Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Ford Once Again Fighting For Fiscal Sanity: Calls For End Of Off The Books Spending

Just call him Mr. Fiscal, because Congressman Harold Ford Jr. is once again showing that he not only talks the talk, but walks the walk when it comes to fiscal responsibility.

On Monday, the Congressman introduced a piece of legislation into the Congress that would end off the book spending:

Congressman Harold Ford, Jr. introduced legislation today that would require the President to budget for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and end emergency supplemental funding for ongoing military operations. In a statement, Ford said:

"We must give our troops everything they need to accomplish their mission and come home soon. But we cannot continue to pay for the wars with off-the-books spending that hides the impact of the war on our budget.

"Congress has allocated more than $420 billion for our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, but because none of this spending counts towards the deficit, no one is making the hard choices about how we are going to pay for the wars. Instead of continuing to use 'emergency' funds that circumvent budget caps, we should have an open and honest debate about what we need to do to pay for these wars.

"These war costs are not unexpected, so they should be done as part of the regular budget cycle - on the books and on time. Off-the-books spending and accounting gimmicks are what got Enron in trouble. The American people deserve accountability for their tax dollars, and our children and grandchildren deserve a future without the burden of our debt on their backs.

"This bill, which mirrors a measure that Senator John McCain introduced in the Senate, will force Congress to include war spending in the normal budget process so all Tennesseans can see how their hard-earned tax dollars are being spent."

Congressman Ford's record on fiscal responsibility is second to none.

Since being in Congress, Ford has earned a reputation as being a fiscal hawk. He has never voted for a budget that was not balanced and has put forth a comprehensive plan that will seriously reign in spending, which includes the following proposals: (Read entire Ford plan here)

"First, we should pass a constitutional amendment requiring Congress and the President to balance the budget and force us to adopt pay-as-you-go, just like every family in Tennessee.

Second, we need to put every decision that affects our budget - all spending and all tax cuts for millionaires - on the table so we can begin to have an open and honest debate about what is important and what is not. Too much spending is done off the books and outside the budget.
Finally, we should freeze the budgets of the 16 federal agencies that cannot issue a simple audit of their books. This kind of financial mismanagement is why we cannot account for $24.5 billion spent in 2003.

If these agencies were businesses, they would be out of business or under new management.

When money runs tight for families in Hamilton, Rutherford and Dyer counties, they make the hard choices necessary to live within their means. People have the right to expect the same of their government.

It is time to stop living on the earnings of future generations. It is time for a new generation of leaders with the courage of men like Senator Howard Baker to reach across party lines and protect the financial security of our nation – by balancing the budget."

That is the type of bold leadership that we need in our next U.S. Senator.

Ed Bryant and Van Hilleary have already shown us what they can do in Congress when it comes to being fiscally responsible. As Go4Truth reported, "As congressmen, both candidates voted to increase the federal debt limit by $450 billion in 2002 (S 2578, 06/27/2002) and by $67 billion in 1995 (HR 2586, 11/09/1995). The net effect: during their years in Congress, federal spending increased 43 percent and the national debt grew by $1.5 trillion. That’s $5,800 for every Tennessean."

And Bob Corker's record of lavish spending and fraud while Mayor of Chattanooga speaks for itself.

Don't let the Republicans fool you--they have no clue on how to reign in spending. Moreover, they have no intention to stop it. (As they have been in control of this government now for 5 years and have done nothing but drive up record deficits)

Lets get serious about spending this fall. Our children and grandchildren do not deserve to be punished for our leaders irresponsible actions.

This November, a vote for Harold Ford Jr. is a vote for fiscal sanity.

197 Days

Days of Congressional Inaction on Ethics

Above is the number of days that have passed since Jack Abramoff pleaded guilty to bribing Congressman.

It is also the number of days in which Congress has failed to pass an ethics reform bill that would limit private travel, ski and golf junkets, and would call for a full disclosure of expenses by lobbyists on members of Congress.

It is time for Congress to step up and pass an ethics reform bill that would do all of the above. In addition, it is time to end the pork barrel spending system as we know it and establish an independent ethics commission that would review ethics complaints against members of Congress.

I am proud Congressman Harold Ford Jr. is fighting for that reform!

Read Congressman Ford's call for reform of the House rules here!