Congress kicks ball down the road

First Posted: 10/21/2013

I ran for Congress because I was fed up with the status quo. I was fed up with Washington’s inability to get our fiscal house in order. And I was fed up with wasteful government spending threatening the livelihoods of hardworking North Carolinians.

Because of critical differences between Republicans and Democrats on our nation’s fiscal priorities, we found ourselves in a tense budget battle. While I did not want a shutdown, I strongly believe that standing up against reckless and unsustainable spending habits is one of my top responsibilities as your representative.

As you may know, the House and Senate just recently passed a bill to fund the government until Jan. 15, 2014, temporarily raise the debt ceiling until Feb. 7, 2014, require income verification for Obamacare subsidies, and set up a framework for bipartisan negotiations on the debt. While I feel it is important to reopen the government and am committed to avoiding a default, I could not vote for such a bill that only continues to kick the can down the road.

On the campaign trail I made a promise to my constituents that I would not support a debt ceiling increase without addressing the underlying spending problem plaguing our federal government. I could not in good faith vote for a bill that fails to address our debt and rein in the harmful effects of Obamacare. I agree that we need to pay our bills, but raising the debt limit without fundamentally reforming government and addressing the events that brought us to the risk of default isn’t paying our bills, it’s asking foreign countries and other creditors to pay our bills for us. Taking out more loans and ignoring the root of the problem isn’t avoiding default, it’s delaying default. Our citizens deserve better solutions, not temporary fixes that leave us staggering from one crisis to the next.

Our federal government is saddled under an enormous $17 trillion debt. We are gambling with our children’s future to pay for the government’s irresponsibility and I will not support short-sighted decisions that do not offer a permanent solution to our nation’s most pressing problem. This legislation reopens the government, but it irresponsibly raises the debt ceiling without any corresponding or proportional spending cuts, ignoring the critical spending issue facing America.

Additionally, the bill that passed fails to address the harmful effects of Obamacare or eliminate special subsidies and exemptions for members of Congress and the president’s political allies. Abraham Lincoln once said, “The best way to get a bad law repealed is to enforce it strictly.” If Obamacare is the law of the land, it must hold true for all Americans. We cannot let the president’s health care takeover burden our families, small businesses, and local communities while granting special treatment to the president, his friends, and members of Congress.

I came to Washington to fight for the values that our community holds dear. I gave my word that I would bring fiscal responsibility and stability to Washington, D.C., and I remain committed to doing just that.

Richard Hudson is the U.S. representative for the 8th District, which includes most of Robeson County.