Perspective: Frustrated by empty promises

The president delivered his State of the Union Address last week and for the fifth time the American people were exposed to lofty rhetoric and even loftier promises. Unfortunately, since that first speech, unemployment has remained at historically high levels, government spending is at historically record levels and those fortunate to have jobs or own a business have less money in their pockets because of misguided tax policies pursued by the Administration.

Government is a cooperative effort and I know many of you are tired of the lack of cooperation in Washington. Yet it is hard to work together with a president and a Senate that prefers to discuss the issues on an “us versus them” mentality and will spend the next several weeks trying to sell the American people. This class warfare approach to governing was on display again during the State of the Union. As I sat listening to the president, one thought kept coming to my mind: “United We Stand, Divided We Fall.”

I have voted with my House colleagues year after year in favor of budgets and individual pieces of legislation that would have cut spending, balanced the budget and promoted economic growth. And with each effort came indifference from the Senate, which has failed to even consider these measures, and scorn from a president who believes we can spend our way out of the economic malaise that he has perpetuated.

Clearly, hard-working folks like you wanted to hear one thing and one thing only from the president: We want jobs and we want the opportunity to improve our quality of life. Instead, the president proposed policies and proposals that continue the overspending at such a frenetic pace that nearly 40 cents of every dollar spent by the government is borrowed. Just this year another trillion dollars will be added to the debt. Before Barack Obama, no president had ever racked up that kind of debt. It must stop, and we must get serious about the federal budget.

The Senate is required by law to pass a budget. It’s their job. Yet, it has been almost four years since the Democratic-controlled Senate has passed a budget. Furthermore, the Senate voted twice on President Obama’s budget proposals. Both were defeated with zero votes in favor of them. House Republicans have passed responsible budgets, as required by law. We are committed to again passing a budget this year.

The budget matters to hardworking taxpayers in every corner of our district, our state and our country. It matters to our seniors who rely on their benefits each month, to our middle-class families who can’t afford to see their taxes go up, and to our children whose futures will be limited if Washington doesn’t start living within its means.

Unfortunately, across the Capitol Rotunda, the Senate is unwilling to fulfill their most fundamental function of governing and further down Pennsylvania Avenue the White House is complicit in this failure of action. Their inaction to pass a budget now endangers our country’s future and it’s going to take more than another fancy speech from the president to break what has become a vicious cycle. You don’t pass speeches, you pass budgets.

I am frustrated by the state of things in Washington, but that frustration pales in comparison to the true frustration and financial hardships being faced by you, fellow citizens. We’ve heard enough talk out of the White House. It is time for action. Talk is cheap, Mr. President.

As your voice in Washington, I will continue to actively support legislation that lowers the tax burden, reduces spending, institutes responsible budgeting and promotes policies that create growth and lessen dependency.

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., represents the 3rd District, which includes Jefferson City. His local office can be reached at (573) 635-7232.

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