GAO report offers playbook for spending cuts

Published 9:18 pm Tuesday, March 8, 2011

A GAO report released this last week airs the government’s dirty laundry regarding wasteful Washington spending and underscores the challenge that the Congress faces as we work to cut federal spending. The report highlights 33 areas of duplicative spending in the federal government, which is one reason why our government is $14 trillion in debt. Congressional leaders should use the GAO report as a playbook for cutting unnecessary discretionary spending. (I posted a link to the report on my Facebook page, and I encourage anyone interested to review it.)

A central part of the Pledge to America was a promise to advance sound economic policies that allow small businesses to grow and create jobs. The new House Majority in the 112th Congress has meticulously worked to debate and pass legislation that furthers this goal.

Each week, we highlight a new way to save taxpayers’ money, and I was pleased that, as a part of that effort, we successfully repealed the oppressive 1099 IRS reporting requirement found in the ObamaCare health care law. For small businesses, this was one of the most harmful regulations on the books, and is routinely a subject of concern during my district workweek visits.

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The provision forced small business owners to file an increased number of IRS 1099 tax forms. Removing this regulation reduces the power of government and restores certainty in the market place—two key prerequisites for free market growth.

After more than 60 hours of debate in February, the House majority passed H.R. 1, which included the largest spending cut in modern history. Unfortunately, the White House and the Senate refused to consider the cuts, threatening to shut down the government rather than agree to the spending reductions that the American People want.

It is our goal to make smart, robust cuts in federal spending while keeping the government open and functioning. While the Senate delayed action, House Republicans proactively proposed a temporary solution in the form of a two-week stopgap spending measure that includes $4 billion in cuts that even President Obama agrees are necessary. The Senate quickly passed the bill.

A comprehensive settlement that includes significant spending cuts but allows the government to operate through the end of the year is preferable, and I hope Senate Democrats take up H.R. 1 before the temporary funding expires. If not, the House Majority intends on passing a series of two-week measures—with additional cuts each week—for the remainder of the year. Doing so would return us to 2008 spending levels within seven months, and would equal a $100 billion cut.

Importantly, the debate over the Fiscal Year 2011 spending is, in many ways, only a prelude to a larger and more fiscally significant battle over President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2012 budget, which includes huge deficits and trillions in new debt over the next decade. House leaders are starting to prepare an alternative proposal that will reduce the size and scope of government, cut the rapid growth of federal spending, and reduce the burden of debt on future generations of Americans. I look forward to that historic debate, and I plan to play a large role on behalf of my constituents.

Given the instability in many parts of the world today, the strength of our nation’s military is more important than ever. It is an honor and a privilege to represent a district where so many men and women are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to defend America.

We are also fortunate that our community is home to a number of important military bases, which are crucial to both our nation’s defense and our local economy. These include Ft. Rucker, as well as Maxwell Air Force Base, the Gunter Annex, and the 187 Fighter Wing.

I had the opportunity this week to meet with members of the Friends of Ft. Rucker in my Washington office. The Friends of Ft. Rucker is an organization of highly dedicated Second District business leaders, local officials, and retired military officers who are committed to the future of Ft. Rucker.

As the home of Army aviation, Ft. Rucker plays a critical role in training the men and women that fly the Army’s fleet of Apaches, Blackhawks, and Chinook helicopters into combat. And, as the workplace for nearly 20,000 military personal and civilian contractors, the Fort has an annual $1 billion economic impact in the Wiregrass. Accordingly, its well-being is essential to our area.

On my recent trip to Ft. Rucker, Commanding General Tony Crutchfield gave me an extraordinary behind the scenes tour of the facility, which allowed me to closely observe ongoing training missions and note several areas for possible expansion. Those observations were a key part of my conversation with the Friends of Ft. Rucker, who not only share my belief that we should expand the mission at the post, but are also proven leaders in advocating on behalf of Ft. Rucker. Thank you to Brig. Gen. Rod Wolfe, Ozark Mayor Billy Blackwell, Enterprise Mayor Kenneth Boswell and Former Ozark Mayor, retired Col. Bob Bunting for their service. I look forward to working with these gentlemen and their colleagues as we fight hard for the men and woman of Ft. Rucker.

Our number one priority is to support our men and women in uniform—and their families—so that we may maintain the finest and most battle-hardened Armed Forces in the history of the world. A strong national defense starts with a strong military.

A great part of my role as your representative is an opportunity to meet with scores of individuals and groups in Alabama that are working to improve our local communities and make the state of Alabama a better place to live, work, and raise a family. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to share your thoughts and concerns. I value your time and your interest to speak to me about the issues that are important to Alabama.

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Ala., represents Pike County. Keep up with her activities at