A Ballooning Deficit
By Rep. Dusty Johnson
August 27, 2021
This week, the House was called back for a special session. However, it was not to vote on legislation related to the heart-wrenching humanitarian and military crisis unfolding in Afghanistan. Instead, Speaker Pelosi called us back to vote on a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint.
To give you some context, the federal budget Congress passed for fiscal year 2021, which included all discretionary and defense spending, was $1.4 trillion. This blueprint is the highest sustained spending level in American history.
While there are some proposals I can get behind, such as lowering prescription drug costs, there are too many programs that significantly increase the size of our government. Among other things, this proposal expands Obamacare and Medicare, funds two years of tuition-free community college and universal pre-k, and develops a Civilian Climate Corp.
While some of these proposals sound enticing, the financial consequences are damaging. I believe in giving every American an opportunity to succeed, but I cannot agree to burdening our current taxpayers with paying more of their share and burdening our future generations by adding to our national debt. This much spending will spur inflation and drive-up prices, something that millions of Americans are already confronting.
Over the last decade, our national debt has more than doubled and we are now approaching $29 trillion. This package would add an additional $17 trillion to our national debt over the next ten years, bringing us to a total of $47 trillion. This is inexcusable.
In our personal lives, there are serious consequences if we are not responsible with our money. Yet, when it comes to the federal government, it seems this same logic is not applied. Let me be clear, it’s not just the Democrats who spend, both parties are guilty of adding to our ballooning deficit. We cannot keep spending ourselves into oblivion and racking up debt—the balloon will eventually burst.
I’m willing to take the hard votes. I’m willing to fight for comprehensive reform to our dysfunctional budget process. I’m willing to support a balanced budget amendment like the one enshrined in South Dakota’s state constitution. Most importantly, I am willing to say no to a $3.5 trillion budget.