Just say 'no': GOP leaders say Congress must kick spending habit, restore fiscal sanity to DC

"Go through every line, pick your priorities, and then you can balance a budget," said Florida Sen. Rick Scott.

Updated: December 25, 2022 - 11:08pm

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The national debt continues to spiral to dizzying new heights — almost $32 trillion now, double what it was just a decade ago — and the Democratic Senate just passed a new $1.7 trillion spending bill with the support of establishment Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, but it's still possible to have a balanced budget, says California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock, if Congress can just learn how to say "no" to reckless spending. 

"Well, of course it's possible — you have to learn to pronounce the word 'no,'" McClintock said on "Cutting Spending and the Policies Worth Saving," a Just the News special report sponsored by Heritage Action for America. "Is it likely? That remains to be seen, but at some point reality is going to impose itself on us whether we like it or not. Whenever the government spends one dollar, it's already decided to tax that dollar.

"The only question is whether it takes concurrent taxes, future taxes by borrowing, or inflation by printing money. Those are the only three possible ways that government spending can be paid for."

Congressional earmarking contributes to wasteful government spending, but, McClintock said, that's not the only problem with the resurrected practice. 

"Earmarks are simply the process in which individual congressmen direct spending to their pet projects in their districts, or they make grants to favorite supporters," McClintock explained. "What happens is they encourage corruption by combining the power to appropriate with the power to spin. They bypass [those] open, merit-driven, competitive requirements for awarding federal contracts. They undermine federalism by turning the federal budget into a grab bag for local pork projects, and they encourage logrolling, utterly reckless spending bills."

McClintock said Republicans banned earmarks in 2011 when they had the majority in the House and they should do it again in 2023.

"The next Congress is going to have to learn to pronounce the word 'no,'" he emphasized. "Earmarks just make that job much harder. That's why [late Oklahoma Sen.] Tom Coburn called them the gateway drug to spending."

Florida Republican Sen. Rick Scott said that Congress needs to identify its priorities and live within its means, just like ordinary households across the United States.

"I think the big thing is to do what I did as governor," Scott said on the Just the News special. "Go through every line, pick your priorities, and then you can balance a budget. You can reduce taxes. During my time as governor, even though I walked in to a $4 billion budget deficit, we balanced our budget every year, and we paid off a third of the state debt."

The former Florida governor said that Congress has to figure out a plan for responsible federal spending, because reckless spending is what's at the root of the runaway inflation draining Americans' bank accounts. 

"This inflation is caused by reckless spending," Scott said. "The gas prices are caused by reckless spending. The food price increases are caused by reckless spending. There's a day of reckoning. So I hope that Democrats come to their senses and understand that we have to live within our means if we want to help the people we care about."

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