Yesterday in the Senate, America bore witness to the glaringly obvious division in Washington, as stark as the contrast between high noon in the desert and midnight in the mountains. On the one hand is Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) failure to pass a budget over the past three years. And on the other hand is leadership from conservative senators and representatives who have put forward serious proposals to rescue America from its debt and spending crises.
That division was laid bare inside the Capitol yesterday afternoon as the U.S. Senate voted 99-0 against President Barack Obama’s budget — a plan that spends more, taxes more, and slashes our military, all without making any attempt to reform America’s entitlement mess.
Compare the President’s proposal — and Reid’s total lack of a proposal — with the four plans offered by conservatives in Congress, chief among them being Senator Mike Lee’s (R-UT) budget, which mirrors the bold and thorough reforms The Heritage Foundation first proposed in its Saving the American Dream plan. That includes limiting the size of the federal government, reforming entitlement programs, and simplifying the federal tax code in an effort to restore our nation’s economic prosperity and ensure that future generations are not saddled with today’s debt.
Also important are plans proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), all of which acknowledge that America is facing a fiscal crisis that cannot be wished away, taxed away, or passed on to future generations. Though the Senate did not pass any of those plans yesterday, each of them garnered significantly more support than the President’s “alternative,” which did not even win one vote from his own party.
The liberal leadership in the Senate is utterly bereft of ideas, and they’re also determined to prevent ideas from being offered. In a speech yesterday, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) explained, “Republicans are proving that we are willing to be held accountable to the American people by putting a plan on the table and showing the American people what we would do to try and get our fiscal house in order.”
There are certain things the American people should expect when they send representatives to Washington. Standing on the sidelines while the nation swirls into a fiscal disaster is not one of them. Speaking from the Senate floor yesterday, Senator Lee expressed it best:
Doing nothing is no longer an option! Although this President and this Congress have attempted, by not having a budget, to convince the American people that doing nothing is the only option.
Ignoring our broken entitlement programs, maintaining our complex tax code, and pretending we don’t have a spending problem ensures that our economy will never truly recover and the American dream will not be restored.
Thanks to Senator Lee, Representative Ryan, Senator Toomey and others like them, there are proposals, ideas, and plans to cut spending, fix entitlements, reform the tax code, and make sure that America is properly defended. Lee is right, doing nothing is not an option. But with the efforts of conservatives in Congress, there are plenty of good options on the table. If only their colleagues would join them in taking action.