Congressman John Barrow (GA-12) introduced a legislative package on the opening day of the 113th Congress. Congressman Barrow’s priorities include a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, H.J. Res 4, which he introduced along with Congressman Henry Cuellar (TX-28). Congressman Barrow’s larger legislative package includes provisions to repeal burdensome regulations in the health care reform law, federal spending cuts and savings, and a provision to cut the salary of Members of Congress.
“We’ve got to get serious about addressing the problems our country faces,” said Congressman Barrow. “We have to control our spending, balance the federal budget, and make the government work smarter for the American people. Folks in Georgia are tired of the gridlock in Washington, and this legislative package represents a number of bipartisan initiatives that we should begin to consider in the House.”
The Business and Government Operations Improvement Act, H.R. 37, combines a number of bills that Congressman Barrow has championed in the House.
Included in the larger package is:
• A repeal of onerous and burdensome provisions scheduled to be implemented as a part of the Affordable Care Act – the employer mandate, the individual mandate, and the Independent Payment Advisory Board;
• A federal government savings and spending plan that makes it easier to consolidate federal agencies in a timely manner in order to reduce waste and duplication;
• A provision that would require all federal spending in excess of $100 million to receive explicit approval from Congress, as opposed to requiring approval solely from the Executive Branch. This new provision is in direct response to reckless spending from the Executive Branch to Solyndra;
• A provision that prevents the federal government from awarding federal grants for activities or programs outside the United States;
• A 20 percent reduction in funding for the federal government to purchase new vehicles, a provision estimated to save the federal government $500 million; and
• A pay cut for Members of Congress.
In addition, Congressmen Barrow and Cuellar, both members of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, introduced a Balanced Budget Amendment (H.J. Res 4) to the Constitution requiring the federal government to pass an annual balanced budget where spending and revenues are equal.
Under this amendment, the President of the United States must submit, and Congress must pass, an annual budget that is balanced. Currently, 49 states have some form of a balanced budget requirement.
“For decades, the federal government has written checks it can’t cover,” said Congressman Barrow, Co-Chair for Administration of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition. “We’ve reached a point where our debt is unsustainable, and unless we act now to get our finances in order, future generations will be forced to pay for this out of control spending. Our bill requires the federal government to operate just like folks in Georgia – spending only what we can afford and balancing our budgets, it’s that simple.”
“As a family man, I believe we have a responsibility to our children and our grandchildren to find a practical, commonsense solution to the deficit and debt. This will take members from both sides of the aisle working together in good faith to tackle our budget problems and reduce the deficit, which will put us on the road to paying off our national debt,” said Congressman Cuellar, member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition.
With an annual balanced budget, the federal government would prohibit spending for a fiscal year from exceeding total revenue for that year unless Congress, by a three-fifths roll call vote of the House and Senate, authorizes the
(Editor’s note: The News-Banner commends Congressman Barrow for bringing common sense ideas to the table. Let’s just hope other members of Congress will follow Barrow’s lead. Congressman Barrow can be contacted by calling the following numbers. His Washington office number is (202) 225-2823 or the Vidalia office telephone number is (912) 537-9301. He will also be in Baxley Wednesday, January 9 from 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at the Ginger House, located on County Farm Road, for a listening tour. Please make plans to attend this event and express your thoughts and concerns to the congressman.)