Congressman John Culberson: Why I Voted Against Raising The Debt Ceiling

As a fiscal conservative and member of the House Appropriations Committee, I have worked hard to eliminate wasteful and duplicative government programs. Last year alone, the House Appropriations Committee held more than 110 budget and oversight hearings to weed out waste and make careful line-by-line budget decisions. House conservatives have forced Washington to reduce total annual spending for two straight years—the first time since the Korean War—and we have rolled back our annual spending levels to 2006-2007 levels. But this annual spending is just a fraction of the federal budget: in fact, the annual budget is less than 33 percent of total federal spending. The real drivers of our debt are our social safety net programs—Medicare and Social Security—and these programs have more than $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities.

Medicare and Social Security are going broke. When today’s 46-year-old retires, his or her Social Security benefits will be cut by 23 percent. The Social Security benefits that our parents counted on will not be there for tomorrow’s retirees. The debt ceiling bill the House passed this week contained no spending cuts or mandatory spending reform. That is unacceptable and why I voted against it. The longer we wait to enact reforms, the harder it will be. We must act now if we are going to preserve these programs for current beneficiaries and future generations.

Our fellow Texan, Sam Johnson, has introduced one solution to help ensure the long-term health of the Social Security program. H.R. 1502 prevents people from receiving both Social Security disability benefits and unemployment benefits at the same time and saves at least $1 billion over 10 years. Chairman Johnson’s common sense bill ends this double dipping and preserves Social Security benefits for only those who truly cannot work. You can read more about the efforts of House conservatives to preserve and protect Social Security for future generations at www.waysandmeans.house.gov/entitlementreform. These are the kinds of real reforms that House conservatives are proposing and Social Security and Medicare need.

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