We must remain unwavering in keeping our promise to American voters - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

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We must remain unwavering in keeping our promise to American voters

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Posted: Saturday, March 19, 2011 2:00 pm

When I was elected last November to represent the citizens of Arizona's Fifth Congressional District in Congress, it was on a platform of returning to fiscal responsibility and reducing the size and cost of government.

If there is one thing Republicans in Congress should agree upon, it is the need to quickly and emphatically reduce government spending.

The days of spending money we don't have and borrowing trillions of dollars to pay for it need to come to an end.

Unfortunately, Democrats in Congress could not disagree more.

In the face of record debt and deficits unlike anything we have ever seen before, Democrats in Congress remain as committed as ever to their big spending policies with little if any concern about the long-term repercussions this may have to our economy.

Instead, they would rather play fiscal chicken with our economy in hopes that the threat of a government shutdown will cause Republicans to flinch and back away from doing the right thing, which is to remain committed to cutting spending and getting our fiscal house in order.

This past week, Republicans brought a second continuing resolution to a vote to temporarily fund the federal government while continuing to cut spending.

Is this the optimal way to do things? No.

I reluctantly voted yes on the continuing resolution because it cuts an additional $6 billion in government spending. But make no mistake, the time for using a series of continuing resolutions to fund government needs to come to an end.

No one should be under any illusion that these continuing resolutions are anything more than Band-Aids on the potentially mortal wound that is our federal debt and deficit.

It's time for bold leadership and an unwavering commitment to cutting the size of government.

The American voters did not elect Republicans to pass a series of continuing resolutions that nip away at the cost of government. They elected us to make tough and bold choices that rein in the size and cost of government.

And that's what I am committed to do. We need to make the hard choices about what we should be spending our tax dollars on. Simply put, we need to have the courage to make the hard choices necessary to put America back on the path to economic prosperity and ensure that our children and grandchildren are not saddled with the costs of our failure to do the right thing.

I am under no illusion that it will be easy. But there is no reason why the federal government should continue to grow unabated because a bunch of politicians lack the political will and courage to do what's necessary to get us back on the right track.

Democrats in Congress would have you believe that we can continue on the same path of spending more and borrowing more without any real consequence.

They have made that abundantly clear in their opposition to the modest $60 billion in budget cuts Republicans passed last month. It is that opposition that has led us to where we are today with the continuing resolutions.

In the scheme of things, the $60 billion in budget cuts passed by Republicans in Congress is a nice start, but it is just that - a start.

There is so much more to do.

We must defund the fiscal train wreck that is ObamaCare.

We must have an honest conversation about our nation's entitlement programs that currently comprise 60 percent of our federal budget. A failure to do so will not only jeopardize these programs and the Americans who depend upon them, it will saddle future generations with a burden of higher taxes and crushing debt unlike anything we have ever seen in our nation's history.

In the end, it was the failure of both political parties to take responsibility that has gotten us where we are today. It was the failure of political leadership to adhere to the simple axiom that guides most American families - live within your means.

The coming months will tell the American public a lot about where both political parties stand in Congress. I am committed to doing what's necessary to get America back on the right track, and I believe most Republicans share my commitment.

It won't be easy, but we must remain unwavering in keeping our promise to the American voters to get our fiscal house in order.

David Schweikert (R-Ariz.) is a member of Congress in Arizona's District 5, which includes Ahwatukee Foothills. Reach him locally at (480) 946-2411 or in Washington D.C. at (202) 225-2190.

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