Saturday, August 13, 2011

Congressman Jack Kingston: Congress must do more to address the national debt

This week, the twelve members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction were appointed by their respective leaders. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) will serve as co-chair and be joined by Reps. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Dave Camp (R-MI), Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), Fred Upton (R-MI), and Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) will also serve as co-chair and be joined by Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT), John Kerry (D-MA), John Kyl (R-AZ), Rob Portman (R-OH), and Pat Toomey (R-PA).

I voted against the Budget Control Act because I believe it does not go far enough to get our national debt under control. The announcement by Standard & Poor’s that it has downgraded our credit rating for the first time in history last week and the volatile markets this week confirmed that belief.

This joint committee should begin its work immediately and report a deficit reduction package before the November 23 deadline. I have also called for Congress to reconvene with real purpose to tackle our debt and send a clear signal to the markets and the rest of the world that we can rise to the challenge. Negotiations should be centered around the Cut, Cap and Balance Act as passed by the House.

Both the House and Senate should immediately take up a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution and send it to the states for ratification. In the meantime, we should take up any proposal to fundamentally change the way government operates.

As you know, I have put forth legislation to limit spending as a percentage of the economy, bringing total spending in line with revenues. My plan begins making cuts today, balances the budget and begins paying down the national debt in just five years.

America faces a tremendous challenge when it comes to reining in spending and getting our debt under control. We have faced big challenges before and I am confident we can come together as a country to do what is right so we can provide a brighter future for our children and grandchildren.

Another court rules against ObamaCare
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the individual mandate in the health care law passed last year is unconstitutional. The ruling confirmed a lower court’s decision on a case brought by the State of Georgia along with twenty-four states and the National Federation of Independent Business.

Chief Judge Joel Dubina wrote, "[t]he individual mandate exceeds Congress's enumerated commerce power and is unconstitutional. This economic mandate represents a wholly novel and potentially unbounded assertion of congressional authority: the ability to compel Americans to purchase an expensive health insurance product they have elected not to buy, and to make them re-purchase that insurance product every month for their entire lives."

The ruling contradicts another appeals court ruling issued in Cincinnati earlier this year meaning the case is now almost certain to be heard by the Supreme Court. A federal appeals court in Richmond is expected to issue a ruling on a similar case within weeks and there are more than two dozen legal challenges in lower federal courts.

I remain committed to overturning ObamaCare. So far this year, I voted to repeal and replace it with reforms that bring down the cost of care without increasing the size of government. I voted separately to defund it and cosponsored a bill that was signed into law preventing the devastating 1099 requirement from being implemented.

In March I introduced legislation with Reps. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) and Louie Gohmert (R-TX) to repeal up to $105 billion in advance appropriations that were snuck into the bill. Read more.

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