Our country faces a brutal reality: for far too long, the federal government has been recklessly spending money it does not have. It is the reason we now have a $14 trillion debt that threatens to bankrupt our country and why, each day, our government borrows $4 billion - almost half from foreigners and most of that from China.
Despite the seriousness of this debt crisis, an absurd pattern has clearly developed in Washington. Last year, when they still controlled the House, Senate and White House, the Democrats failed to pass a budget at all. In the first two months of this year, Senate Democrat leaders have spent invaluable time not on tackling the debt but on re-authorizing the F.A.A. and reforming the patent system. Their only attempt at addressing our debt was a plan to cut $4.7 billion in spending, which only equals what our government borrows approximately every 30 hours alone.
Democrats' unwillingness to engage on this issue is leading us closer to a catastrophic debt spiral that will irreversibly damage our government, our economy and ultimately our country.
The absurdity of what we have witnessed on the Senate floor is only eclipsed by the lack of leadership demonstrated by the White House, and a President who has been absent from this debate and even sent his lead negotiator on a five-day foreign trip.
All this has led to a very predictable outcome: Washington politicians of both parties scrambling to put together two and three week plans to keep funding the government, while not fundamentally changing the behavior that has gotten us into this mess to begin with.
Running our government on the fumes of borrowed spending is unacceptable, short-sighted and dangerous. I commend the efforts of House and Senate Republican leaders to deal with this, but I did not come to the U.S. Senate to be part of some absurd political theatre.
I will no longer support short-term budget plans. While attempts at new spending reductions are commendable, we simply can no longer afford to nickel-and-dime our way out of the dangerous debt America has amassed. It is time our leaders in Washington wake up and realize that we are headed for a debt disaster.
With Congress set to begin another week-long recess next week, every senator and representative should feel ashamed if they have to go home again, look their constituents in the eye, and explain why nothing is being done about our debt crisis.
If the federal government keeps spending money we don't have, we are going to do permanent damage to our economy's ability to grow and create jobs while ultimately destroying Medicare and Social Security.
Despite the lack of leadership demonstrated so far in Washington, we still have a choice. A government shutdown is entirely avoidable if the President steps up to lead and if politicians from both parties finally get their act together, pass a budget for the rest of the year, and move on to the real debate to save entitlements and tackle America's debt crisis.
If we deal with these issues seriously and immediately, we can leave our children with a country better than the one we grew up in. If we don't, we will be the first Americans to leave our children worse off than ourselves.