. Some appear satisfied that the deficit appears on track to narrow substantially for the first time in a long while. So far this year, the government has “only” run a deficit of $607 billion, compared to the $974 billion deficit accrued in the same 10 months of fiscal year 2012.

In addition to the two immediate concerns about the FY 2014 budget and the debt limit, McCrery argues that Congress has not done enough to tackle our nation's long-term debt problems:

The reality is Washington has yet to enact a plan to slow the growth in debt over the long term and promote long-term economic growth. If this inaction continues, our country faces rising interest rates, slow rates of economic growth, less budgetary flexibility in times of national emergencies, an increasingly destructive burden on our children and grandchildren, and a greatly heightened risk of a tragic fiscal crisis.

 Therefore, America needs a bipartisan compromise, inclusive of comprehensive tax and entitlement reform, not some poorly conceived stop-gap measure like sequestration. When our Senators and Congressmen return to Washington in September, our budget and fiscal situation should be their top priority.

Read the full post here.

"My Views" are works published by members of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, but they do not necessarily reflect the views of all members of the committee.