Guest blog post from Rep. Lynn Jenkins (Kan.)
Though the actual “new year” is January 1, last week marked the start of a new fiscal year for the federal government. This gives us an opportunity to start anew and restore fiscal responsibility and discipline to Washington. We cannot borrow and spend our way back to prosperity. It is time to get our nation’s debt under control and work toward a balanced budget.
Prior to my election to Congress last October, Congress passed a $700 billion financial institution bailout. This was a one-year, emergency program intended to fend off a more severe economic downturn. Despite promises that taxpayers would be repaid for bailing out these financial institutions, only $70 billion has been repaid to date. There are even reports that many of these loans will never be repaid.
I firmly believe all returned bailout funds should be used to pay down the public debt. That’s why I have cosponsored legislation requiring just that. Some in Washington believe that the funds should be used to extend the bailout program or to fund new government programs. However, from the very beginning, it was intended to provide emergency assistance, not establish a permanent government bailout program.
I disagree that the best way out of this recession is for the federal government to spend more money. It is uncontrolled spending that caused our current mess and gave us record deficits. More spending isn’t going to get us out. The so-called economic stimulus that Congress passed earlier this year was nothing more than a massive spending bill paraded by the Administration as a job creator. We were assured that unemployment would not exceed 8 percent, yet today it stands at 9.8 percent.
The Administration promised fast-acting relief, but here we are nearly eight months later and, according to www.recovery.gov, only about 17 percent of the funds have been spent. I supported an alternative stimulus that was targeted, cost less, and was quick to help the Middle Class. Instead, we are stuck with a bureaucratic, partisan-crafted spending program that is not working. Congress should rescind this hastily thrown together policy and work to slow spending, keep taxes low and put Americans back to work.
Congresswoman Jenkins represents Kansas' 2nd congressional district and serves on the House Committee on Financial Services