Getting Our Fiscal House in Order
ACRU Senior Fellow Ken Blackwell wrote this column appearing November 14, 2010, on The Huffington Post website.
On November 2, the American people sent a resounding message to Washington D.C. that the era of reckless spending must stop.
We all know a Balanced Budget Amendment is vital to stopping out of control spending. That’s why Senator-elect Mike Lee (R – Utah) and I launched “Balanced Budget Amendment Now”.
Actually passing conservative measures such as this, though, will require making sure conservatives are in a position to lead.
The good news is there are signs that Speaker-elect John Boehner and Majority Leader-elect Eric Cantor have gotten the message.
For example, an unprecedented movement is afoot to appoint bona fide deficit hawks to the appropriations committee who will rein-in the out of control spending and slash our dangerous unsustainable deficits.
(Part of the reason this opportunity exists is that so many appropriators have recently lost election, thus making it a less enticing committee for liberal Republicans to seek).
As Politics Daily’s Matt Lewis recently noted, “Once thought of as a powerful committee for members wanting to ‘bring home the bacon,’ in today’s political environment sitting on an appropriations panel seems to be an albatross.”
That may be true for “appropriators,” but what if real fiscal conservatives were to join the committee, thus changing the way the committee was run?
Fiscal conservatives like Reps. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Tom Graves (R-G.A.) are gaining momentum within the Republican caucus as exactly the type of principled leaders needed to bring fiscal sanity to the appropriations committee. (The Club For Growth, where I sit on the board of directors, has endorsed both in their campaigns).
Rep. Flake, of course, is well known to fiscal conservatives, but Rep. Graves is a rising star who is not yet widely known.
Having won four races in less than one hundred days (including a special election and two run-offs) to fill the seat for Georgia’s ninth congressional district this summer, Rep. Graves wasted little time in becoming an outspoken opponent of earmarks.
Prior to being elected to Congress, Graves was a leader in the Georgia General Assembly to cut $3.1 billion from Georgia’s budget, and authored legislation to implement zero-based budgeting to bring transparency and accountability to the state budgeting process
In just his first month in Congress, Graves authored legislation to defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010.
Republicans have an opportunity to change the way Washington works by putting proven conservative leaders in a position to lead by example.
To help keep our Fiscal House in order, Reps Graves and Flake should be placed on the appropriations committee.