Government spending is far off track and out of control, according to Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley, who’s announcing plans to co-sponsor a legislative package that would change how Uncle Sam’s money is spent. Grassley wants to focus on knocking down the $18 trillion federal deficit by first switching Congress from an annual budgeting process to a two-year cycle.
Grassley says, “We’ll spend all of our time on a budget that would set the outline for spending for two years and then not have a budget the second year and use that second year for oversights of what we did the first year.” This package of bills is an opportunity, Grassley says, for the Republican-led Senate “to show leadership by restoring fiscal discipline.”
Another bill would change policy so that before the federal debt limit could be raised, legislation would also have to be passed that would cut an equal amount of spending over the next decade. The key, he says, is switching to a two-year budget cycle. “You’ll accomplish two things,” Grassley says. “You’ll accomplish longer-term policy so people know more what’s down the road two years instead of one year, and secondly, we’re going to emphasize oversight which Congress doesn’t do enough of.”
While both chambers of Congress are now under Republican majorities, there’s still a Democrat in the White House who could veto the idea. Grassley, a Republican, was asked what President Obama may think of the new budget plan. “I don’t know that he’s thought about it and I don’t condemn him for not thinking about it,” Grassley says. “There’s a lot of ideas floating around, but we know this, that with an $18-trillion deficit, something’s got to be done to get spending under control.”
The last time the deficit was reduced was between 1997 and 2000, he says. It was over those years that Congress was able to trim away $568 billion from the federal debt, but Grassley says, “We haven’t had a good year since then.”