PAYGO: July 22, 2009

I voted today in favor the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2009, H.R. 2920, because it helps get the budget under control, restore fiscal discipline, and strengthen the American economy.  

The ‘pay as you go’ rule is very simple.  Congress can only spend a dollar if it saves a dollar elsewhere.  This is the same guiding principle that Wisconsin families have always used to balance their checkbooks.  It is also the same principle that Congress used in the 1990s to turn historic deficits into historic surpluses.  We need to get back to fiscal discipline in order to turn our economy around.

The PAYGO bill that passed the House today is similar to the statutory PAYGO law that was in place in the 1990s, which helped turn massive deficits into four years of budget surpluses.  The Republican-controlled Congress and President Bush allowed these rules to expire in 2002, which contributed to the dramatic turnaround from a projected surplus of $5.6 trillion to projected deficits of more than $11 trillion.

As a former intern of Senator Bill Proxmire, I am committed to fiscal responsibility and will continue to be a good steward of taxpayer dollars.  While this bill will not solve all of our fiscal problems, it is an important step to put us back on the path of fiscal restraint.  We must reduce the deficit in order to stop borrowing money from other countries and not leave a legacy of debt for our children.